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NZ Herald: Copyright clampdown of the TPP

A secretive trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is again being negotiated this week in closed-door discussions – seeking to introduce invasive copyright legislation to everyday Internet use. Let the lobbyists and bureaucrats behind the TPP know that citizens worldwide rightfully deserve a seat at the table. Learn more about what's hidden within the TPP and speak out at StopTheTrap.net. Article by Geoff Cumming for The New Zealand Herald If you think opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership are typically anti-free trade/anti-globalisation conspiracy theorists, consider these unlikely bedfellows: librarians, software exporters, researchers, book lovers, fans of DVDs, media creatives and people who download music. The negotiations for a trade deal covering 11 Pacific nations have managed to unite these apparently unconnected sectors in alarm. Most likely, they include you and me - everything and everyone is connected in the digital age. The United States' wish list for the agreement includes a tighter regulatory regime for intellectual property (chiefly copyright and patent laws), which interest groups say could tie them - and us - in a dense legal web, affecting everything from our use of the internet and access to music, books and films to the fast-growing software development sector.

How real are the fears? With the negotiations cloaked in secrecy, we won't know until the deal is too far advanced to unpick. Unless our negotiators (and those of the other participants) can stare down the US position, there are fears IP freedoms could be sacrificed for our overriding goal of improved access for dairy and meat products to US markets. This could usher in a litigious environment of alleged patent and copyright violations - the kind which, in the US, is notorious for thwarting innovation, stifling competition and making patent lawyers rich.

Parallel importing is in the firing line, according to the leaked draft of the US position. This could affect not just knock-off copies but our freedom to source licensed brands without the premium charged by licensees.

Apart from the damage to our Christmas shopping budgets, the Libraries Association says a ban on parallel imports would slow down access to new-release books in libraries. A longer copyright length would restrict what libraries are able to digitise. They could be prevented from overriding technological protection measures such as zone restrictions on DVDs. Users of iPhones and iPads may risk fines for "jailbreaking" devices to add non-licensed functions. Longer copyright periods would narrow the options for musicians and media creatives. Read more »

Read more at The New Zealand Herald

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