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Pull TPP provisions that restrict access to knowledge

Broad coalition to TPP governments: Pull provisions that restrict access to knowledge and open innovation

Organizations spanning nearly every TPP nation calls for a new approach that respects broad interests not just that of US corporates

November 21st 2013

Today the Fair Deal Coalition has called on Governments involved in the TPP negotiations to reject copyright proposals that would limit the open internet, access to knowledge, and curtail economic opportunity.

The Coalition, made up of Internet users, schools, universities, artists, libraries and archives, the visually-impaired, consumers, information technology firms and Internet businesses, has written an open letter to the Governments involved in the negotiations following the leaking of the chapter of the TPP relating to IP and copyright.

Coalition members say that leaked text confirmed fears that the TPP would reduce people’s access to information and restrict their ability to innovate, both on and offline, if a number of the draft copyright provisions were agreed to. The problematic provisions more often than not come from the United States and Australia. The Coalition cautions against the negative impact these provisions would have and urges Governments to agree to alternative proposals.

One chief concern of the coalition are proposals that could increase ISP liability. As Internet law expert Michael Geist noted recently, “The U.S. proposal, which enjoys support from Australia (and support for some provisions from Singapore, New Zealand, and Peru) features far more conditions for ISP limitation of liability that could lead to subscriber service termination and content blocking.”

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Steve Anderson from OpenMedia said today, “The new leaked TPP documents confirm that the agreement threatens to make the Internet more expensive, policed, and censored. The Internet community is becoming increasingly agitated by this agreement and it’s time for TPP officials to publicly commit to safeguard the open Internet in this process. Over 120,000 have spoken out in recent weeks and I expect that number to grow if officials don’t pull back from the more egregious proposals now.”

New Zealand Fair Deal Coalition representative Hadyn Green, from Consumer New Zealand, says the New Zealand negotiators have done an excellent job so far in standing up to the unreasonable demands of the United States.

“The leaked text shows the positions being staked out, with the United States and Australia on one side and just about every other country involved on the other. When it comes down to the final horse trading, New Zealand’s position is the obviously fair one.

“New Zealand’s digital future should not be traded for the possibility of improved agricultural access. That carrot was dangled in front of Australia nearly 10 years ago, and they are still to see any benefit from it. New Zealand should not be swapping butter with bullies.

“Our ability to innovate, create and distribute content should not be compromised. If we bow to US pressure then we would not only face higher copyright costs, but also further reduced access to content. It would be the worst of all worlds.

“We are calling on all the negotiators to stand strong and protect our digital future. Domestic law should not be written by US corporations,” says Mr Green.

The open letter, co-signed by all participants calls upon the Governments of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States to promote access to knowledge, innovation, and economic opportunity, respect fundamental rights like due process, privacy, and free speech and recognise the realities and opportunities of the Internet.

The letter can be found here and here

Members of the Fair Deal coalition include:
Affinity Bridge, Article 19, Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Library & Information Association, Association for Progressive Communications, Internet New Zealand, ConsumerNZ, BCFIPA, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, Consumers International, Council of Canadians, Creative Freedom, Demand Progress, Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Frontiers Foundation, Engine.is, Fight for the Future, FreePress, Gen Why Media, Hiperderecho, Library & Information Society of New Zealand, Movements for the Internet Active Users, NZRise, NZ Open Source Society, OpenMedia.org, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Scoop, Tech Liberty New Zealand, TechDirt, Telecommunications Users Association of NZ, Tucows and TradeMe.


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