Will 2014 be the year of fair use in Australia? That’s certainly the recommendation of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) whose long-awaited report Copyright and the Digital Economy will be made public early this year.
A treaty to help end the book famine. Blind and visually impaired people able to access the books we all take for granted. It had been a surprisingly hard fought battle, but finally the Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions and limitations to assist the blind and visually diasbled was done.
Now, less than six months later there are worrying signs that a trade deal may undermine it all.
As the Trans-Pacific Partnership looks close to being settled, the warning bells over the Intellectual Property Chapter are getting louder. With Wikileaks’ publication of a leaked version of the negotiating text, we finally have some firm knowledge about what is at stake. Notably we can now see the push, particularly from the US, for provisions that not just go further than TRIPS and ACTA, but further than the restrictive copyright provisions Australia agreed to under the Australian-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSTFA).
Overly prescriptive and technical language being debated in the Trans Pacific Partnership will reduce our domestic flexibility and leave us with little room to negotiate in future international agreements.
The leak of the August 2013 negotiating text of the TPP IP Chapter has at last given academics and civil society a chance to analyse what is on the table. And while the text is far from agreed upon, there are some very worrying signs.
November 22, 2013: Today the Fair Deal Coalition has called on Governments involved in the TPP negotiations to reject copyright proposals that would limit the open Internet, access to knowledge, and curtail economic opportunity.