Thursday, February 6, 2014

Free Trade Disagreement; New York Times, 2/4/14

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times; Free Trade Disagreement:
"Issa and other members of Congress have voiced concerns that the leaked versions of TPP suggest that the United States is promoting Internet policies that Congress specifically rejected in January 2012, when the House killed the Stop Online Piracy Act...
Joseph Stiglitz – an economist at Columbia and a contributor to these pages – provided a particularly illuminating list of policies that he argues negotiators should explicitly reject, including: mandates for the extensions of patent terms; mandates for the granting of patents on surgical procedures; monopolies of 12 years on test data for biologic damages; increased damages for infringement of patents and copyrights; the requirement of life plus 70 years of copyright protection; and mandates for excessive enforcement measures for digital information and other restrictions on the dissemination of knowledge.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit advocate of open access on the Internet, argues that under a cloak of secrecy, the TPP,
“raises significant concerns about citizens’ freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities. In sum, the TPP puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens. The US Trade Rep is pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory countries to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the U.S. entertainment and pharmaceutical industries agendas, but omits the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.”

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