Another Trans-Pacific Partnership leak overnight, this time of the intellectual property chapter, demonstrates how determined the United States is to impose its own draconian system of copyright regulation on other countries.
The text, revealed by Knowledge Econology International, is from May and shows some improvements over previous leaked versions of the intellectual property provisions of the draft agreement.
However, the United States continues to demand that the TPP require parties to mandate penalties for copyright infringement, regardless of actual damage. This is opposed by all other parties. The US is also holding out against a proposal by other parties that rights holders be required to pay compensation if they abuse copyright enforcement procedures. The copyright term of protection also remains unresolved, with some countries holding out on the US’ position that it should extended to at least life of the author plus 70 years — or even 100 years.
The intellectual property chapter of the TPP poses the greatest threat to Australia’s national interests; according to the Productivity Commission, the IP chapter of the earlier Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement “imposed net costs on Australia”. The commission argued future trade agreements should not include IP provisions — or if if they did, they “should only be included after an economic assessment of the impacts, including on consumers, in Australia and partner countries”.
As the leaked text indicates, the United States has not backed down from attempting to impose further IP-related costs on its trading partners. Australia’s copyright regime is already inefficient and biased toward the interests of copyright holders. Any further cave-ins to US interests — likely justified by the government as necessary to secure access to US agricultural markets — will make a costly system even more expensive.