For years the content copyright industries have been lobbying, in national law or within trade agreements, for overreaching rules that would break the Internet in the name of copyright enforcement. Lately, such proposals ranges from the termination of user access account on the mere allegation of copyright infringement, to enacting censorship powers that would make parts of the global Internet disappear from view, as well as imposing digital locks laws that stifle online innovation and restrict the ability to use lawfully-acquired digital content.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is the latest forum where those overreaching standards is being laundered. The TPP is a secretive treaty that includes a set of intellectual property rules that targets the Internet. The 17th round of negotiations over TPP starts next week in Lima, Peru. Up for debate are the provisions dealing with copyright – including online copyright enforcement, DMCA-style digital locks, and Internet intermediary liability. The current text is secret so the specific condidions under which those issues are being defined are unknown.
One of the major concerns of TPP is its capacity to rewrite gobal rules on copyright enforcement. All signatory countries will be required to match their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the TPP. Future changes to those laws may have to involve re-negotiating the treaty. In Peru, this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of Peruvian copyright law and restrict the ability of the Peruvian Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs and realities of Peruvian citizens and their growing technology sector.
This is why, a well-known Peruvian network of groups, RedGE and the digital rights NGO, Hiperderecho (EFF's partner in Lima) have launched a Peruvian campaign asking the President, Mr. Ollanta Humala Tasso, to set clear non-negotiable lines to ensure that Peruvians' fundamental rights in the TPP are respected.
In particular, Peruvians are asking their President to:
- Not accept new conditions in the intellectual property chapter that hinder or make more expensive our access to medicines and medical treatment.
- Not accept conditions on the intellectual property chapter that jeopardize the Internet, our freedom of speech and our ability to investigate and innovate using art and technology.
- In the investment chapter, to include the necessary safeguards to ensure the state's ability to enforce national laws, especially on issues of public health and environment.
Miguel Morachimo, Hiperderecho's executive director is urging other Peruvians to sign the Peruvian petition:
Would you remain silent if someone is discussing the way you work, create or express yourself? The TPP may change the way we as consumers and professionals interact with cultural goods and technology. But we can stop it if we speak. We invite you to join us in this petition asking the peruvian government to express clear non negotiable lines in this treaty. We won't make it without your voice.
Katitza Rodriguez, EFF's International Rights Director, is Peruvian, and has spent the last few weeks working with her fellow citizens to draw attention to TPP's flaws. She writes:
Any changes to the conditions governing limitations on Internet intermediary liability will have a significant and detrimental impact on Internet users' ability to seek, receive and impart information, and could harm the Internet's end-to-end architecture. How TPP countries approach these issues can determine the future of the global Internet.
If you are Peruvian and think that the President should set clear limits that are non negotiable on the TPP, we ask you to join the online petition proposed by a group of civil society organizations in Peru by signing at http://www.nonegociable.pe/. If you live outside Peru, but want to help with the Peruvian campaign, please get the word out of the Peruvian campaign in blogs, and on Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtags #yaratpp and #notpp).