WASHINGTON -- House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has taken the unprecedented step of leaking a secret U.S. trade document, in hopes of pressuring President Barack Obama's administration into disclosing the details of a major trade deal with far-reaching implications on everything from "Buy American" contracting rules to prescription drug prices to internet freedom.
"While the Obama administration speaks publicly about protecting an open Internet and delivering open government, they continue pushing secretive agreements like ACTA and TPP that exclude the public and could undermine individual privacy rights and stifle innovation," Issa said. "They need to explain this apparent inconsistency."
There has been criticism of some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in leaked copies of the US proposal for the agreement:
Overall, the USTR proposal for the TPP intellectual property chapter would:
Include a number of features that would lock-in as a global norm many controversial features of U.S. law, such as endless copyright terms.
Requires criminal enforcement for technological measures beyond WIPO Internet Treaties, even when there is not copyright infringement, impose a legal regime of ISP liability beyond the DMCA standards.
Requires legal incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in deterring the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials.
Requires identifying internet users for any ISP, going beyond U.S. case law, includes the text of the controversial US/KOREA side letter on shutting down web sites.
Requires adopting compensation for infringement without actual damages.
For copyright and trademark, criminal punishment would apply even to non-for-profit infringement.
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