Wikileaks has published a draft document of a chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement–the year’s most controversial secret treaty. The secretive multinational free-trade treaty is currently being negotiated by 11 Pacific Rim nations.
The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The agreement touches upon a number of areas, but the leaked draft published by WikiLeaks covers intellectual property rights, an area of law which has effects in areas like pharmaceuticals and civil liberties.
Participating nations include the US, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei. The treaty aims to enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development. But the basic idea is to enforce intellectual property rights strictly. It is supported by more than 600 corporate lobbyists, including Nike, General Motors, and Walmart.
As the TPP is an elitist agreement of corporate governance issued under the guise of being a trade agreement, it is feared that the agreement could give major corporations new rights and privileges, while making it harder for nation states to oppose them, Wired reports.
Highlights of the leaked document:
• Criminalisation of copyright infringement by all signatories;
• Stronger DRM and “technological protection measure” regimes;
• ISPs to be made liable for copyright infringement on their networks;
• A “take it down first, argue later” DMCA-like process for notifying copyright infringements;
• Patentable plants and animals;
• The evergreening of patents – this has become particularly notorious in the pharmaceutical business, where the repackaging of an out-of-patent medication is used to keep common compounds out of the public domain.
The text, according to WikiLeaks, shows America trying to enforce its highly restrictive vision of intellectual property on the world – and on itself. “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly,” says Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
“If instituted,” Assange continues, “the TPP’s intellectual property regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”