Trans-Pacific Partnership Now Finalised

Last night, our Trade Ministers confirmed that the TPP negotiations have been finished, but the public will still have to wait several weeks to find exactly what has been agreed to. Of particular concern are the the potential changes to copyright and the enforcement of intellectual property rights. So how are you likely to be affected?

Since the agreement has not actually been detailed, the speculation so far has been based on a leaked draft from back in May. For those playing catch up, check out our earlier 5 minute explanation of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership is all about.

The Government touts it as a big win for our economy (and in many ways it is), but it’s not all good news. From a tech perspective, the partnership could bring much more restriction to internet use, empower copyright holders and even raise tech prices in Australia.

Supposedly the public will have plenty of time to review and debate the TPP before it becomes law, but it’s disheartening that we didn’t get to see it while the details were still being negotiated. Choice called for the release of the details of the partnership before it was finalised, but none were forthcoming and now no amendments can be made.

Compared to many countries (such as Australia), the US has fairly restrictive copyright laws that don’t really mesh well with the reality of digital distribution and viewers. While the recent Dallas Buyers Club court case showed, we aren't too keen on a heavy handed approach to copyright.

The new agreement could see criminal punishments for copyright violators, as well as a larger burden on ISPs to track and serve notices to users. Luke was fired up about the entire situation back in 2014, and for good reason too.

Of course, the Australian Government has already been making a range of restrictive choices when it comes to our internet, so sadly further negative changes won’t come as much of a surprise.

The TPP needs to be agreed to by Parliament before it will take effect, and before that happens we will get to see the full details of what Australia has been signed up for.

There isn’t a firm timeline, but it’s likely to be voted on by the end of the year and from there could come into effect mid to late 2016.

What do you think the TPP will entail for Australian when it comes to tech, copyright and the internet?

[Choice] [Eff]

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