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SECRET draft copyright treaty LEAKED: Meet the Trans-Pacific Partnership

DMCA robocops link arms with Monsanto triffids to take over the world in revealed docs

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The text of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) isn't as bad as we thought. It's worse.

A draft, published by Wikileaks, offers a patent-and-copyright wish list that would see the infamous DMCA automatic take-downs spread throughout the Pacific, plants and animals become patentable with few restrictions, and pharmaceutical companies empowered to tax citizens by way of patent evergreening.

With political candidacy off the table for now, Wikileaks has returned to the business of publishing leaked documents with a bang: it has posted the current negotiating text of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership treaty.

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.

In Article QQ.A.12, Australia joins with the US, Japan and Mexico to oppose a mechanism for the international exhaustion of rights (meaning that different countries would still retain different dates for material to enter the public domain. America also wants pharmaceutical patents to be extended if there's a delay between patent publication and getting marketing approval for a product.

America has also asked that the treaty hide clinical data from the public eye, in Article QQ.E.16: it even demands that the existence of clinical data about a particular drug be hidden.

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”.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Next page: Copyright crunch

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