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LIANZA Fears Copyright Law Changes Under TPPA


LIANZA Fears Copyright Law Changes Under Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) is concerned at the possible implications for New Zealand libraries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) currently being negotiated between New Zealand and a number of other countries, including the United States.

The Agreement is being negotiated in secret in the United States, so it is not possible for anyone not directly involved in the negotiations to know what is being proposed or what will be included in the final Agreement. Libraries and other affected organisations have no opportunity to contribute to the negotiations, or comment on proposals and their likely implications.

Tony Millett, Chair of LIANZA’s Copyright Committee, said that, because of the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, libraries and other organisations are confronted by rumours, fed by unofficial leaks.

“It is known that the draft Agreement includes a substantial section on intellectual property. LIANZA fears that substantial changes will be made to copyright and other IP legislation, not because such changes are necessarily supported by the New Zealand Government, but in order to conform with the wishes of the American Government and American corporations, and in hope of thereby possibly obtaining greater access to American markets by New Zealand exporters some time in the future”, said Mr Millett.

LIANZA is particularly concerned that the TPP Agreement may include changes to New Zealand copyright law which will have a serious impact on New Zealand libraries. Rumoured changes include:

• An extension of the duration of copyright beyond the present 50 years after the death of the author. Such an extension will impact on library digitisation programmes; require the removal of public access to works already digitised; restrict the re-use of currently out-of-copyright works; impede research and scholarship which builds on older scholarship; increase the difficulty of tracing copyright owners; and impact on educational courses and research.

• A re-introduction of a ban on parallel importation. This would result in a steep increase in the purchase prices of library materials and, because New Zealand distributors cannot efficiently handle the diversity of library supply requirements, slower speed of supply; the removal of access to services provided by overseas specialist library suppliers; and the purchase of fewer works by libraries.

• An increase in the protection given to TPMs (technological protection measures) on videos, DVDs etc, which will prevent libraries from legitimately overriding TPMs to make materials available to their users, as permitted by current New Zealand copyright law.

• A change in the balance in copyright law, even more in favour of copyright owners at the expense of users of in-copyright works.

LIANZA does not believe that these or other proposed changes to New Zealand copyright and IP law have been justified, or cost-benefit studies of trade-offs been undertaken.
“There is no evidence that such changes will be in the best interests of New Zealand copyright owners, users of copyright works, libraries, educational, research and other institutions, and New Zealand society as a whole,” said Mr Millett.

LIANZA, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and library associations of a number of the countries participating in the TPP negotiations have released the attached statement which summarises their concerns at the way in which the current negotiations are being undertaken.

Mr Millett said that the signatories believe the negotiation of international IP and copyright standards should not take place behind closed doors, with no opportunity for input, advice and comment from affected stakeholders.

“LIANZA urges the New Zealand Government to ensure that open and informed debate takes place, and that the needs of New Zealand libraries and their users are fully taken into account in the present TPP negotiations.”

LIANZA represents 450 public, educational, commercial, industrial, legal, health and government libraries in New Zealand.


Statement from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

The Hague, 4 July 2012

Library statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations IFLA and other library organizations express concern at TPPA IP chapter

Libraries play an essential role in fostering equitable access to information and cultural expression, while ensuring that the interests of creators are respected and protected. This role is recognized in copyright law which grants creators and content providers certain rights to the commercial exploitation of information and cultural expression, but reserves important rights of access to and use of copyright material for the benefit of society at large. The balance between appropriate economic protections for creators and content providers and fair limitations and exceptions fosters a vibrant and participatory civil society.

IFLA and the international library community are committed to upholding this balance and are therefore troubled by the emergence of non-transparent intellectual property (IP) negotiations taking place outside of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO). These negotiations focus solely on copyright protection and enforcement, neglecting essential limitations and exceptions to copyright. Libraries are deeply concerned that these negotiations pose a threat to the fundamental balance in copyright.

The methods of negotiation and stated objectives of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a multilateral trade agreement on IP enforcement standards, have been the subject of controversy and considerable opposition in the European Union and throughout the world. The European Parliament voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement on July 4th 2012.

Meanwhile, IFLA and the signatories of this statement have observed with concern the emergence of similar negotiations on international IP standards in the form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), by countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The TPPA is a multilateral trade agreement between Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore, covering all aspects of commercial relations between the countries. The TPPA includes an extensive intellectual property chapter.

As has been the case during negotiations of ACTA, negotiating texts for the TPPA and countries' positions have been withheld from the public. The draft text proposed by the United States for the IP chapter of the TPPA, leaked in February 2011, does not reflect the balance necessary to protect the public domain and the ways in which society may access and use content. Exceptions to copyright protection are noticeably absent from this ‘gold standard’ IP agreement for the 21st century. While the international library community supports international efforts to control commercial counterfeiting and unauthorised file sharing, IFLA and its partners are concerned that agreements like ACTA and the TPPA erode the fundamental balance in copyright law and do not seriously consider and protect the interest of the broader community in having equitable access to knowledge and cultural expression.

IFLA and the undersigned organisations are gravely concerned that despite the controversy surrounding ACTA, which has not yet been ratified by any of its signatory countries, TPPA negotiations continue to take place behind closed doors, without stakeholder advice and comment on draft text, and may be pursuing a similarly restrictive IP enforcement standard. The issues surrounding international copyright law and policy development must be discussed in an open and transparent forum, to ensure fair representation of the views of civil society groups, developing countries, members of legislative bodies and the public at large.

IFLA and the international library community urges Governments to take steps to prevent the negotiation of international IP standards behind closed doors, without an open and informed debate with all stakeholders. IFLA and other library organisations participate in discussions held by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, with access to negotiating texts and transparent information sharing mechanisms. The signatories to this statement urge Governments to insist that trade agreements affecting international intellectual property policy be subject to the same high standard of transparency.

For more information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and issues affecting libraries, see the presentation from the Australian Digital Alliance, How access to knowledge may be restricted under the TPP. http://www.digital.org.au/our-work/publication/how-access-knowledge-may-be-restricted-under-tpp

Signatories International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA) American Library Association (ALA) Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) Canadian Library Association (CLA) Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) Library Association of Chile (CBC) Peruvian College of Librarians (CBP) Vietnam Library Association (VLA)
For more information on the signatory organisations, please see: www.ifla.org/en/publications/librarystatement-on-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-negotiations%20


ENDS.

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