[Rumori] FTAA Treaty '"Threatens Freedom and Free Trade" (fwd)

Steev Hise steev at detritus.net
Tue Oct 21 09:07:02 PDT 2003

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 22:29:56 -0700
From: IP Justice <announce at ipjustice.org>
To: announce at ipjustice.org
Subject: FTAA Treaty '"Threatens Freedom and Free Trade"

IP Justice Media Release
October 20, 2003
Media contact: Robin Gross, IP Justice Executive Director
+1 415-553-6261     robin at ipjustice.org

FTAA Treaty Chapter on IP '"Threatens Freedom and Free Trade"
IP Justice White Paper Reveals Treaty Would Send P2P File-Sharers to Prison
Sponsors Petition to Delete Intellectual Property Chapter

- International civil liberties group IP Justice published a report today
entitled "FTAA: A Threat to Freedom and Free Trade," that analyzes key
sections of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Treaty. The FTAA
Treaty will govern the lives of 800 million Americans in the Western
Hemisphere in 2005.

Similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the FTAA Treaty
seeks to bind the 34 democracies in the Western Hemisphere (including the
US) to a single trade agreement. It will require all countries to change
their domestic laws on a wide range of topics, including intellectual
property rights.

The draft intellectual property rights chapter in the FTAA Agreement vastly
expands criminal procedures and penalties against intellectual property
infringements throughout the Americas. One clause would require countries
to send non-commercial infringers such as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharers
to prison. It is estimated that 60 million Americans use file-sharing
software in the US alone.

According to the IP Justice report, "unless the second proposed clause to
Article 4.1 is deleted from the FTAA Treaty, Internet music swapping will
be a felony throughout the Western Hemisphere in 2005."

The proposed agreement forbids consumers from bypassing technical
restrictions on their own CDs, DVDs and other property, similar to the
controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Even though bills
are pending in the US Congress to repeal the DMCA, FTAA proposes to outlaw
even more speech and legitimate conduct.

Mislabeled as a "free trade" agreement, the FTAA Agreement would actually
make it illegal to bypass trade barriers such as DVD region code
restrictions and it would enable price discrimination against consumers in
the Americas.

The draft treaty also imposes new definitions for "fair use" and "personal
use," curtailing traditional fair use and personal use rights to a single
copy and only under limited circumstances. This prevents consumers from
backing-up their media collections, using their media in new and innovative
ways, and accessing media for educational and non-commercial purposes.

Another clause would require all countries to amend their copyright laws to
extend copyright's term to at least 70 years after the life of the author,
essentially forcing the new US standard on all other 33 countries in the
hemisphere. Although forbidden by the US Constitution, FTAA's copyright
section would allow companies to copyright facts and scientific data.

Another provision requires all domain name trademark disputes to be decided
by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a
private and unaccountable organization that is ill equipped to determine
the limits of freedom of expression rights or the scope of intellectual
property rights. Americans would no longer have access to their local
public courts to adjudicate rights over their Internet domain names.

"The FTAA Treaty's IP chapter reads like a 'wish list' for RIAA, MPAA, and
Microsoft lobbyists," said IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross.
"Rather than promote competition and creativity, it is bloated with
provisions that create monopolies over information and media devices,"
stated the intellectual property attorney.

In conjunction with the White Paper, IP Justice published an online
petition calling upon the FTAA Trade Ministers to delete the entire chapter
on intellectual property rights from the trade agreement. Earlier this year
Brazil called for scrapping the chapter on intellectual property rights also.

FTAA Treaty negotiators, including the Office of the US Trade
Representative who negotiates on behalf of US government, will meet in
Miami from November 16-21, 2003. Debate over the text of the FTAA Treaty
will conclude by January 2005 and the treaty is due to take effect by
December 2005.

IP Justice White Paper on FTAA IP Chapter:

IP Justice FTAA Educational Campaign:

IP Justice's Top 10 Reasons to Delete FTAA's IP Chapter:

IP Justice Petition to Delete FTAA's IP Chapter:

Official FTAA Website:

Draft chapter on intellectual property rights in FTAA Agreement:

IP Justice is an international civil liberties organization that promotes
balanced intellectual property law. IP Justice defends individual rights to
use digital media worldwide and is a registered California non-profit
organization. IP Justice was founded in 2002 by Robin D. Gross, who serves
as its Executive Director. To learn more about IP Justice, visit the
website at http://www.ipjustice.org.

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