RIAA Calls Trans-Pacific Partnership 'Critical to Sustaining America's Creative Sector'

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The RIAA has responded to the release of last month's Trans-Pacific Partnership bill, calling the agreement a step in the right direction in the battle against international copyright infringement and towards an open marketplace.

Yesterday, the Obama administration's U.S. Trade Representative released the full text of the 12-country TPP, a 30 chapter, 2,000-plus page agreement that largely addresses environmental, medical and international trade regulations between its member countries. But it's one chapter of the deal that caught the attention of the RIAA, which felt compelled to respond to its proposals regarding copyright and trademark protection despite the bill largely focusing on the pharmaceutical industry.

The United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam collaborated on the agreement -- announced October 5 after five years of negotiations -- which, in the section that the RIAA addressed, attempts to standardize copyright protections across the Pacific Rim region and extends copyright terms to 70 years after the author's death, an increase from the 50 years the U.S. had previously had on the books. Those protections largely focus on creating a codified civil and criminal response to digital copyright infringement of intellectual property, including songs and performances.

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That's what RIAA EVP of International Neil Turkewitz applauded in a new blog post yesterday on the TPP. "[M]arket distortions caused by inadequate legislation and enforcement have hampered the development of a thriving digital marketplace," Turkewitz writes, calling the partnership "critical to sustaining America's creative sector… While the TPP may not provide a precise roadmap for realizing the potential of Internet commerce, it certainly moves us in the right direction."

But the bill has its detractors as well, most pointedly the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has called for protests of the deal and other "secret" trade agreements in Washington, D.C. November 16 and 17. The EFF's concerns surround the bill's threat to online freedom and privacy, calling parts of the deal "dangerous" and "shocking" in a post published to its website Thursday.

A rep for the RIAA says that the organization has been tracking the agreement for a while, adding that they support stronger global copyright protections as a positive for the music community.

TPP still faces a long road towards becoming law, with a period of review ahead before the bill faces scrutiny in Congress. If it passes, President Obama will be able to sign the accord into law, a final step that all 12 countries still have ahead of them.