Raising concerns about ACTA and TPP

The recent resounding defeat of ACTA in the European Parliament has given me a lot of hope. Many citizens took the time to contact members of parliament and this seems to have made all the difference. I hope that Australian can also reject this harmful agreement. That won’t happen without some effort though.

This morning I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Australian Government MP Catherine King. I raised concerns about the ACTA and TPP agreements. She acknowledged my concerns and agreed to contact Minister Stephen Conroy about these issues. Here are the points I provided:

ACTA

Please defend our freedom by voting down this harmful agreement.

  1. Negotiated in secret for over two years
  2. Uses the guise of reducing commercial international-level copyright and trademark infringement (an acceptable aim) to introduce provisions that restrict the freedom of citizens
  3. Serves the interest of large incumbent music and movie companies, preserving their outdated business models
  4. Punishes Internet users with disconnection if accused of sharing
  5. Prohibits software that circumvents digital-restrictions on text/audio/video (ie. “you must only use our locked-down e-book reader software to read this book”)
  6. Encourages a culture of surveillance and suspicion in which freedom and creativity are seen as dangerous.
  7. Following a huge public backlash, the European Parliament recently voted ACTA down, 478 votes to 39.

TPP

Please speak out against the nature and scope of this agreement.

  1. Completely non-transparent process – NGOs could make submissions at stakeholder forums knowing almost nothing about the scope of the agreement
  2. Leaked draft indicates that United States is using the TPP to spread it’s draconian copyright and patent laws around the world.
  3. Expected to increase the duration and scope of copyright and patents and adding harsher infringement penalties. These laws are already a long way in the favour of publishing and media companies to the detriment of authors, artists and consumers.
  4. Expected to explicitly include areas of computation and information processing in patentable subject matter (aka. software patents). These patents don’t work as a way to encourage innovation, actually stifling the Australian software industry (see our 2010 petition which received 1000 signatures).

Update 21 July 2012: Looks like I wasn’t paying attention. Australia signed up to ACTA in October 2011. The TPP is definitely still being negotiated though.

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