EFF: Nothing Is Agreed Yet—We Can Still Stop The TPP’s Copyright Trap
Despite all the talks, the TPP negotiations remain tentative until each country signs off on the final agreement.The battle's not over yet, let's keep speaking up against this Internet-censoring deal! Add your voice at StoptheSecrecy.net Article by Jeremy Malcolm for EFF
Trade negotiators have a saying—that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. What that means is that despite all of the deals that has been struck in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations so far, they remain tentative until each country signs off on the final agreement. A consequence of this is that no matter how far advanced the parties are towards agreeing on repressive copyright rules, it is still not too late for them to turn back.
That's why EFF continues to call on TPP officials to renounce misguided plans to extend the length of copyright by 20 years in half of the 12 TPP-negotiating countries. This is despite the seeming inevitability of this extension—it has been included in all U.S. free trade agreements after NAFTA. There have been repeated reports that little to no opposition to it remains amongst the negotiating countries.
Even so, we can't simply sit back and accept this, because what's wrong is wrong. Even the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that has been hell-bent on pushing this change cannot be unaware that this places them at odds with almost all economists [PDF]. That's because copyright term extension has never been about economics, it has been about placating a big content sector that takes pride in its ability to demand, and to receive, copyright laws that benefit nobody but themselves.
Big content threw a hissy fit over the proposal of slightly more liberal language on copyright exceptions during last month's negotiations. This was not because this damaged their interests—on the contrary, creators depend upon fair use as much as anyone. Rather, because it marked a slip in their control over a U.S. government agency that they are used to manipulating like a puppet (partly by offering plum jobs to USTR staff who toe the line). We can only imagine how much more incensed big content lobbyists will be if their demand for Pacific-wide copyright term extension is rejected.
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