[Jeremy Malcolm and Jyoti Panday in EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)] Provisions on digital trade are quietly being squared away in both of the two major trade negotiations currently underway—the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade talks. But due to the worst-ever standards of transparency in both of these negotiations, we don’t know which provisions are on the table, which have been agreed, and which remain unresolved. The risk is that important and contentious digital issues—such as rules on copyright or software source code—might become bargaining chips in negotiation over broader economic issues including wages, manufacturing and dispute resolution, and that we would be none the wiser until after the deals have been done.
Reposted from EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)
The dust has barely settled from the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and already a new trade battle is ahead of us: the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). President Trump called the controversial 1994 agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.” But compared to the TPP, there’s a lot to like about the original NAFTA from a digital rights perspective: it doesn’t extend the term of copyright, it doesn’t require countries to prohibit DRM circumvention, and it doesn’t include new and untested rules to regulate the Internet.
[Reposted from EFF Deeplinks, Link (CC-BY)] Last Friday the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2017 edition of its Special 301 Report [PDF], which the USTR issues each year to “name and shame” other countries that the U.S. claims should be doing more to protect and enforce their copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Most of these demands exceed those countries’ legal obligations, which makes the Special 301 Report an instrument of political rhetoric, rather than a document with any international legal status.
[Cross posted from EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)] Americans pay by far the highest prices in the world for most prescription drugs, and of course big pharma would like to keep it that way. Key measures that the industry relies upon in this regard are the Prescription Drug Marketing Act [PDF] and Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act [PDF], which make it unlawful for most Americans to access lower-priced drugs from overseas, coupled with the powers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to seize such drugs at the border on their own initiative.
Originally posted on EFF Deeplinks blog, Link (CC-BY)
This week, EFF has been at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s annual Public Forum. Best known to the general public as the locus of anti-globalization protests at its 1999 Ministerial Conference, it’s ironic that the WTO is today the most open and transparent of trade negotiation bodies—an honor it holds mainly because of how closed and opaque the trade negotiations conducted outside the WTO are, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or on its margins, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).
[Posted on eff.org, Link (CC-BY)] When the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was first released in November last year, it included provisions dictating the kinds of penalties that should be available in cases of copyright infringement. Amongst those provisions, the following footnote allowed countries some flexibility in applying criminal procedures and penalties to cases of willful copyright infringement on a commercial scale:
[EFF Deeplinks, Link (CC-BY)] Open access isn’t explicitly covered in any of the secretive trade negotiations that are currently underway, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). But that doesn’t mean that they won’t have a negative impact on those seeking to publish or use open access materials.
EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)
A bill extending the term of copyright by an additional 45 years—almost doubling it, in the case of corporate and government works—sailed through the Jamaican Senate on June 26, after having passed the House of Representatives on June 9. The copyright term in Jamaica is now 95 years from the death of the author, or 95 years from publication for government and corporate works. This makes it the third-longest copyright term in the world, after Mexico and Côte d’Ivoire respectively with 100 and 99 years from the death of the author.
[Reposted from EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link, (CC-BY)] A draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership‘s “Intellectual Property” chapter from May 11, 2015 hasrecently been leaked to journalists. This is the fourth leak of the chapter following earlier drafts of October 2014, August 2013, and February 2011. The latest leak is not available online and we don’t have a copy of it—but we have been briefed on its contents.
[Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] Due to the unprecedented secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Ottawa, there was no formal opportunity to engage with negotiators about the concerns that EFF and many others have expressed—over issues such as the extension of copyright protection by 20 years, and the delegation of ISPs as copyright police with the power to remove content and terminate accounts.
With the alternative of allowing this round of negotiations to proceed without any public input on these important issues (and bearing in mind the maxim “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…”), EFF and its partners in the Our Fair Deal coalition decided to hold a side event of our own next to the venue of the negotiations. TPP negotiators were invited to watch keynote talks by two of Canada’s top copyright experts.
[Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton, EFF, Link, (CC-BY)] Today, EFF and its partners in the global Our Fair Deal coalition join together with an even more diverse international network of creators, innovators, start-ups, educators, libraries, archives and users to release two new open letters to negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP, although characterized as a free trade agreement, is actually far broader in its intended scope. Amongst many changes to which it could require the twelve negotiating countries to agree are a slate of increased rights and privileges for copyright rights holders.
In the digital rights and access to knowledge movements, we spend a lot of our time fighting against bad proposals, that limit the public domain, restrict user rights such as fair use or fair dealing, and control the way we use digital products.
What if, rather than limiting ourselves to this negative and reactive approach, we could also promote the adoption of a positive global standard that would protect the rights of digital consumers, and uphold the importance of access to knowledge for all?