This time it’s apparently a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The Register‘s Richard Chirgwin assures us that it’s not as bad as we thought — it’s much worse:
The TPP is a document supposed to harmonise intellectual property protections in participating nations — America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Chile and Peru. Instead, it looks like a an Australia-US-Japan club force-marching the treaty into America’s favoured position on nearly everything, from criminalisation of copyright infringements through to a blank cheque for pharmaceutical companies.
The document, here, is huge, but some of the key items include:
- Criminalisation of copyright infringement by all signatories;
- Stronger DRM and “technological protection measure” regimes;
- ISPs to be made liable for copyright infringement on their networks;
- A “take it down first, argue later” DMCA-like process for notifying copyright infringements;
- Patentable plants and animals;
- The evergreening of patents — this has become particularly notorious in the pharmaceutical business, where the repackaging of an out-of-patent medication is used to keep common compounds out of the public domain.
America and Japan are opposing consumer protections proposed by the other nations (Australia excepted). These provisions, in Article QQ.A.9, would be designed to prevent the abuse of copyright processes, use of intellectual property rights as a restraint of trade or as the basis of anticompetitive practises.
America manages to put itself beyond the pale as the sole sponsor of Article QQ.E.1, pretty much a “Monsanto clause” by pushing for patent coverage of plants and animals, including “biological processes for the production of plants and animals.” New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Chile and Mexico want to specifically exclude these, along with “diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals”.