AUSFTA Senate Hearings

Quotes from Chapter 3 – Intellectual Property:

“3.1 Chapter 17 of the AUSFTA, the Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter, is the largest chapter in the AUSFTA in content and substance. ”

“3.16 DFAT has been dismissive of such arguments. Although conceding that extension of the copyright term ‘is the single biggest concession that Australia made in the negotiations’18, representatives from DFAT have stressed the positive aspects of the extension.”

So it’s the largest part of the agreement, it’s the biggest concession we’ve made, and how much has it been in the media? It seems to me that every other industry was just a side issue, and that copyright was the big deal.

I do agree that harmonization of laws between major trading partners is a good thing, but harmonization means a lot more than just having the term of copyright be the same length, it means having the same tests for original work, and similar rights of fair use for consumers.

The thrust of the argument from DFAT seems to be that TPMs are there to stop piracy, not legitimate uses of material, and that we should all stop whining as they’ll take of these implementation issues over the next two years; basically it’s all very hazy and we’ll just have to wait and see.

On the patents issue, the hearing doesn’t see the FTA as changing patent laws at all. We’ll just have to see.

What really does worry me about all of this, is a bunch of non lawyer types debating massive changes to law.


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