Nearly 50 Groups Demand IPRs Out Of EU-US FTA

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Upwards of 50 civil society groups have issued a declaration asking for the exclusion of all forms of intellectual property rights from the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the United States. They raised significant concerns about the potential effect of IP rights’ inclusion on the public interest in the countries involved.

The declaration, available here, signed by public health advocacy and digital civil rights groups, calls for negotiators to release negotiating documents as talks proceed, which has not been the case in recent trade negotiations. Many of the groups were among those that led to massive protests against online anti-piracy legislation in the US called SOPA and PIPA.

Second, they demanded that “the proposed TAFTA exclude any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called ‘intellectual property’. Such provisions could impede our rights to health, culture, and free expression and otherwise affect our daily lives.”

“Past trade agreements negotiated by the US and EU have significantly increased the privileges of multinational corporations at the expense of society in general,” the declaration said. “Provisions in these agreements can, among many other concerns, limit free speech, constrain access to educational materials such as textbooks and academic journals, and, in the case of medicines, raise healthcare costs and contribute to preventable suffering and death.”

Signers includes groups such the Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure (FFII), European Digital Rights (EDRi), Act-Up, the Open Rights Group, and Public Citizen.

 

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