What Is TPP? Biggest Global Threat to the Internet Since ACTA

Below is our infographic highlighting the most problematic aspects of TPP. Please spread the word about how this agreement will impact you and your country. Right-click and save the image for the PNG file, or you can download the PDF version below. Remix it, build upon it, and get the word out. Let's protect and defend the Internet from this secret trade deal.

The United States and ten governments from around the Pacific are meeting yet again to hash out the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) on May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA. Since the negotiations have been secretive from the beginning, we mainly know what's in the current version of this trade agreement because of a leaked draft [PDF] from February 2011. Based upon that text, some other leaked notes, and the undemocratic nature of the entire process, we have every reason to be alarmed about the copyright enforcement provisions contained in this multinational trade deal.

The TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of U.S. copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a broad ban on breaking digital locks on devices and creative works (even for legal purposes), a minimum copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the current international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement. Moreover, the TPP is worse than U.S. copyright rules: it does not export the many balances and exceptions that favor the public interest and act as safety valves in limiting rightsholders’ protection. Adding insult to injury, the TPP's temporary copies provision will likely create chilling effects on how people and companies behave online and their basic ability to use and create on the Web.

The stated goal of the TPP is to unite the Pacific Rim countries by harmonizing tariffs and trade rules between them, but in reality, it's much more than that. The "intellectual property" chapter in this massive trade agreement will likely force changes to copyright and patent rules in each of the signatory countries. Accepting these new rules will not just re-write national laws, but will also restrict the possibility for countries to introduce more balanced copyright laws in the future. This strategy may end up harming other countries' more proportionate laws such as Chile, where a judicial order is required for ISPs to be held liable for copyright infringement and take down content. Such systems better protect users and intermediaries from disproportionate or censorship-driven takedowns. If the final TPP text forces countries to adopt a privatized notice and takedown regime, this could imply the end of the Chilean system. It would also undermine canada's notice and notice regime.

The content industry can and will continue to buy and lie to get their way to get laws that protects their interests, and what they want more than anything is for us to remain passively ignorant. They did it with SOPA, ACTA, and now it's TPP [ESP]. It's going to be a challenge to defeat these policies, but we can do it. The TPP is slated for conclusion this October, but our goal is to get the worst of these copyright provisions out of it. The way to fight back is to show that we will not put up with this: to demand an open transparent process that allows everyone, including experts from civil society members, to analyze, question, and probe any initiatives to regulate the Internet. The secrecy must be stopped once and for all.

Take this action and join over 26,000 people to send a message to your elected representatives. Let's call on Congress to demand for the immediate release of the text of the TPP, and make this process become democratic and transparent once and for all.

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(Not in the US? Go here.)

Below is our infographic highlighting the most problematic aspects of TPP. Please spread the word about how this agreement will impact you and your country. Right-click and save the image for the PNG file, or you can download the PDF version below. Remix it, build upon it, and get the word out. Let's protect and defend the Internet from this secret trade deal.

Reproduced with kind permission from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Replies to This Discussion

charlie foxtrot...over

I think some copyright distinctions need to be made. For example, a pharmaceutical invention that benefits mankind should have a relatively short copyright duration so that generics can be made available more quickly. 

On the other hand, I've never understood why artistic creations should have any termination date at all. If I build a house, I can pass it along to my children, they to theirs, and on and on in perpetuity. Why then, if I write a novel that becomes a classic, must it pass into public domain after a certain number of years?

Would you have the family of Isaac Newton to still have a copyright on Newton's Laws?  Lincoln's descendents still to have a copyright on the Gettysburg Address?

The purpose of copyright and trademark protection is to encourage creativity by appropriately compensating creators, not to establish family dynasties with a monopoly on ideas.

I would exempt scientific discoveries from eternal copyright just as I said I would medical discoveries, drugs, etc.

I don't see what harm would be done by an eternal copyright on the Gettysburg Address, considering the fair uses which already exist. But as a government document, I think it wouldn't be copyrightable anyway.

Why SHOULDN'T my heirs benefit from the value I created when I wrote a classic novel? How is it different from passing real property along?

Copyright establishes control over making copies. Nobody can control an idea.

How does giving me perpetual copyright to an artistic work impede the creativity of other artists? And if the public wants to benefit from my work, what's wrong with buying it?

Using the same sort of dumb logic, if I build a family home why shouldn't it after a certain number of years be taken away and become public property?

