"WikiLeaks has published a leaked draft [which this Kat has not yet had time to read] of a secret international trade agreement that could create stricter laws governing digital copyright and freedom of speech. The leaked chapter focuses on intellectual property rights, and is part of a broader agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that has been in the works for several years now between the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and several other countries. Though the draft is being written in secret, it's rumored to be moving toward a fast track through Congress. Some details of the agreement have been leaked in the past, but today's come from a quite recent draft, dated August 30th, 2013 — it's also the only one to detail which countries are in support of which proposals.This Kat is dismayed that the lessons of ACTA have apparently not been learned and that what appears to be a treaty of major significance is being negotiated in conditions of such secrecy that -- regardless of its content -- the mere fact that it is being so hushed up creates the implication that there is something to hide. The countries pressing for the TPP are not repressive dictatorships in which secretive governments arrogate for themselves the role of knowing what's best for the ignorant proletarian masses; they are, or purport to be, representative democracies in which governments are elected by and answerable to an informed, involved, aware and interested electorate. The public at large are believed to be mature enough to be told about proposed amendments to laws governing trade, competition and IP rights at national level, so why is there so much secrecy here? It's not as if we want or need to know exactly who said what to whom on which occasion: it would be good for us at least to know exactly what sort of provisions are proposed, so we can add, or subtract, our support and make some constructive comments to our governments and representatives.
The Sydney Morning Herald received an early look at the leaked draft, and notes that it focuses on the United States' federal and corporate interests, while largely ignoring the rights and interests of consumers. ...
The United States and Japan are also currently in opposition to a proposed chapter of the agreement that would seek to "maintain a balance between the rights of intellectual property holders and the legitimate interests of users and the community" when it comes to intellectual property. ... ".
Matthew Rimmer, IP and climate change enthusiast and one of the relatively few folk whom this Kat regularly follows on Twitter, is quoted as saying: