LAST WEEK marked a busy time for the Federal Government in respect of committing to major international treaties, both in the realm of free trade and copyright.
It was announced immediately before ANZAC day that the first round of negotiations on an Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) had been successfully executed in Canberra.
“Officials agreed on an overall approach to the negotiations and started negotiation on two key elements of an FTA — intellectual property and government procurement.” federal Minister for Trade, Warren Truss said.
“Australia and Japan have agreed negotiating rounds will be held every two to three months and cover a comprehensive list of issues including goods, agriculture, services and investment as well as issues such as e-commerce, movement of natural persons and competition.”
Formalising an FTA with the nation’s largest trading partner would further strengthen a relationship that is vital to the Australian economy, Truss said.
The next round of negotiations will occur in Japan at the end of July of this year.
The day following ANZAC day, also know as World Intellectual Property Day, saw the Government sign two treaties concerned with the protection of material under copyright.
The treaties — the World Intellectual Property Organisation Copyright Treaty and the World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty — known collectively as the WIPO Internet Treaties, are to be acceded to in Geneva.
“Australia’s move to join the WIPO Internet Treaties reinforces international cooperation and promotes effective protection of copyright in the online environment,” Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.
“In the spirit of this year’s theme for World IP Day, ‘Encouraging Creativity’, Australia is proud to join the WIPO Internet Treaties.
“Creativity is encouraged by an effective copyright regime, especially in the online environment,” Ruddock said.
“Consumers also benefit from online copyright protection because creators will make more material available online if it is protected from pirates.”
Both treaties aim to protect sound recordings, performances fixed in sound, copyright works and recordings within the online environment, the Attorney-General said.
According to Ruddock, Australia was one of the first countries to implement the treaties, with digital agenda reforms made to the Copyright Act in 2000.