How does giving me perpetual copyright to an artistic work impede the creativity of other artists?

Perpetual copyright does not exist, so that makes it rather difficult for you to claim anyone is decrying its impact on artistic creativity. Maybe so, maybe not. But who said it does?

Of course it doesn't exist, which is why I'm asking why it Shouldn't. Maybe you just didn't understand what I was asking

Back to my question, then, which was why does this have to end and why shouldn't it be treated like other property which I can pass along to my heirs and they to theirs?

Patents and copyrights are government-sanctioned monopolies. The public benefits in that inventors and authors have a profit motive to create useful stuff. Remove the profit motive and it harms "scientific and useful artistic progress". But it also benefits the public in that these monopolies are temporary. I presume no explanation is necessary as to why permanent monopolies are harmful to the public interest in a free market society.

I don't give a shit about industrial copyrights and patents. I'm only concerned with artistic works. I can see that the public benefit outweighs the disadvantages to the copyright/patent holders when it comes to useful developments and inventions. I don't see the same cost/benefit when it comes to novels, poems, paintings, and musical works.

Using the same sort of dumb logic, if I build a family home why shouldn't it after a certain number of years be taken away and become public property?

What makes you think it can't be taken away already? Your home can be seized for public use or even for private use right now. There isn't even any need for the government to wait a certain number of years. All it takes is for someone with enough power to declare that it's in the public interest. Then it's gone.

Yes, I'm quite aware of eminent domain, but the law generally requires a fair compensation for the seizure of such property, and I don't see a need for seizing novels, poems, paintings, and musical works.

You think it's a non-starter? Even with the huge corporate interests you refer to on my side? I don't get it.

I think some distinction needs to be made between between private citizens who create works and corporate interests who don't really create work themselves. I think the distinction could be that once the original artists transfers ownership, the work goes into a different category which has a "use by" date.

Libraries and academic institutions already enjoy liberties unavailable otherwise. There's no need to grab a poem by eminent domain in order for a library to house it.

you said " I presume no explanation is necessary as to why permanent monopolies are harmful to the public interest in a free market society"

I'd like an explanation. This seems like one of those things assumed to be obvious but that people rarely think about it in depth or empirically. 

Are there any examples of a permanent monopoly causing problems in a free market society, or is everything for prevention of something we don't even know is bad? 

OPINION-PRERESPONSE::

Frankly, a permanent monopoly seems to make a lot of sense to me. Science is already hurting SO much, and inventions are rare and most copyrights now are for useless things.

If someone has a copyright monopoly, and their product becomes obsolete because someone ELSE made a better product, then who cares if it's an eternal copyright? Shouldn't the minds that created society as we know it have benefits that go to their children, considering that a brilliant mind RAISED the child? 

Unseen, both WRONG and deceptive!!!!

Copyright establishes control over MORE THAN making copies; it establishes control over the manner of expression of ideas. The word EXPRESSION is key.

As to your heirs, have you actually created a work that can make them lifelong couch potatoes, or are you running off at the keyboard?

You are indeed using dumb logic. You're also DEMAGOGUING; neither your house NOR ITS DESIGN will become public property.

Here's a very amusing and informative look at copyright law from the point of view of someone who is just trying to put together a short documentary.  It's put together by the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

http://www.thepublicdomain.org/comic/

I tried to upload the comic directly but it's just a bit too large.

I might want my kids to profit from my work with the help of copyright. But extending ownership of intellectual property beyond a generation (or two) will not impede the vast majority of people from creating significant works. By far, the largest profiteers of long-term copyright are large corporations, not the original creators.

There's a point where long-term rights discourages creativity. How can people create new works and expect to be paid for them when their potential market is perpetually run or flooded by big corporations? Independent artists are locked out of making profit, unless they are lucky enough or already large enough to affiliate with a corporation. TPP would bump up the profitability of largess to international levels, keeping little guys down.

The rationale for terminating copyright throws the small artist under the bus in order to punish large corporations. We need a better system that makes some rational distinctions.

Here's something to think about: Some creations, such as drugs or technical inventions owned by corporations are almost always superseded by drugs or inventions of competing companies. In some cases, the world would benefit from their copyright running out so that new products can be based on those drugs and inventions.

It's hard to apply the same sort of logic to an artist's work product. We expect artists to be original and not to, for example, revise Harry Potter to make it "better." And if someone did want to do that, why shouldn't they have to get permission from J.K. Rowling? What's the big deal?

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