TPP’s copyright rules would promote Internet censorship, MP claims

Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli noted that according to the controversial free trade treaty, ISPs are not liable if they wrongly take down content that does not infringe copyright law. ― File pic
Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli noted that according to the controversial free trade treaty, ISPs are not liable if they wrongly take down content that does not infringe copyright law. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) favours corporate interests over Internet users’ rights as it empowers Internet service providers (ISPs) to proactively remove online content deemed as copyrighted material, a lawmaker claimed today.

Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli from Amanah also noted that according to the controversial free trade treaty, ISPs are not liable if they wrongly take down content that does not infringe copyright law.

“This would mean that providers could take down Internet content without any sort of repercussions, allowing for potentially widespread internet censorship,” Hatta said in a statement at the Parliament lobby here.

“The TPP has rewritten the rules of the Internet, its provisions negotiated behind closed doors, and completely to the advantage of corporations,” the opposition MP added.

He said ISPs will play the role of “internet police”, according to the TPP’s Chapter 18, Article 18.82.

“Here’s how: the TPPA provision requires Malaysia to provide legal incentives for ISPs to expeditiously remove content deemed as copyrighted material.

“Under current Malaysian copyright law, ISPs are not required to remove or disable access to the infringing material unless they receive notification from copyright owners,” the opposition MP said, citing Section 43E of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012.

The lawmaker also noted that the TPP extends the duration of copyright protection from the current 50 years after the creator’s death, based on Malaysian law, to 70 years.

“The provision would prevent creators and artists from accessing, remixing, or recreating existing material for an unnecessarily long period of time. This only benefits large American entertainment companies who will receive a windfall in royalties from consumers for an additional 20 years,” he added.

The TPP, a free trade treaty involving a dozen Pacific nations including Malaysia, is expected to be tabled in Parliament in January for a debate.