Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: TPP, eh?

216 Responses

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  • Russell Brown,

    We have to give way on copyright rules, but for me I don’t see that as a huge deal as it only affects works that are between 50 and 70 years old. Right now it’s Elvis and early Hitchcock. Meh.

    There's a bit more up in the air than that. From the government's notes:

    Apart from these two changes, TPP does not affect what is or isn’t subject to
    copyright. New Zealand will maintain its current copyright exceptions and will not
    be prohibited from adopting new ones in the future. In addition, New Zealand will
    not be prevented from undertaking a review of its copyright laws.

    New Zealand has, however, agreed to extend its existing laws on technological
    protection measures (TPMs), which control access to digital content like music,
    TV programmes, films and software. Circumventing TPMs will be prohibited but
    exceptions will apply to ensure that people can still circumvent them where there
    is no copyright issue (for example, playing region-coded DVDs purchased from
    overseas) or where there is an existing copyright exception (for example,
    converting a book to braille).

    It's not yet clear whether using a VPN to watch geoblocked video counts as circumventing a TPM, or whether it's more like parallel importing. The notes say "there is no copyright issue" in playing a DVD coded for another region, but also talk about TPMs "controlling access", which would be a shift in the philosophy of our copyright law, which holds that its purpose it to govern copying rather than access.

    We get to keep our current exceptions on circumventing TPMs for permitted uses, but it's not quite clear whether new exceptions will be permitted.

    It's a real shame the blunt instrument of a 70-year term has got through – for every work that will keep earning longer, there will be another hundred not earning, not being exploited, but nonetheless locked away from the public. This is bad for culture.

    But still, the IP chapter could have been a lot worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    One bouquet here is that tobacco companies have been specifically shut out of the new ISDS rights, meaning we can now safely move to impose plain packaging on cigarettes. (They’d better get on with that now.)

    Not so.

    There is a challenge to Australia's plain packaging measure presently before the WTO - if this wins, then NZ would be equally liable under our WTO obligations.

    By the same token, Philip Morris' challenge against Australia under its BIT with Hong Kong is still in play. If that wins, NZ potentially could be proceeded against under the ISDS provisions in one of our other FTA's with Asian nations.

    All excluding tobacco from the TPPA does is stop US tobacco companies directly bringing proceedings under that instrument. There's still other potential fishhooks out there that will keep plain packaging off the books for another year.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    So we effectively imported the Mickey Mouse Copyright Act. Could have been worse though.

    It also goes to show that Big Farming within the G8 is more powerful than their nations' upper houses. Even those of a 'free market' persuasion are too wimpish (or hypocritical) to challenge them.

    What I find most bizarre is that US farmers, who have this image of being freedom lovers with a loathing for pinko-socialist bureaucrats in Washington, accept handouts from the state. It seems so . . . un-American! Aren't they embarrassed?

    When the Business Roundtable was in its prime it used to bring out zealous American academics that were so right wing they made Ayn Rand look like a raving Marxist. They lectured New Zealand on the benefits of the free market and getting government out of our lives.

    I used to like interviewing them as I would always ask them what they thought of the billions of dollars of government handouts doled out to US farmers. They would smile nervously and say of course they didn't agree with them but it was all politics and nothing much could be done about it. What hypocrites! I always felt they would have been more useful staying home and preaching to their own politicians and farmers.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    there will be another hundred not earning, not being exploited, but nonetheless locked away from the public

    I’m struggling to find concrete information, but has anyone seen any word on if and how this might affect services like Papers Past? That’s an example of a hugely useful resource for easily searching, browsing, re-discovering and referencing our own history. It's also a good example of the benefits of copyrighted material returning to the public domain. Yet the National Library already doesn’t provide material more recent than the 1940s “because of copyright restrictions”.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    Yet the National Library already doesn’t provide material more recent than the 1940s “because of copyright restrictions”.

    That's a very interesting point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, The Nation thinks US Congressional approval is far from a done deal. Interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond,

    @Russell: Certainly you're right the IP chapter deserves close scrutiny. I'd have thought, though, that anything hugely draconian like everyone adopting US patent law or 3-strikes for VPNs would have leached out today. Hard to see all 12 countries wanting to keep that a secret now.

    @Andrew: Well, that's stink news to hear! I, of course, bow to your superior expertise on this stuff.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    "We have to give way on copyright rules, but for me I don’t see that as a huge deal as it only affects works that are between 50 and 70 years old. Right now it’s Elvis and early Hitchcock. Meh."

    Matters a bit to NZ musicians or master owners that were looking at losing rights to recordings they own or control dating from the mid-60s on.

    I wonder what happens to those whose rights have lapsed, or who fall into a gap between, say, a 2005 expiry and when this gets passed.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    One interesting consequence of this might be a shift is the current governments favouritism of all things dairy. The TPPA does remove tariffs on horticultural exports and manufactured goods. The later is always an unlikely winner for NZ but we can and do grow plants well in NZ and perhaps the government might see the possibility of supporting growth in horticulture.

