WikiLeaks Blasts U.S. Antipiracy Push (Update)

Group says Trans-Pacific Partnership would “trample over individual rights and free expression”

WikiLeaks and consumer groups say the U.S. government has slipped strict and overreaching antipiracy measures into a new proposed trade agreement.

WikiLeaks on Wednesday released sections of the U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated between the U.S. and several other countries. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said new proposals in the treaty would “trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons.”

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“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,” said Assange (pictured).

The Motion Picture Association of America, which has pushed for added antipiracy protections, noted that the proposed text is not final.

“What the text does show though, if it is authentic, is that despite much hyperbole from free trade opponents, the U.S. has put forth no proposals that are inconsistent with U.S. law,” said Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs.

“Strong intellectual property laws are imperative, not just for the millions of workers around the world whose livelihoods depend upon the success of the copyright industries, but to the future growth of the world economy,” he added.

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The watchdog group Public Citizen said the changes would lengthen copyright terms, restrict exceptions to copyrights, expand copyright protection to temporary copies and turn Internet service providers into law enforcement agencies.

It said the changes were “harmful to freedom and access.”

Other critics said the new restrictions could be more severe than the entertainment industry sought in the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Privacy fight. Consumers groups successfully fought both by branding them as too severe.

Los Angeles copyright and patent attorney David Philip Graham told TheWrap that if  the U.S. gets its way, Internet service providers could have to work with law enforcement agencies to keep their customers from violating copyrights.

The TPP is being negotiated by the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. It proposes reductions in duties on a number of industries and eliminating trade barriers while increasing patent, copyright and intellectual property protection.

WikiLeaks released a 95-page section of the proposed agreement. Negotiations are to resume next week in Salt Lake City.