Professor Flynn Quoted in Politico Article on TPP
(by Elizabeth Wasserman, via Politico)
Intellectual property proponents are looking to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement talks opening this week to help thwart growing trade in counterfeit goods and content overseas — and to reclaim the messaging from protesters framing IP protection as a threat to Internet freedom.
Supporters of TPP are trying to get out in front of the talks to counter opposition groups following an EU leader’s admission Friday that a global anti-counterfeiting pact is unlikely to be ratified after months of protests.
Tepp decried “fringe groups opposed to IP” that helped discredit the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an accord that sought international standards for IP rights enforcement, by framing it as another SOPA and making it a cause célèbre for the Internet freedom set.
The EU’s chief digital affairs policymaker, Neelie Kroes, told bloggers Friday that ACTA would never be instituted there. The treaty focuses primarily on counterfeit physical goods, but it also contains enforcement provisions to stymie digital piracy.
Some critics also have targeted the IP aspects of the TPP agreement, which is entering its 12th round of negotiations Monday in Dallas, saying that the process lacks transparency because the talks are being held behind closed doors.
“We certainly hope opponents seize the messaging,” said Art Brodsky, communications director for Public Knowledge. “There’s no room for the closed-door, totally opaque negotiations that are going on here. It’s time to let the public see what is being discussed, as our laws could be affected by what’s decided by the TPP negotiators.”
The TPP is considered the mother of all free-trade agreements, as it includes the U.S., Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Singapore. Canada, Mexico and Japan are also clamoring to join. Chamber representatives have registered as official stakeholders for the negotiations.
Supporters — including the Chamber and many trade groups interested in preventing counterfeiting, copyright infringement and patent violations — see the pact as a way to protect American jobs and boost the nation’s competitiveness. The Chamber pointed to a recent Commerce Department report that indicated IP is responsible for 40 million jobs in the U.S.
Tepp said the TPP’s IP provisions are built upon existing free-trade agreements, such as the U.S. pact with South Korea, which was ratified last fall. He said TPP would set out specific obligations for signatories, including the law and enforcement tools available and any civil remedies designed to be a deterrent to IP violations. It also includes a dispute-resolution process.
In a conference call with reporters last week, TPP opponents said the agreement contains few benefits for nations other than the U.S. — as some of the countries already have free-trade agreements with the U.S.
The IP portion of the treaty “is presented as the cost of the access to benefits,” said Sean Flynn, associate director of information justice and intellectual property at Washington College of Law at American University.
“What does Chile gain in signing the agreement? It already has a trade agreement,” Flynn said. “Same could be said about Australia [and] Peru. The U.S. isn’t offering them anything more in terms of market access. Vietnam, Malaysia [and] Brunei would get market access but would pay highest cost of the maximalist IP package.”
Tepp disagreed, saying foreign countries that institute IP protections stand to gain more foreign direct investment and better domestic IP development, which could help local economies over the long term."
Read the original story at politico.com: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76015.html