ARTICLE 19 call for transparency in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks

ARTICLE 19 has joined dozens of civil society groups  in calling for the release of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a huge proposed trade agreement that could damage digital rights for Internet users everywhere under the guise of intellectual property protection.

A representative from OpenMedia International is presenting a letter from the coalition to several TPP delegates on Thursday and Friday at the TPP negotiations in Washington, D.C.  The letter demands transparent and open talks and oversight of the trade deal, which threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.

The most recent leak of the TPP confirmed that draft provisions on anti-circumvention could restrict tinkerers and makers from modifying legally purchased electronic devices, and that language on service-provider liability could encourage companies to scour all customers’ communications just to track down any potential copyright infringement.  The leak also revealed new, dangerously vague text on the misuse of trade secrets, which could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through a “computer system” that is considered “confidential.”  This language could have alarming consequences if nations are obligated to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistle blowers.