Menu
Tech firms oppose fast-tracking of Trans-Pacific Partnership

Tech firms oppose fast-tracking of Trans-Pacific Partnership

The group of tech companies raises concerns about copyright enforcement provisions in the trade pact

A group of 29 technology companies has urged the U.S. Congress to reject a proposal to give President Barack Obama's administration broad authority to negotiate a controversial trade agreement with countries in the Pacific region.

The Obama administration shouldn't have so-called fast-track negotiating authority in the Trans-Pacific Partnership because of expansive copyright enforcement proposals in the draft trade agreement, the tech firms said in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Leaked copies of secretly negotiated TPP documents show the Office of U.S. Trade Representative proposing provisions that "would bind treaty signatories to inflexible digital regulations that undermine free speech," said the letter, signed by Reddit, BoingBoing, Cheezburger and other Web-based firms.

A representative of the USTR didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

Critics of the TPP have raised concerns that leaked documents about the discussions show the U.S. pushing for increased damages for copyright infringement and extending the length of copyright protection, among other intellectual-property provisions.

"It is virtually certain that such proposals would face serious scrutiny if proposed at the domestic level or via a more transparent process," the tech companies wrote. "Anticipated elements such as harsher criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements, a 'take-down and ask questions later' approach to pages and content alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers having to disclose personal information to authorities without safeguards for privacy will chill innovation and significantly restrict users' freedoms online."

Former Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat recently appointed U.S. ambassador to China, and Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have called for the Obama administration to receive fast-track negotiating authority for the TPP. Fast-track authority would allow the administration to negotiate the TPP, while taking away Congress' authority to amend or filibuster the deal when voting whether to accept it.

Wyden replaced Baucus as Finance Committee chairman in the Senate.

Several lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, have voiced opposition to fast-track authority.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentcopyrightlegalBarack Obamaintellectual propertytraderedditRon WydenHarry ReidOffice of U.S. Trade RepresentativeCheezburgerMax BaucusBoingBoingDave Camp

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments