US backs strict intellectual-property rules in trade pact

Critics have warned that users who download content illegally could face stiff penalties if US proposals on intellectual property are adopted in the Transpacific Partnership Agreement

Copyright interest groups have expressed fears over US plans to introduce strict intellectual-property provisions in the Transpacific Partnership Agreement, which is under discussion in Singapore.

Critics have warned the agreement could see users automatically fined thousands for illegally downloading content if the US succeeds in introducing the measures. Mandatory statutory damages for copyright infringement is just one measure contained in leaked US government proposals for the intellectual property chapter of the agreement. The pact is meant to boost economic integration between the US, Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia.

According to the leaked documents, the US government's ideal intellectual-property protections for the agreement also include stronger "digital locks" for copyrighted works, criminalising recording in cinemas and extending parallel import bans on copyrighted goods to consumers. The US previously failed to implement these strict intellectual property provisions in the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (Acta).

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see US trade plans to make Oz 'pirate martyrs' on ZDNet Australia.

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