Copyright reforms pressed in Melbourne TPP talks

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Copyright reforms pressed in Melbourne TPP talks
Sean Flynn, Associate Director at American University's Washington DC College of Law

Positive thinkers line up for next round of negotiations.

A group of US-based public interest and intellectual property experts has revealed it will seek a radical reframing of the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) at negotiations in Melbourne next month.

The group, convened by American University Washington College of Law’s Sean Flynn is proposing a more positive agenda based on new start points for future discussions.

Its approach differs from other TPP critics who are seeking to stop - rather than positively influence - the negotiations.

Flynn told iTnews he is hopeful that a constructive approach to the TPP may break some of the impasse that has confronted and tainted broad publlc acceptance of other initiatives, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Agreement (ACTA), Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), while advancing public interest concerns.

Broadly, the group calls for “balance and flexibility within national intellectual property systems” to promote social development and economic innovation.

It proposes the following approaches to advance its objectives:

  • Intellectual property policy making should be conducted through mechanisms of transparency and openness that encourage broad public participation
  • Promote systems for limiting ISP liability that do not rely on censorship of online material without a court order
  • Require open ended, flexible exceptions that can adapt to technology and use changes
  • Require exceptions to copyright for non-commercial user generated content and for temporary reproductions for IT purposes e.g. cache and RAM copies.
  • Require a commercial threshold for the imposition of statutory damages
  • Require all damages to be proportional to actual harm cause to right owner
  • Require demonstration of sufficiency of evidence before any disclosure of internet user information
  • Ban the extraterritorial application of domestic IP standards to interrupt flows of goods or information (e.g. in-transit seizures, DNS blocking)
  • Affirmatively protect the ability of countries to authorise parallel imports

The group's first opportunity to influence the latest round of TPP discussions will be at a forum for industry and community representatives in Melbourne on March 4.

The Melbourne round of negotiations also includes an informal reception for stakeholders and negotiators on March 6 and a briefing from chief negotiators on March 7. Participant registration closes on February 17.

While outline TPP statements were revealed last November, the lack of official TPP drafts continues to fuel concern amongst activists that the agreement will lead to tough new anti-piracy laws, and muddy the water on cloud computing.

Leaders have previously agreed to consider how emerging technologies - such as the cloud - might help or hinder trade opportunities between member countries.

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