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Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP for short, is a multilateral free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by several American and Asian nations aimed at further liberalizing the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. In November 2013, the treaty became a subject of intense scrutiny in the news media and online after WikiLeaks published a complete draft of the proposed chapter on Intellectual Property (IP) rights, which contains several provisions relating to the enforcement of copyrights.
The multilateral treaty currently being negotiated is a significantly expanded version of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPSEP), a free trade agreement that was formed among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005. The proposed expansion of the TPP, which began after the United States agreed to enter the negotiation process in late 2008, includes Australia, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico (as of November 2013). Once signed by all members, the TPP will be the largest-scale free trade agreement ever formed, encompassing economies representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
currently in negotiations announced interest in membership
U.S. Industry Memo Leak
In December 2010, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) published a leaked copy of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP’s list of industry demands on the IP chapter of the partnership negotiations, which urged the TPP to address several issues, namely expiration of temporary copies (ex: buffered memory or browser cache), circumvention of digital locks, length of copyright terms and statutory damages.
Darrell Issa’s Release
On May 15th, 2012, U.S. congressman Darrell Issa released a copy of the U.S.-proposed intellectual property chapter via KeepTheWebOPEN, while urging the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to publicly release the latest text U.S. negotiators are seeking to include in the agreement.
On November 13th, 2013, WikiLeaks released a complete copy of the secretly negotiated draft text for the TPP’s Intellectual Property rights chapter ( as proposed by the United States), which addresses a wide range of IP-protection measures ranging from trademark, copyright, patents and trade secrets to geographical indication, genetic resources and traditional knowledge. In the press release, WikiLeaks described the text as “the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.”
The TPP has drawn much criticism from digital rights advocates and regional interest groups for its lack of public transparency, potential infringement of civil liberties and national sovereignty, as well as preference of the U.S. intellectual property laws over others as the international norm. It has been also criticized by several humanitarian aid groups and NGOs for limiting access to affordable medicine in the developing world.
Public Knowledge – ACTA the Sequel: The Transpacific Partnership Agreement
Knowledge Ecology International – US Industry IP memo for the TPP negotiations leaked
U.S. House of Representatives – Congressman Darrell Issa Releases the TPP IP Chapter
Doctors Without Borders – INFOGRAPHICS: How Provisions in the TPP Will Hurt Access to Affordable Drugs