Leaks of information regarding the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations have prompted Pirate Party Australia to call for a reclamation of Australian sovereignty.
The most recent leak, published by KEI Online, show that while the United States negotiators publicly said they would be pushing for protection of fair use, the US and Australia were advocating for stricter limitations to copyright exceptions.
Other negotiating parties present – New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam – put forward proposals that would allow exceptions and limitations to copyright and technological protection measures, and the extension of those exceptions into the “digital environment.” Both of these proposals were opposed by the US and Australia.
“It appears our negotiators are refusing to stand up to the US,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “The fact that Australian negotiators are constantly siding with the United States despite strong objections from within Australia and from other countries is a great concern. We hoped that our negotiators would have learned from the defeat of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in the European Union, but the TPP contains many of the same provisions as ACTA, and in some cases goes even further.”
“This matter transcends our position on copyright – it is about maintaining our ability to reform our own laws. Each time we sign and ratify a new international agreement, we give away our right to reform our own laws. It seems the Australian negotiators are refusing to accept that taking the United States’ approach to trade agreements is not in Australia’s best interests.”
Pirate Party Australia has been continually critical of the manner in which international agreements have been negotiated, and has attended several meetings, including the eleventh round stakeholder’s event in Melbourne. The Party has also assisted the Californian Pirate Party in presenting at the twelfth round in San Diego, and is encouraging other US Pirate Parties to present at the upcoming meetings in Leesburg, Virginia.
“At the moment we only have leaks to critique. The negotiating process is very secretive – as with ACTA and the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement we won’t be shown the final text until after it is signed. This lack of transparency is simply not good enough in a free and democratic society. There is no reason for such exclusion of citizens when deciding which international obligations Australia should subscribe to,” continued Mr Molloy.
“The TPP is much harder to campaign against than ACTA. We don’t have the same population density or interest in civil liberties in the Pacific as the EU, so protests and similar action will be difficult. However, we are putting up as much resistance as we can and are encouraging other groups in affected countries to do the same,” he concluded.
Pirate Party Australia is also running a senate petition regarding the proposals of the National Security Inquiry here: http://pirateparty.org.au/natsecinquiry-petition.