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Australian Government rushes to be the first lemming off the copyright cliff

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 7 Aug 2012

The Federal Government is hell-bent on a second attempt to lock Australia into a dead-end copyright treaty, Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam warned today.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, if the USA gets its way, will cause huge problems for Australians, but our Federal Government is backing Washington to the hilt.

"Not content with supporting the ill-fated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would endanger the legal status of generic medicines and was overwhelmingly rejected by the European Parliament, the Trade Minister is now pushing for an Agreement that offers no protection for copyright exceptions enshrined in Australian law.

"ACTA was an absolute dud, and the Government wanted to jump on board before the Australian Law Reform Commission's inquiry had even warmed up.

"Now, information on the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement revealed over the weekend show the US and Australia want to defeat a proposed clause protecting domestic intellectual property laws.

"New Zealand, with the support of Chile, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, proposed this clause to permit a signatory to ‘carry forward and appropriately extend into the digital environment limitations and exceptions in its domestic laws'. Only the United States and our own government oppose this perfectly reasonable provision. Why is the Government promoting the erosion of our independence in this way?

"There are two inquiries currently underway into the future of Australian copyright laws in the digital age. Shackling our intellectual property laws to a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement dominated by the United States would render them virtually worthless. The Australian Greens urge the Government to back New Zealand's proposed protection for independence and to reject any Agreement that puts the civil liberty and welfare of Australians at risk."

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