EFF comments on TPP
Fri 13 Feb 2015, 04:40

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States' excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extreme DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP's Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.

Uber and Boston city agreement to provide data for better planning decisions
Sat 31 Jan 2015, 00:20

Earlier this month, Uber agreed to provide Boston city officials a wealth of ride data to help them make better planning decisions—but it will go to considerable lengths to ensure that data is not made public. The data, which includes anonymous pick-off and drop-off locations for each Uber ride, contains confidential commercial and financial information that prohibits the city from sharing it publicly, according to Uber’s agreement with the city. While citizens are often entitled access to public records, Uber and the city agreed that the data it provided contains trade secrets, which making it exempt from public disclosure under a a section of Massachusetts Public Records Law.

EU trade secrets bill prompts concern
Tue 24 Mar 2015, 10:40

NGOs and left-leaning MEPs have voiced concern that an EU bill on trade secrets could harm the public's access to information on matters of vital interest.

MEPs are trying to walk a fine line between business interests and civil liberties in a new bill on trade secrets. The directive is to unify member states’ legislation on how to protect business from illegal access and disclosure of secret information, for instance, on upcoming patents or innovative technologies.

Trade secrets could undermine fundamental rights
Fri 19 Jun 2015, 12:40

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee on Tuesday voted on draft legislative proposals on the protection of trade secrets. The European Commission states that its proposals were necessary because of the need to harmonise rules across the EU, without creating new intellectual property rights.

Despite the statements, Julia Reda believes that this new legislation would introduce substantial changes into European law, which currently does not protect trade secrets. While the member states have national legislation regarding the protection of trade secrets, their definition of what can be considered a trade secret is often much more narrow. The adoption of the European directive could therefore significantly broaden companies‘ abilities to keep certain information away from the public eye.

 

Brief overview on trade secret claims and social media privacy legislation
Thu 20 Aug 2015, 15:20

Since April 2012, a growing number of state legislatures in the United States have passed various forms of social media privacy legislation. This article touches upon the intersection between trade secret law and social media privacy legislation and provides a summary of several recent cases addressing trade secret claims involving social media issues.

New TPP leaked text reveals Countries' Weakening Resistance to Copyright Maximalist Proposals
Wed 5 Aug 2015, 20:40

Thanks to the publication of the leaked TPP document by Knowledge Ecology International there is more insight on the current state of play and why the most recent round of negotiations in Maui fell apart.

Countries are resisting U.S. negotiators' proposal to distort trade secrets law into a weapon against hackers, journalists, and whistleblowers. There are two new proposals in this leaked text, one of which the U.S. itself supports, to allow countries to adopt a narrow safe harbor for whistleblowers in respect of information that exposes a violation of the law. But this is far from enough. The safe harbor isn't compulsory and it doesn't apply to leaks of information that are of vital public interest, but that don't expose illegality—such as the TPP text itself.

Another important area of dissent from the U.S. negotiators' hard line appears in the Enforcement section of the IP chapter, in which every single country is now lined up against the U.S. in favor of a remedy for victims of wrongful copyright abuse. As in previous drafts, most countries remain opposed to a worrying U.S. proposal to limit the Internet retransmission of television broadcasts without the authorization of the rights holder of the broadcast content—and, tellingly, that of the rights holder of the broadcast signal itself.