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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This is a massive pile of bullcrap.

That you don't care to follow the development in the TPP tells me that you are reading tabloids. Trade policy is boring, thus few headlines, but powerful, thus conspiracy theories. It's hardly done in secret, good newspapers report on it steadily. 

That the US is pushing stricter IP laws, and especially enforcement, is hardly surprising. If you were really against IP rights you would make T|A wholly publicly run, at least make everybody here a moderator. That's not to say that the US IP laws are products of reason, but then again, what US made anything is?

Fast tracking a deal which is expected to grow total US GDP by 1-3% every year from interventionist congressmen is hardly surprising. It's easy to point out who the losers will be, the winners are yet to be decided. 

Though your nationalist propaganda is cute and all, it's still nationalism and propaganda. And that's just not pretty.

 

This is a massive pile of bullcrap.

Thanks for the warning, Arcus. I did find your post to be exactly that.

That you don't care to follow the development in the TPP tells me that you are reading tabloids. Trade policy is boring, thus few headlines, but powerful, thus conspiracy theories. It's hardly done in secret, good newspapers report on it steadily. 

The TTP negotiation sessions are carried out in secret. This is why 30 law school professors from the participating countries wrote to the US ambassador asking him to end the secrecy and make the negotiations transparent.

This is why US Senator Ron Wyden read the following statement upon introducing a bill to the US Senate that would make such negotiations transparent:

"It may be the U.S. Trade Representative’s, USTR, current job to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the United States, but Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress—not the USTR or any other member of the Executive Branch—the responsibility of regulating foreign commerce. It was our Founding Fathers’ intention to ensure that the laws and policies that govern the American people take into account the interests of all the American people, not just a privileged few. Yet, the majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations-- like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. As the Office of the USTR will tell you, the President gives it broad power to keep information about the trade policies it advances and negotiates, secret. Let me tell you, the USTR is making full use of this authority."

You might want to actually read those newspapers, Arcus.

That the US is pushing stricter IP laws, and especially enforcement, is hardly surprising.

Corporate interests are pushing for TPP and they are NOT the United States. The super-rich who own the corporations are always pushing for more wealth for themselves and more power over the rest of us. The surprise is how many boot-lickers cheer them on while they do it.

If you were really against IP rights...

Morgan Mathew isn't against Intellectual Property rights. The OP says absolutely nothing of the kind.

you would make T|A wholly publicly run, at least make everybody here a moderator.

Right.

Fast tracking a deal which is expected

By whom?

to grow total US GDP by 1-3% every year from interventionist congressmen is hardly surprising. It's easy to point out who the losers will be, the winners are yet to be decided. 

The losers are easy to point out because they're provided above; free speech, privacy, innovation, parody, satire, commentary, education, open debate in Congress, and the public domain, among others.

The winners harder to identify because they're sitting at the TPP negotiating table behind locked doors, but some of them are; the MPAA, Commcast, Chevron, Haliburton, and the list goes on.

Bring on the interventionist Congressmen. I want those two roles reversed.

Though your nationalist propaganda is cute and all, it's still nationalism and propaganda. And that's just not pretty.

You use the word propaganda as though it suggests something dishonest is at work in the OP: a sort of Fox "News" approach to spreading misinformation either by omitting important truths or flat out lying. What in the OP is misinforming the TA community about TPP? Be specific.

Of course negotiations are secret, diplomacy is almost always done such. That's hardly a surprise and hardly a reason for conspiracy theories. International negotiations are difficult and secrecy is essential such that positions, strategies and stratagems are not divulged. However, there's always a running update on points of contention and agreements. There's lots written about the TPP in quality media, such as The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and National Interest. And lest I forget, in scholarly journals. By comparison, how many articles have you read about the secret Sino-Indian negotiations..?

The OP links to an extremely one-sided poster on IP, yet hardly relinquishes the IP for his own site. That's hubris. And while I do find many of the current IP laws onerous and out of date, they certainly are not just pushed by "evil corporations" and IP laws are required for a smoothly functioning economy. It's hardly surprising that the US wants stronger IP protection as this is completely disregarded in most of SE Asia and China, which makes the US economy lose billions every year and thereby robbing the US government of much required tax income.

The TPP is eagerly awaited by many countries. The Doha round of the WTO negotiations broke down many years ago, and the world in general needs more free trade, especially the struggling economies of the west.  

I won't go into your quasi-conspiratorial rant about corporations, suffice to say that neither the EU nor the NAFTA has been the death knell to any kind of rights. 

That's the thing about conspiracy theories and propaganda, it's a massive undertaking to disprove and just not worth the time and effort. And how would I go about disproving a value statement such as "The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA" in any event? 

I see you've gone from:

[The TPP negotiations are] hardly done in secret,

to

Of course [the TPP] negotiations are secret

Well, which is it?

diplomacy is almost always done such.

