Fair DealA coalition of organisations representing a diversity of interests have come together from around the world to ask for A Fair Deal on intellectual property (IP) in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. The changes to copyright required by the TPP would reduce access to information and restrict the ability to innovate, both on and offline.

The coalition is launching a website at www.OurFairDeal.org calling for TPP negotiators to “reject copyright proposals that restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.”

Susan Chalmers from InternetNZ said today, “A fair deal on copyright in the TPP takes into account the interests of internet users, libraries and archives, those with disabilities, educators and business innovators as well as creators. We’re all part of the Internet economy. The Fair Deal coalition is promoting fair copyright standards for the TPP that reflect the needs of the broadest cross-section of society.”

TPP meetings are taking place in Lima Peru from May 15th to May 25th. Negotiators are hoping the meetings will “accelerate” the closed-door process. New reports indicate copyright provisions are a “challenging” issue for those behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Between them, members of the Fair Deal coalition represent the interests of Internet users, schools, universities, artists, libraries and archives, the visually impaired, consumers, information technology firms, Internet businesses, and those who believe in the power of open source software and the open Internet as a driving force for innovation, development and socially responsible economic growth. Coalition members include industry groups, digital rights advocates, academics and human rights organisations.

The coalition hopes that TPP negotiators will consider adopting a new approach that:
• Promotes access to knowledge, to innovation and to weightless economies,
• Respects for fundamental rights like due process, privacy and free speech, and
• Recognises of the realities and opportunities of the Internet.

“Unrestricted access to the open internet is fundamental to participation in 21st century society”, says Steve Anderson, Executive Director of OpenMedia.org. “Trade agreements must not require termination of Internet access for infringement of copyright or encourage ISPs to police Internet use.”

Executive Officer for the Australian Digital Alliance, Ellen Broad, noted the need to make sure any copyright standards agreed to in the TPP could keep pace with digital change:

“Countries around the world are currently looking at their own copyright regimes and asking, ‘are these working in the digital age?’. And the answer has been no. The internet has changed so much about the way we create, disseminate and access content: it’s essential the TPP not lock in 20th century copyright standards, but focus on a healthy internet future - for both creators and consumers, distributors and innovators.”
“Copyright laws across all of the TPP countries are already strong enough” says Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Policy Officer of Consumers International. “Indeed in many of those countries, inflexible copyright rules have been identified as a straightjacket on creativity and innovation. Plans to extend copyright even further through the TPP are exactly the opposite approach to what consumers need.”

Claudio Ruiz, executive director of Chilean ONG Derechos Digitales, states “TPP is also a very bad news for the rights of citizen and consumers. Increased protection standards regarding copyright cause serious detriment to the access to knowledge and culture. A 'Fair Deal' should look better access for the public and not more onerous conditions to use new technologies around access to knowledge.”

“The TPP presents serious risks to the scope for the Australian Law Reform Commission’s current review of Australia’s copyright regime to implement much-needed changes that would provide a better balance between the rights of users and content owners. EFA strongly supports the call for a ‘Fair Deal’ in relation to the intellectual property components of the TPP which would benefit content creators and users in Australia and across all countries involved, not just large corporate interests” said David Cake, Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

The our Fair Deal Coalition invites citizens to join the campaign by signing onto a statement of principle at: http://ourfairdeal.org

About the Our Fair Deal International coalition

Starting at first in New Zealand and then connecting with organisations and people internationally, a group of individuals from the fields of Internet policy, art, information technology and law got together to discuss a TPP campaign with a copyright focus. What resulted was the idea of a fair deal, one that opens up trade opportunities for TPP member states but doesn’t force copyright and other IP-related changes on us that could damage our future. If you represent an organisation that would like to join the Fair Deal coalition fill in the form here.

Founding members of the Fair Deal coalition include:

Affinity Bridge, Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Library & Information Association, Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Internet NZ, BCFIPA, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Consumers International, Council of Canadians, Creative Freedom, Demand Progress, Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), Fight for the Future, Gen Why Media, Hiperderecho, Library & Information Society of New Zealand, NZRise, NZOSS, OpenMedia.org, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Scoop, Tech Liberty NZ, TechDirt, Tuanz, TradeMe

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