    I am of course thinking wishfully, it is pretty clear from Minister Joyce's comments of late that the only investments the govt is keen on are those that pay off in less than one electoral term and plants take too much time to grow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Martin Brown,

    Matters a bit to NZ musicians or master owners that were looking at losing rights to recordings they own or control dating from the mid-60s on.

    Not for the musicians/composers. Copyright in musical works currently extends 50 years from the death of the author. And now it'll be 70 years. So the copyright in, say, Graham Brazier's works will expire in 2085.

    For master recording owners – typically record labels and producers – I have a bit less sympathy. Half a century is a good long time to have exclusive control of a recording that probably cost you very little to acquire.

    Even the current term is locking up a lot of music that no owner claims or wishes to exploit. There are public good arguments here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Big Biotech isn't happy, which is presumably a good sign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Big Biotech isn’t happy, which is presumably a good sign.

    I'm nervous about the details. The requirement for a register of what Pharmac doesn't pick and why is suspicious. We could be looking at pharma/biotech companies legally challenging Pharmac over its decisions - which Pharmac simply does not have the money to fight.

    That said we all need to thank Australia for fighting the battle over drugs that Grosser neither cared about nor had the clout to win.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Is copyright meant to be purely about incentive to create? If so, what's the argument for extending the term retrospectively for already-created works?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    We could be looking at pharma/biotech companies legally challenging Pharmac over its decisions - which Pharmac simply does not have the money to fight.

    Which is exactly why pharma have been pushing hard for these 'transparency' provisions. Love to see govt's modelling of the cost impacts (if they ever deign to release those). Glad to see at least some backdown on biologics.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I am of course thinking wishfully, it is pretty clear from Minister Joyce’s comments of late that the only investments the govt is keen on are those that pay off in less than one electoral term and plants take too much time to grow.

    In other words, "dumb economy" sectors like oil, agriculture, mining, tourism, FIRE, property bubbles, casinos (which combines the last 3)...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Martin Brown,

    I wonder what happens to those whose rights have lapsed, or who fall into a gap between, say, a 2005 expiry and when this gets passed.

    The advice I’ve been given by the recording industry is that it does not push items back into copyright if these have already lapsed. In other words the first 4 Beatles albums stay in Public Domain in NZ.

    That’s certainly what happened in the EU – thus all those rather great soul and jazz comps in the marketplace these days.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That said we all need to thank Australia for fighting the battle over drugs that Grosser neither cared about nor had the clout to win.

    That's certainly how it looks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Can't help but think of ..

    .

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    the drug companies got very little

    You think? What news on patent extensions and linkages and other extending rules on non-biotech drugs. Seems to me the focus on biotech is a bait and switch. Hope I'm wrong.

    TPMs are a bastard for consumers and tech companies alike. More on that here:
    http://nzrise.org.nz/assets/NZRiseTPPExplanatoryNote.pdf

    The ratcheting up of IP protectionism locks in nasty regimes forever. We should be reducing copyright and patent terms and decriminalising consumer infringement. The situation now is that we are all breaking the law according to some corporate somewhere in the world.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That’s certainly how it looks.

    Then again, who the hell knows? That's the problem with playing cute -- you don't get to turn around and pretend to be shocked when wild surmise and self-serving leaks fill the hole. I don't think trade agreements are intrinsically evil (which strikes me as a fair characterization of elements on both the left and right), but I'm not the only one in that mushy middle who's being asked to take waaay to much on trust.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Don Christie,

    This is an interesting perspective;

    We've been told repeatedly that the increase in the cost of medicines won't be dramatic. Quite right - the extra costs from prolonging monopoly rights will be like watching a tree grow; it's slow but gets bigger all the time.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11524614

    Does anyone else get the feeling that National don't just ignore, but actually despise future generations?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Can’t help but think of ... <Pineapple Lumps©>

    ... definitely looked like a bit of an unseemly
    TPPA 'lolly scramble' at the end there...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Then again, who the hell knows? That's the problem with playing cute -- you don't get to turn around and pretend to be shocked when wild surmise and self-serving leaks fill the hole.

    I wouldn't even call the leaks self-serving. Public advocacy would have been almost impossible without insight into exactly what was being proposed. I think they had a beneficial impact on the outcome.

    And apart from anything else, the leaks also actually showed that our officials were taking a pretty strong line on the IP chapter, which was good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    It does worry me that some foreign corporation can buy land here, totally destroy it, declare bankruptcy and never have to fix up (if they could) what they have destroyed.

    It's a way for foreign countries to destroy us from within - destroy our ability to feed ourselves and ruin our ability to use that land economically. We have given away too much control.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Without TPM restrictions, it is much easier to tell if manufacture software is lying to you (like VW)

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

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