Nov 242013

The following statement was issued by ISOC:

Internet Society Expresses Concern over Impact of Intellectual
Property Rights Provisions in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
(TPP) Draft

18 November 2013

The Internet Society is concerned that the global Internet may be harmed if countries adopt Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) provisions contained in the recently leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) draft. We do not believe that these provisions are consistent with basic principles of transparency, due process, accountability, proportionality and the rule of law.

The leaked TPP Agreement is a complex set of rights and principles related to IPR and we believe that the current draft reflects a disproportionate balance of rights in favor of intellectual property owners. In addition to other issues, these provisions could also have important consequences for online privacy, a critical dimension in light of heightened awareness worldwide about the importance of protecting the privacy and security of end-users.

In particular, with respect to intermediary liability, some of the articles appear to assign new levels of responsibility to private entities and create an environment where content will be subject to extensive filtering. Some draft provisions would impose an unparalleled set of conditions on intermediaries that would allow them to escape liability and could ultimately lead to content blocking and affect legitimate speech and online expression.

Such measures are neither new nor original; they have appeared in similar forms in other national or international contexts. On the whole, these measures have proven to be inefficient or unworkable. They have failed to adequately address the stated problems or to provide sufficient answers to the existing challenges.

The Internet Society has advocated for intellectual property discussions to adhere to minimum standards of process and substance.  In June 2013, we released a paper in which we called on the international community to apply standards such as transparency, due process, accountability and compliance to the rule of law to all
intellectual property discussions that relate to the Internet. Similarly, we have been vocal in advancing these principles in various for a, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

We also joined other organizations1 in a statement made in 2012, urging the negotiators of the TPP “to make [the] process more transparent and inclusive, following the multi-stakeholder model, at least for those chapters of the agreement pertaining to the Internet.”

Throughout this process, the Internet Society has taken the position of not commenting on substantive issues based on leaked texts. At the time, we understood that the leaked texts provided only a snapshot of
the issues while many provisions were omitted.

The most recent leak, released by Wikileaks, appears to be the complete draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter and has made us reconsider our position.

That we feel compelled to comment on leaked versions of the TPP demonstrates that these basic process standards have been ignored. In an era where the global economy depends on information and networks,
we believe that discussions that affect the Internet and its users should reflect these basic principles of transparency and openness.

Once again, the Internet Society calls upon the TPP negotiators to abide by standards of transparency as they complete this critical international agreement that will impact Internet users worldwide. We also urge the negotiating parties to reconsider the TPP’s intellectual property provisions and to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on
innovation, creativity, prosperity and market participation.

1 The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), InternetNZ, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Open Media, Global Voices Advocacy and the International Federation of Libraries and Archives (IFLA).


Mar 292012

‘Hunting the Rogues and Breaking the Internet: a new front in the online copyright enforcement battle’

Associate Professor Kimberlee Weatherall (Sydney)

2-3.30pm, Friday 30 March, 2012
Rogers Room, Woolley Building (A20), University of Sydney — see map:


The Internet Blackout in January 2012 saw thousands of websites ‘go dark’ to protest proposed US laws designed to implement a ‘multisystem denial of service attack’ against alleged IP-infringing websites by making them both unfindable, and by cutting off any financial support. Within days, the laws – known as SOPA and PIPA – were effectively dead. But when and how did such laws even reach the stage of serious discussion?  This paper will look at what’s changed, and how and why regulating internet intermediaries and making them the internet ‘police’ has gradually become more acceptable to governments.

About the presenter:

Kimberlee Weatherall is an Associate Professor at the Sydney Law School ( Prior to joining the School in 2012, Kimberlee held positions at the University of Queensland, the University of Melbourne and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia. Kimberlee teaches and researches in intellectual property law, with a particular interest in digital copyright, the relationship between international trade and intellectual property, and the systems for administration and enforcement of intellectual  property rights. She has been a member of the Law Council of Australia IP Subcommittee since 2006 and sits on the board of the Australian Digital Alliance and the Arts Law Centre of Australia.

Media @ Sydney is presented by the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney:
For further information, contact Lukasz Swiatek ( or Gerard Goggin (

Mar 262012

Author: John Hilvert
Mar 23, 2012,acta-treaty-mauled-in-hearings.aspx

Power to rights holders is a reason not to ratify agreement, say critics.
Academics have savaged the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty over the power it affords intellectual property rights holders during a second round of joint committee hearings in Canberra.
Associate Professor Kimberlee Weatherall said the treaty – if ratified by Australia – would extend new powers to rights holders, despite assurances given by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and representatives of the Attorney-General’s office.
While she accepted that ACTA’s ratification would not involve new legislation, Weatherall said the treaty expanded the reach of existing laws that governed commercial-scale infringements.
Laws relating to these types of infringements are currently dealt with by individual countries per directions in the existing World Trade Organisation agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).
Weatherall called for ratification of the ACTA to be delayed or canned altogether on grounds including that the agreement’s provisions aren’t accepted as a legitimate basis for international intellectual property standards and that there are few benefits and many costs for Australians in the treaty.
She also argued the treaty was tainted by narrow consultations, redundant in the face of existing multilateral forums, and did not counter-balance powers given to rights holders with user rights of access.
In addition, Weatherall said that ratification could undermine regional relations with major trade partners that had expressed concerns over the treaty, such as China and India.
Weatherall received some support from fellow academic Dr Hazel Moir, who attacked the Government and DFAT for failing to outline the "net benefit" of ratifying the treaty.
Moir said the main beneficiaries of ACTA were overseas firms and that there was a general lack of research to support ratification of the treaty.
Moir also attacked the validity of research before the committee by rights holders that detailed lost business and the price of infringement on the music industry.
Meanwhile, Australian National University College of Law associate professor Dr Matthew Rimmer attacked a DFAT National Interest analysis [pdf] as inadequate and unsatisfactory.
He said DFAT failed to explain how mandatory and discretionary obligations imposed by the treaty would be implemented in practice.
Rimmer also sought explanation of the so-called ACTA Committee’s ability to change rules and standards, arguing its existence could subvert international standards and enact tougher enforcement regimes with little external scrutiny, causing fragmentation to intellectual property laws.