Draft TPP forces ISPs to terminate user accounts

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Draft TPP forces ISPs to terminate user accounts

Network monitoring, content blocking also proposed.

Australian internet service providers would be forced to terminate accounts and block content from users that are found to have infringed local copyright law, according to draft text contained in the leaked intellectual property rights chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement

The provisions were put forward by the United States, and are supported fully by Australia. Singapore, New Zealand and Peru support parts of the provisions but are opposed by Canada, Brunei, Vietnam and Mexico.

The draft TPP text, leaked this week by Wikileaks, includes two clauses that set out the conditions under which providers will be eligible for liability limitations.

The first requires providers to adopt and implement a policy that provides for account termination of repeat offenders for "safe harbour" exemption from liability.

In the second, providers must accommodate and not interfere with standard technical measures in TPP signatories countries that protect and identify copyrighted material.

The technical measures should be developed through "an open voluntary process by broad consensus of interested parties", and should also not impose substantial costs on service providers or impose heavy burdens on ther systems or networks.

Canadian law professor Michael Geist said the measures mean providers would be required to monitor their networks to seek out information on infringing activity.

The US, Australia and Singapore also want providers to hand out effective notices to ISP customers forcing them to hand over information identifying alleged infringers, Geist said. This he said amounts to a "privacy override".

Network caching will also be subject to conditions such as removing or disabling access to cached material on receipt of claims of infringement, Geist said. Storage on the network and linking users to online sites must also comply with notifications. 

Similar copyright enforcement provisions were contained within the failed Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which Australia negotiated with 11 other countries including the US and the EU. The ACTA fell through after widespread protests against it in the EU, leading to the European Parliament declining its consent in July last year.

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