As high-level TPP talks continue in Washington D.C., OpenMedia holds face-to-face meetings with key negotiators to demand end to secrecy

Thursday December 11, 2014 – As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks continue in Washington, D.C., negotiators are set to feel the heat from public interest groups outraged at the secrecy surrounding the talks. The organizations say it’s past time for TPP negotiators to follow the example of the European Commission which recently released to the public the draft text of a similar Trans-Atlantic deal.

The TPP is an international deal being negotiated in near-total secrecy by 12 Pacific Rim nations including the U.S. and Canada. Based on what we know from leaked drafts, experts say the TPP contains extreme copyright rules that would make the Internet far more expensive, policed, and censored. A letter from a diverse group of 40 major organizations from 11 TPP nations demanding greater transparency will be delivered directly to key negotiators by Meghan Sali from Internet freedom group OpenMedia.

“This agreement will have a huge impact on the everyday lives of hundreds of millions of Internet users,” said Meghan Sali, Free Expression campaigner for OpenMedia. “If the TPP is finalized, the way we use the Internet would change forever. Whole families could be kicked offline just for being accused of copyright infringement. And powerful media conglomerates could even force ISPs to remove entire websites from the Internet.”

Sali continued: “My message to TPP negotiators is clear. With so much at stake, citizens shouldn’t have to rely on leaked documents to find out what’s going on behind their backs. It’s well past the time to release the full text of the TPP so that we can have a proper public debate about the consequences. Why should a tiny cabal of powerful industry lobbyists determine our digital future, while citizens are excluded?”

Ms. Sali will be meeting with top negotiators from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. She will also hold talks with representatives from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

OpenMedia recently published its Our Digital Future report crowdsourced from over 300,000 people around the world. It found that citizens overwhelmingly want balanced copyright rules that are shaped democratically, respect creators, and prioritize free expression.

Learn more about the threats posed to free expression by deals such as the TPP at https://OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture

 

About OpenMedia

OpenMedia is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

 

About the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:

The TPP is one of the most far-reaching international free trade agreements in history. We know from leaked TPP draft texts that participating nations would be bound to much stricter and more extreme copyright laws than now exist under current national laws. These new rules would criminalize much online activity, invade citizens’ privacy, and significantly impact our ability to share and collaborate online.

Negotiators from 12 of the TPP negotiating nations—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States— are meeting in Asia this week to discuss these changes without input from the public, creators, or most businesses. The negotiating documents are classified—unless you are one of just 600 industry lobbyists permitted to participate.

U.S. negotiators are pushing hard to force smaller nations into accepting a censored Internet. However, reports have indicated that the intellectual property provisions have been quite a “challenging” issue for those behind the agreement.

Hundreds of thousands of people have supported campaigns organized by OpenMedia to speak out about Internet censorship and the secrecy surrounding the TPP.

OpenMedia recently published its Our Digital Future report crowdsourced from over 300,000 people around the world. It found that citizens overwhelmingly want balanced copyright rules that are shaped democratically, respect creators, and prioritize free expression.

 

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Contact

David Christopher

Communications Manager, OpenMedia

1-778-232-1858

david@openmedia.ca

 

More Information

  • Internet governance expert says U.S. trying to strong-arm Canada into economically-damaging Internet censorship rules in international agreement. Source: OpenMedia.ca

  • Full text of the TPP’s Internet censorship chapter - source: Wikileaks