Today Wikileaks published a new draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)’s intellectual property chapter. This draft text, from May 2014, gives us another look into the current state of negotiations over this plurilateral trade agreement’s copyright provisions since another draft was leaked last year. And what we’re seeing isn’t pretty. The TPP still contains text on DRM, ISP liability, copyright term lengths, and criminal enforcement measures, and introduces new provisions on trade secrets that have us worried.

Despite an over-abundance of evidence that laws punishing circumvention of DRM do far more harm than good, the USTR continues to press other countries to embrace the U.S.’s failed anti-circumvention policy. The leaked text suggest that some provisions have improved, but others have deteriorated. Although the leaked text does allow exceptions to the provision outlawing DRM circumvention, it suggests that these exceptions should be limited to specific cases “where there is an actual or likely adverse impact of those measures on those non-infringing uses, as determined through a legislative, regulatory, or administrative process.” We know how well the exemption process has worked to protect lawful uses here in the U.S. (it hasn’t). If we are going to pressure other countries to adopt our failed policies, the least we should do is let them have an relatively easy way to prevent those policies from crippling innovation and free expression. What is worse, it would likely impede countries from adopting laws (such as those of India, although that law is hardly a paragon) that provide a blanket exemption for DRM circumvention for lawful purposes. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog