Friday 9 October 2015

TPP Tech

David Farrar summarises the great work NZ's IT community did in ensuring that the TPP deal was reasonable on IP. Sure, there are a few bits in there that are less than ideal - extending the duration of copyright on existing works is always absolutely nonsensical (as compared to extending it for new works, which is more debatable). But compared to the stuff that was giving me nightmares, this is pretty good.

Here's MFAT's IP summary. Key points for me:

  • The copyright extension won't pull works out of the public domain but will delay new accessions to the public domain for works currently under the 50-year protection;
  • The government will not criminalise uses that are currently legitimate;
  • The government will maintain exemptions from TPM provisions for things not infringing or where there's an existing exception: like breaking the region-code on a DVD; breaking TPM to reformat for the disabled; breaking TPM to reverse engineer things;
  • Current copyright exemption for temporary electronic copies is maintained (which could matter for some interpretations of geounblocking);
  • No major changes to ISP liability;
  • No changes to parallel importation.
And I'd elsewhere seen that NZ can maintain its position on software patents. 

I'd commented on TPP briefly on Radio Live earlier in the week. Talkback callers were up in arms that NZ might lose some of its current protections against that foreigners might buy things here. I noted that while it would be desirable to be rid of the overseas investment restrictions, arrangements like that were explicitly carved out of the deal:
Existing regulations inconsistent with TPP obligations are carved out of the agreement. New Zealand will therefore continue to screen foreign purchases of sensitive land, including farmland, through the Overseas Investment Office and require that these meet a “benefit to New Zealand” test. 
Labour seems mad that they'd be blocked from banning foreign purchasers from buying existing houses; hard to take seriously claims that they'd pull out of the TPP over it though.

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