The TPP has finally been released following 7 years of negotiations, speculations and wiki-leak sneak peeks. It comes as no surprise that the final version hasn’t miraculously put out heated debate sparked by earlier leaks. With 12 countries in the TPP gang, compromises had to be made. The most contentious articles are explored below.
PATENTS AND PHARMACEUTICALS
Australia led the charge against America in relation to biological products and the period of protection they should receive. Putting aside the recent decision of Myriad (the case being decided post negotiations) Australia possessed a reputation for strong patent law protection for the biotechnology sector. As a result Australia put its foot down, refusing to extend its data exclusivity period from its current 5 year period to the US sponsored 12 year period. The two countries met in the middle and a compromise of 8 years was instead shaken on.
Right of Reproduction
This article ultimately grants authors the right to prohibit all reproduction of their copyrighted work, in any form they choose.
Adamant supporters for the inclusion of a US – Style ‘fair use’ exception have been left disappointed and bitter. The article appears to oust limitations, greatly extending the pool of copyright culprits. The move may result in an imbalance of rights; a limited monopoly for the benefit of authors to the detriment of well-intended users.
Right of Communication to the Public
This article lists a few exceptions to the Berne convention before stating that parties are obliged to provide to authors “the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen by them”.
An immediate concern for tech enthusiasts is how on earth this will be compatible with content hosts such as YouTube. An average of 300 hours’ worth of content is uploaded every MINUTE onto YouTube. To sensor this sufficiently would be practically impossible.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS (ISP)
Following the saga that was Dallas Buyers Club, attention has been once more focused on the need to combat ever-increasing online piracy. The call for a Canadian-style ‘notice-and-notice’ system in the TPP comes as no shock but has garnered some of the biggest backlash. ISPs will be required to forward notifications from copyright owners to customers whose ISP address has allegedly infringed the copyright in question. Should a copyright owner have a ‘legally sufficient claim of copyright infringement”, ISP providers will have to hand over information on the accused’s identity. It is this ‘invasion’ of privacy of internet users that has everybody so up in arms, with claims that ISPs are taking on an inappropriate ‘police-like’ role.
Signatures are not set to take place until 2016 so objectors shouldn’t hold their breath for any immediate changes. Given its taken 7 years to reach this point, what’s the rush? In any event, Digby will keep you in the loop!