This past week trade representatives held a new round of TPP negotiations in San Diego (the last round was held in Dallas). In the past, Internet advocacy groups have had to rely on leaked documents instead of engaging the public and civil society groups, so it was good to hear that both EFF and Public Knowledge were again invited to the talks as stakeholders. They seem to have attracted some attention from trade representatives during the San Diego round.
There was a tabling event in which civil society groups could sign up for a table and hope to attract the attention of trade representatives. Then there was the more formal stakeholder presentations. The problem, according to Public Knowledge’s Jodie Griffin, was that both forums were held at the same time, and many groups had to choose to attend one or the other.
“These kind of administrative frustrations seem small and are probably not due to any ill will or apathy on the USTR’s part, but they can still have a big impact for civil society groups that have a very limited opportunity to speak to a broad group of negotiators at once on issues that are crucial to the future of innovation and cultural expression,” said Griffin.
“The big copyright news from this round was that the U.S. publicly announced a new limitations and exceptions proposal consistent with, but apparently different from a standard used in previous free trade agreements and treaties (called the “three-step test”),” said Griffin. “The U.S. did not, however, release the text of this new proposal for public review and discourse.”