Are you saying the TPP secrecy is obvious and routine or are you denying it as complete bullcrap? So far you've done both.

That's hardly a surprise and hardly a reason for conspiracy theories.

The secrecy is not the reason TPP is a threat to the public interest. The source of the threat was stated in the leaked TPP documents, which were examined by (among others) a panel of legal thirty legal experts from the participating TPP countries. Remember those guys and their letter from the link I posted above (and now again)?

No "theories" about what TPP does are necessary. The leaked documents state exactly what TTP does. Read the letter at that link. TTP is "manifestly unbalanced—it predominantly proposes increases in proprietor rights, with no effort to expand the limitations and exceptions to such rights that are needed in the U.S. and abroad to serve the public interest."

Increasing proprietary rights with NO regard for public rights. That's not wild speculation. That's TTP.

By comparison, how many articles have you read about the secret Sino-Indian negotiations..?

You'd have to name a specific act of Congress or proposal for me to give an estimate on how many articles I've read about any given one, but on the subject of electronic commerce in general it's at least a few thousand collectively. I did a number of literature reviews on DMCA, CDA, TPP, DRM, and various related topics as a graduate student and continue to follow them with great interest today.

The OP links to an extremely one-sided poster on IP, yet hardly relinquishes the IP for his own site. That's hubris.

No, that's a weak vocabulary on your part. Hubris means pride. But even if it meant hypocrisy, your statement above is still a non sequitur.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has the stated mission: "preserve, protect and extend First Amendment rights within the realm of computing and telecommunications technology." 

So where does your conclusion (relinquish the IP of the TA site) follow your premise (linking to an organization with one-sided dedication to protecting 1st Amendment rights online)?

And while I do find many of the current IP laws onerous and out of date, they certainly are not just pushed by "evil corporations"

I didn't say they were. I said TPP is pushed by "corporate interests" and it is.

and IP laws are required for a smoothly functioning economy.

Agreed. Limitations on those laws are required for smoothly functioning civil liberties. And TPP has none.

It's hardly surprising that the US wants stronger IP protection as this is completely disregarded in most of SE Asia and China, which makes the US economy lose billions every year and thereby robbing the US government of much required tax income.

China is not part of TPP. Even if it was there is nothing stopping them from making a version of TPP that includes the same limitations that protect the civil liberties we have now. And fuck private corporations enforcing the law themselves, here in the US or anywhere else.

I won't go into your quasi-conspiratorial rant about corporations, suffice to say that neither the EU nor the NAFTA has been the death knell to any kind of rights. 

What quasi-conspiratorial rant was that, Arcus? I wrote about the super-rich who own large corporations and who serve their own interests. Are you suggesting this is not true? How charmingly naive. And where did I write a single word about NAFTA or the EU?

That's the thing about conspiracy theories and propaganda, it's a massive undertaking to disprove and just not worth the time and effort. And how would I go about disproving a value statement such as "The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA" in any event?

You would have to prove the leaked documents are fakes, or that TPP does not do what the leaked documents say it does, or that the 30 law school professors are incorrect when they conclude TPP expands proprietor rights with no effort to protect the public interest. Of course doing any of that would require actually reading the leaked documents and the letter.

This is a massive pile of bullcrap.

Thanks for the warning, Arcus. I did find your post to be exactly that.

LOL.  Oh, the hazards of vague referent pronouns!

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

'Perpetual copyright' does not exist. Even if TPP becomes the law it still won't exist since TPP is not proposing it. (Not that 'Publication plus 120 years' wouldn't feel like a perpetual copyright.)

So it's not a matter of perception where I think it's a non-starter as a legal issue. As a practical reality it IS a non-starter.

My 'why' question for you remains. Why would you WANT to create perpetual copyright?

Jules Verne wrote 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' and '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' in the mid-to-late-1800s. How do you figure his great-great-great-great grandchildren are entitled to benefit from their ancestor's talent and hard work? This would effectively eliminate the novel from the public domain in favor of establishing a copyright dynasty for novels that lasts forever.

This is your concept and it would turn centuries of copyright law on its head, so kindly refrain from asking why this SHOULDN'T be done and start explaining why it should be done. 

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.

I understand the intent here, but doesn't that create a whole new set of problems? You can't think of ways for corporations and artists to get around that kind of arrangement?

Besides that, how could it become the law? Corporations own the government, especially (but not exclusively) the Republicans.

Public outcry can stop corporate interests from power grabs like TPP, but rarely is corporate power dragged back down the way you're describing. The Democrats would need to control the White House, Senate, and the House with comfortable majorities for any meaningful copyright reform to happen.

I think I was the first one here to say "perpetual" wrt copyright, and I did not mean it literally. It just seems awfully long to me.

what is this planet comming to ? i dont like it when large majority of people are pushed about and bullied like this by the whims and wants of a small greedy fat(financially) minority

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