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International coalition favours Kiwi Copyright position

01 Sep 2012

The largest coalition of civil society groups to speak out on U.S. copyright proposals in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has indicated support for New Zealand's counterproposal.

Reports from InternetNZ says coalition group the Electronic Frontier Foundation criticised the U.S. proposal for "exceptions and limitations" to the rights of copyright owners, stating that the proposed text "would do little to incorporate public interest concerns in the TPP's copyright chapter."

Such concerns include greater legal obligations on ISPs and restricting "rights that are essential to access to information, culture, science, education and innovation."

"New Zealand's copyright law has special provisions for 'transient' copying that are designed to ensure that ISPs and other Internet intermediaries - like search engines and other web services - avoid undue legal headaches for routine transmission of data that may contain copyright material,” says Susan Chalmers, Internet NZ policy lead.

"Exceptions like these are especially important in the digital environment to ensure that the Internet remains the open engine for growth and innovation that it traditionally has been."

The news follows a week where a U.S. judge in the Motorola stealing trial said “in today’s world, the most valuable thing that anyone has is technology and the most important thing this country can do is protect its trade secrets.”

The U.S. proposal, also supported by Australia, would make it difficult for TPP countries to create meaningful exceptions and limitations to the overly strong copyright standards that the U.S. wants from New Zealand and others according to Chalmers.

The proposal of New Zealand and a host of other parties received the relative support of the coalition in a statement which read:

"We firmly believe that countries should be able to tailor copyright exceptions and limitations to their domestic needs, and extend such limitations into the digital environment to create new exceptions as they find appropriate.

“We consider that the proposal pushed forward by New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei - which also leaves to each country to decide which is appropriate for their digital environment - a better solution."

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