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Copyright Standard Setting in the Trans-pacific Partnership: A Comparative Analysis

Institutions
International Relations
Political Economy
Trade
Madison Cartwright
University of Sydney
Madison Cartwright
University of Sydney

Abstract

In 2015 the United States (US) was among 12 nations that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large multilateral trade agreement established outside of the World Trade Organisation that furthers international economic standards beyond those in existing multinational agreements. This includes the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which failed, in part, due to backlash against its standards in intellectual property which were perceived to be too strict and too biased to the interests of intellectual property rights (IPR) holders. In light of this, and in light of the European Union’s publicly stated opposition to ACTA-like standards, it is likely that the current Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the EU and the US will not exceed the standards included in the TPP. As a result the standard in the TPP, which includes countries representing approximately 40% of the world’s GDP, will be unique internationally. This paper will analyse the copyright provisions of the TPP as well as the preferences of the US throughout the negotiations and how they compare to existing multilateral standards. It will also consider how these preferences align with the US own domestic laws on copyright and the preferences of local industries, specifically the content producing industries and the internet industries. Drawing on institutional and realist literature the paper will then consider how the TPP can be understood in the broader geo-economic make-up of the international economy. Thus the TPP may be seen as an attempt by the US to break the deadlock of the Doha Round, to undermine the opposing preferences of the European Union in other multilateral forums, and an attempt to balance against the regional influence of China. This is done in an attempt to rewrite international standards to benefit the US and its local commercial interests.