Jun 102013

Rashmi RangnathEmpowered by investment provisions in free trade agreements, corporations have challenged national laws, policies, and practices that protect the environment and public health. Phillip Morris’ challenges to cigarette plain packaging rules in Uruguay and Australia are the latest examples of such corporate actions. The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) also contains an investment chapter similar to the investment chapter in many FTAs. Would that chapter give corporations the same powers as other FTAs? Could it be used to challenge national measures designed to increase access to knowledge? Could it be used to challenge limits to copyright meant to protect consumers? Continue reading »

May 102013

Rashmi Rangnath[Public Knowledge (Link)(CC-BY-SA]  Today we filed comments about the proposed United States-European Union Free Trade Agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We told the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that copyright is an uncomfortable fit for a trade agreement and should be kept out of the TTIP.

If the USTR still wants to include copyright within the TTIP, it should make sure that a copyright chapter in the TTIP will not impede Congress’s ability to change U.S. copyright laws.

We also asked the USTR to break from the past and not negotiate the TTIP in secret. Continue reading »

Aug 242012

This blog post was co-written by Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program Director. It was originally published on the Public Knowledge site.

This past Friday (August 17), Douglas E. Schoen published an op-ed in Politico lobbying for “strong” intellectual property (IP) protection in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The op-ed argued that such an approach would be a “straightforward” route to “job-creating innovation.” The op-ed ignored serious costs that over aggressive IP protection can pose to the economy, including the stifling of innovation in consumer electronics products and high monopolist prices for consumer goods including critical medicines. Like others before and since, the study Schoen cites does not support inferences linking particular IP demands in the TPP to innovation or jobs. Continue reading »


Shhhh. The TPP Is Secret.

 Posted by on March 2, 2012  Comments Off on Shhhh. The TPP Is Secret.
Mar 022012

[Originally posted on publicknowledge.org] In my previous post on the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), I explained how provisions of TPP might harm you. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly what might be bad within secret agreements like the TPP–all we have to go off of is leaked text that is many months old. But this raises another point: the secrecy itself is bad, not just because it makes it hard to comment on what may or may not be in the text, but because it undermines the democratic process. Secrecy might make sense for nuclear disarmament talks but it’s hard to see why agreements like the TPP–which amount to international treaties that set levels of intellectual property protection around the world–deserve such hush-hush treatment. Continue reading »