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Coalition launches alternative to secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership

MONTREAL, Canada, juill. 24 (APCNews)

Coalition to TPP negotiators: It’s time to move beyond secret meetings and join with the public to chart a better course for our digital future.

The Fair Deal Coalition has launched a new initiative that will give internet users a platform to discuss what copyright should look like under the TPP. The Coalition’s tool “Your Digital Future” invites organisations from all sectors and countries to discuss what kind of copyright law the TPP countries need in order to encourage creativity, participation, and innovation.

The Fair Deal Coalition will take this wide-ranging feedback and bring it directly to TPP decision-makers, ensuring that the voices of the broader internet community are heard.

“Your Digital Future” is a crowdsourcing initiative, hosted at http://OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture. This new tool will be used to gather input from citizens and businesses on what they think today’s copyright laws should be, and what they think their digital future should look like.

Society at large should have a say in the important laws that shape our use of the internet, how we access information, and even conduct business. This initiative seeks to correct the stark imbalance in the TPP talks between the interests of old media conglomerates and the rest of society including citizens, internet users, innovative businesses and creators.

The announcement comes as TPP negotiators wrap up their latest round of closed-door meetings in Malaysia. Leaked documents show that copyright terms in the TPP could actually render many basic online activities illegal, hinder innovation and cost users money. The copyright demands in the TPP would never pass with the world watching, which is why the negotiations are secret.

What Fair Deal Coalition members have to say about Your Digital Future:

Francisco Vera Hott from ONG Derechos Digitales, Chile: “While there is a growing demand for transparency and inclusiveness in public policy making, the TPP Agreement is being discussed under a level of secrecy that doesn’t allow people to even know its contents, and much less be part of those discussions. We need new tools like this to get people involved in the debate by enabling them to join discussions where the public interest is at stake.”

Maira Sutton from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “Hollywood and other content interests are using TPP to push forth an extreme copyright agenda around the world. The IP policies they’re lobbying for in TPP will permanently affect our rights to free expression, privacy, and innovation online. For this TPP to ever be relevant or legitimate throughout the 21st century, the public’s voice must be heard and our collective concerns must be addressed.”

Susan Chalmers from Internet New Zealand: “Ironically, if the TPP copyright chapter was open for public discussion, countries would probably end up with better legal standards for their citizens — ones that support innovation and economic growth, access to information, and make less of an intrusion into how we use and build the internet. The idea behind Your Digital Future is to have that public discussion, whether invited or not. Now, TPP decision-makers will know how their constituents feel.”

Joy Liddicoat, coordinator for APC’s Internet Rights are Human Rights project: “Those governments negotiating the TPP which only last year publicly committed to open, multi-stakeholder processes for internet governance at the WCIT and ITU meetings on international telecommunications regulation should be called to account. The use of secret trade negotiations to develop internet regulation is blatant circumvention of fundamental principles which lie at the heart of the internet. The blatant contradiction between secret copyright negotiations that will affect internet rights and open internet policy must be challenged.”

TPP meetings took place in Malaysia from 15-24 July 2013. Negotiators have indicated that they are in the “home stretch”, with leaders of the participating countries expecting a resolution sometime in October. However, reports have indicated that the intellectual property provisions have been quite a “challenging” issue for those behind the agreement.

Over 15,000 people have now signed a petition at http://OurFairDeal.org, which demands that negotiators reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.

Internet users around the world can tell decision-makers that it’s time to open up their secretive process and let our voices be heard by speaking out at www.OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture.

(END/2013)

About the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
The TPP is one of the most far-reaching international free trade agreements in history. We know from leaked TPP draft texts that participating nations would be bound to much stricter and more extreme copyright laws than now exist under current national laws. Negotiators are from 12 of the TPP negotiating nations—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. Negotiating documents are classified—unless you are one of just 600 industry lobbyists permitted to participate.

About the Fair Deal Coalition
The Fair Deal Coalition is made up of a diverse group of public interest and business organizations across the Pacific region along with thousands of people who are concerned about costly and harmful internet censorship rules being imposed through the TPP. Members of the Fair Deal coalition include:

Affinity Bridge, Article 19, Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Library & Information Association, Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Internet NZ, BCFIPA, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Consumers International, Council of Canadians, Creative Freedom, Demand Progress, Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), Engine.is, Fight for the Future, FreePress, Gen Why Media, Hiperderecho, Library & Information Society of New Zealand, Movements for the Internet Active Users, NZRise, NZOSS, OpenMedia.org, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Scoop, Tech Liberty NZ, TechDirt, Tuanz, Tucows, TradeMe

About the Association for Progressive Communications

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world. http://www.apc.org

Media Contacts
David Christopher
Communications Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
1-778-232-1858
david@openmedia.ca

Mallory Knodel
Communications Manager, APC
1-514-573-6340
mallory@apc.org

(FIN/2013)

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