Fox Creek, AB - November 14: It is being reported that Wikileaks has obtained a copy of the negotiating text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The text includes a chapter on intellectual property with provisions that many feared would be included: An extension of copyright terms, further restrictions on fair dealing and greater legal protection for digital locks to name just a few. None of these things are of benefit to the Canadian economy and only serve to create inefficiency through the strengthening of the copyright monopoly. With the London School of Economics being the latest to declare digital piracy a negligible risk to industry and a dearth of evidence that copyright even needs to be at the current length the inclusion of copyright in the Trans-Pacific Partnership would seem unreasonable.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade treaty being negotiated by U.S. and Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The treaty is being negotiated in secret and only select corporations have been given access to the document. Despite the stated objective of TPP to promote economic and social development in digital economy and technological innovation, and for protecting public health. The revealed content of the IP chapter would do exactly the opposite.
The proposed IP provisions would raise the cost of drugs by shutting out generic drugs to the sole benefit of large pharmaceutical companies. This would expand their monopoly power for a unacceptably long time beyond what is allowed under our already generous patent laws. There are provisions that could lead to increase in internet access cost while reducing internet freedom by making an ISP act as watchdog for the copyright monopoly without due process and burden of proof. It will also restrict educational access which is currently protected under our current copyright law.
“Well this would certainly explain why the negotiations surrounding the TTP have been so secret, now wouldn’t it? After all the uproar surrounding SOPA and ACTA it has become clear to politicians that publicly stating that copyright is to be strengthened, among other things, is a good way to anger your constituents. The IP chapter is a dog’s breakfast of bad ideas and I would hope the Canadian negotiator is objecting strongly to its provisions”, says James Wilson, Leader of the Pirate Party of Canada. The Pirate Party will continue to work for limiting copyright and patent terms and law. A fairer IP law is essential for propagation of culture, improvement of rights of independent artists and inventors, and promotion of innovation beyond U.S. major labels, studios, and pharmaceutical companies.
Canada should withdraw, and not take part in the negotiations, until the text becomes transparent and open to the public. A treaty of economic and social significance should include the citizen and consumer stakeholders at the table. Canadians should resist the subjugation of our democracy. We must protect the public interest over that of a few U.S. corporate interests. This treaty is not in Canada’s economic, social or cultural interest and Canada should not sign it until it is.
The Pirate Party of Canada is a federal political party focused on thoughtful information policy reform, genuine democracy, civil liberties, and the freedom of the Internet. You can find out more online at www.pirateparty.ca .
Media Contacts: [email protected]