WASHINGTON, DC – On June 26th Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk requesting permission to observe the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks that will take place in San Diego, Calif., next week. He wrote, “It is my hope that observing the negotiating process firsthand will help to alleviate some of my concerns about the process through which the agreement is being negotiated.” Congressman Issa was informed yesterday by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Kirk that he would be barred from observing the negotiations and only able to attend “public portions of the event.”
In response, Congressman Issa released the following statement today:
“The U.S. Trade Representative has once again chosen to block Congress from observing negotiations for this vital trade agreement over which the House and Senate have fundamental constitutional responsibility.
“The TPP process should be transparent and open to oversight, not a secretive backroom negotiation. TPP agreements impact multiple sectors of the American economy—especially our ability to innovate and create new intellectual property, as well as preserve an open Internet.
“Congress has a constitutional duty to oversee trade negotiations and not simply act as a rubber stamp to deals about which they were kept in the dark. While I had hoped the TPP would permit me to observe this round of the negotiation process firsthand, our efforts to open TPP negotiations up to transparency will continue.”
Learn more at KeepTheWebOPEN.com/tpp.
Last week, representatives from nine countries including the United States secretly met in a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a trade agreement with the potential to contain intellectual property provisions that go beyond ACTA.
These secret meetings could create over-reaching new rules and standards that will choke off the online speech of individuals, websites, and platforms accused of copyright infringement.
But because the meetings are held behind closed doors and the text has not been released to the public, the citizens who will be affected do not know the details and don’t have a voice.
What they met to discuss:
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe.
The nine nations currently negotiating the TPP are the U.S., Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. Expected to be finalized in November 2011, the TPP will contain a chapter on Intellectual Property (copyright, trademarks, patents and perhaps geographical indications) that will have a broad impact on citizens’ rights, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and innovation across the world. A leaked version of the February 2011 draft U.S. TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter indicates that U.S. negotiators are pushing for the adoption of copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties, including the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
The TPP will rewrite the global rules on IP enforcement. All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement. In the U.S. this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of U.S. copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s broad ban on circumventing digital locks and frequently disproprotionate statutory damages for copyright infringement) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. The recently leaked U.S. IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current U.S. law. This raises significant concerns for citizens’ due process, privacy and freedom of expression rights.
The leaked U.S. IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:
-Treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders’ authorization as copyright infringement. This was discussed but rejected at the intergovernmental diplomatic conference that created two key 1996 international copyright treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
-Ban parallel importation of genuine goods acquired from other countries without the authorization of copyright owners.
-Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP. Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and following the U.S.- Oman Free Trade Agreement, either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse).
Herman Cain won the straw poll this weekend at a Tea Party summit conference featuring thousands of conservative activists gathering to hear some of the potential presidential candidates.
The Tea Party held a live straw poll during today’s final event and Cain, a pro-life conservative radio talk show host and former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive, won the American Policy Summit’s live poll out of 1,600 votes cast.
He finished with 22 percent of the vote compared with 16 percent for pro-life former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Paul, the Texas congressman who ran for president in 2008 as a Republican, came in third in the live results with 15 percent while pro-life former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin came in fourth with 10 percent and former GOP presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in fifth with 6 percent.