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Economy 18 November 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement risks harming the Internet

Markus Kummer
By Markus KummerFormer Senior Vice President

We felt compelled to issue a statement on the recently leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) draft.  The Internet Society is concerned that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) provisions currently under discussion by the negotiators risk harming the global Internet. We do not believe that these provisions are consistent with basic principles of transparency, due process, accountability, proportionality and the rule of law.

By issuing a statement, we deviate from our past practice of not commenting on leaked documents. Leaked texts normally provide only a snapshot of the issues while many other provisions omitted.

The document released by Wikileaks, however, contains the complete IPR chapter and the level of details provided leaves little doubt that this is the current version of the draft treaty under negotiation. It contains all the proposals and counterproposals by the negotiating parties. While it is a complex document that requires further careful analysis, we feel that based on what we have seen that we can safely state that it would have a negative impact on the Internet. In addition to other issues, these provisions could also have important consequences for online privacy, a critical dimension in light of heightened awareness worldwide about the importance of protecting the privacy and security of end-users.

We are aware that this is not the final treaty text and take advantage of this situation to call upon the TPP negotiators to abide by standards of transparency as they complete this critical international agreement that will impact Internet users worldwide. We also urge the negotiating parties to reconsider the TPP’s intellectual property provisions and to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on innovation, creativity, prosperity and market participation.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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