Stronger Copyright monopolies on the Internet

Copyright law is meant to maintain a balance between the right of creators to a reasonable income through payments for the use of their work, and the rights of consumers to fair use of information.

Most copyright is now held by corporations, which lobby for trade agreements to extend their rights.

The TPP locks in strong specific legal rights for copyright holders and criminalisation of copyright breaches, with much vaguer references to fair use provisions for consumers.

These detailed, specific rights for copyright holders could prevent governments from introducing reforms to improve consumer rights or to respond to technological change in the future. Sydney University Professor Kimberlee Weatherall has described them as "unbalanced, outdated and inflexible."

A recent draft Productivity Commission report (April 2016) found that copyright and patent rules agreed to in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement and locked in by the TPP are costing governments and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It has also called for a reform of our copyright laws for the benefit of consumers – a process which will be made near impossible if the TPP is ratified.

 

Learn more:

TPP locks in copyright & patent rules, making reform near impossible (April 2016). 

Assoc. Prof. Kimberlee Weatherall’s submission to the JSCOT inquiry into the TPP, focusing on intellectual property (March 2016) 

 

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Updated: July 2016