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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Details of Trans-Pacific Partnership Leaked

As they say, when a door closes (i.e., the ACTA defeats in the European Parliament), a window opens, also known as Trans-Pacific Partnership. Recently its details have leaked, including copyright terms and exceptions, becoming disturbing news for many.

Copyrights owners and multinational corporations were hoping for a major change in the copyright arena with the help of ACTA. They were largely disappointed when the act was rejected by the European Parliament after months of protests and campaigns due to the fact that provisions within ACTA were threatening people’s online and offline rights.

Canada and Europe have concluded a similar agreement, called the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement. Just like ACTA, it also raised concerns about its restrictive copyright provisions after the details leaked. In response, the authorities claimed that the leaked copy was the already rejected ACTA, not the actual version of CETA.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it promises to approach consumer protection, but the concerns about the agreement are still in the air.

According to the leaked provisions of TPP, it is quite similar with the new copyright legislation of Canada, at the same time approaching a bit of the anti-circumvention laws in the United States (just as DMCA). In fact, you will be able to apply the limitations only if you don’t circumvent a copy protection measures like DRM or TPM (Technological Protection Measure).

Although there are some efforts in the United States to balance DRM’s key features, for instance allowing teachers to use parts of the films in the classes without infringing copyright, Canada is currently seen in the position to start over and avoid further damage incurred by their anti-circumvention legislation.

The experts also point out that the used language was as confusing as in the other treaties. While the American negotiators promise consumer protection, those are actually even more restrictive. Furthermore, the exceptions seem to be useless if compared to other restrictive provisions within the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The industry observers would argue that even if the exceptions allowed to circumvent a DRM for fair use purposes, they would be pretty much meaningless in the face of a “three-strikes” legislation and website blocking.

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