Peruvians To President: Our Digital Rights Are Non-Negotiable

The original version of this post was published on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Katitza Rodriguez is the International Rights Director for EFF and a contributor to Global Voices Advocacy. She is Peruvian, and has spent the last few weeks in Lima working with her fellow citizens to draw attention to TPP's flaws.

For years, music, film and other content industries in the US have been lobbying, in national law or within trade agreements, for overreaching rules that would break the Internet in the name of copyright enforcement. Lately, such proposals range from termination of users’ account on the mere allegation of copyright infringement to enacting censorship powers that would make parts of the global Internet disappear from view. Proposed policies could also introduce digital locks laws that stifle online innovation and restrict the ability to use lawfully-acquired digital content.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is the latest forum where these overreaching standards are being laundered. The TPP is a secretive treaty that includes a set of intellectual property rules that target the Internet. The 17th round of negotiations over TPP starts next week in Lima, Peru. Up for debate are the provisions dealing with intellectual property – including online copyright enforcement, DMCA-style digital locks, and Internet intermediary liability.

One of the major concerns about TPP is its capacity to rewrite global rules on intellectual property enforcement. All signatory countries will be required to match their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the TPP. Future changes to those laws may involve re-negotiating the treaty. In Peru, this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of Peruvian copyright law and restrict the ability of the Peruvian Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs and realities of Peruvian citizens and their growing technology sector.

This is why a well-known network of Peruvian NGOs, including RedGE and Hiperderecho, have launched a campaign asking President Ollanta Humala Tasso to set clear, non-negotiable limitations to ensure that Peruvians’ fundamental rights in the TPP are respected.

The campaign asks President Humala to:

  • Not accept new conditions in the treaty's intellectual property chapter that hinder or make more expensive our access to medicines and medical treatment.
  • Not accept conditions on the intellectual property chapter that jeopardize the Internet, our freedom of speech or our ability to do research or innovate using art and technology.
  • In the investment chapter, to include the necessary safeguards to ensure the state's ability to enforce national laws, especially on issues of public health and environment.

Miguel Morachimo, Hiperderecho's executive director, is urging other Peruvians to sign the petition:

Would you remain silent if someone is discussing the way you work, create or express yourself? The TPP may change the way we as consumers and professionals interact with cultural goods and technology. But we can stop it if we speak. We invite you to join us in this petition asking the peruvian government to express clear non negotiable lines in this treaty. We won't make it without your voice.

Any changes to the conditions governing limitations on Internet intermediary liability could have a significant and detrimental impact on Internet users’ ability to seek, receive and impart information, and could harm the Internet's end-to-end architecture. How TPP countries approach these issues can determine the future of the global Internet.

If you are Peruvian and think that the President should set clear,non-negotiable limits on the TPP, consider joining the online petition in Peru by signing here If you live outside Peru, but want to help with the Peruvian campaign, please get the word out about the campaign in blogs, and on Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtags #yaratpp and #notpp).

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