What's big, corrupt, terrifying and worse than ACTA? TPP. Here we go again!

Remember ACTA, the terrifying, secret SOPA-on-steroids copyright treaty that the US government tried to ram down the world's throat? Well, it's back, only this time it's called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and it's limited (for now) to the Pacific Rim. The TPP negotiators are meeting (in secret, natch) in Peru to twirl their mustaches and cackle, and EFF has posted a great infographic summing up their nefarious plan (see the whole thing after the jump):

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 worst 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.


  1. We need to develop, market, and fund legislation that make the process of proposing and enacting these horrible bills illegal.  Fight white – take their rights.

    1. We really do need to fight back on this, not just play on defense all the time. We need severe reform on archaic, out-of-date and out-of-place monopolistic laws. 

      1. Deeper than that, there needs to be a program of disenfranchisment of corportions and moneyed interests. These institutions must be enslaved or destroyed. I’m not talking about a defensive or attacking position but the systematic serilization and cleansing of these institution. The war is not a bill or law, it is the body that would enact them and we can not afford them any quarter.

        1. Deeper than that, we need a new internet based on homegrown, encrypted, unicorn-powered point-to-point laser communication that’s immune to all the bullshit. “Lasermike026,” can you help?

  2. legislation laundering at its finest (read: worst)
    i don’t have an issue with globalization, but if we are going to have a global government let’s do it right eh? the people need to be involved, anyone involved in trade negotiations MUST be elected DIRECTLY by their respective people, trade negotiation MUST be open and transparent, and those involved MUST NOT take money from those who would stand to gain the most from the legislation (this is such an egregious conflict of interest it SHOULD go without saying)
    the same should hold true for members of the UN (which itself needs a re-structuring such that no individual country has total veto power over all others, that no country is allowed it’s own standing army only a smaller defense force, army powers should be ceded by ALL countries to the UN.)
    globalization itself is not evil, but if left unchecked, if allowed to go without the purview of those who will be affected by their rules, only corruption can follow.

     “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” universal bill of rights. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
    the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, –That whenever any Form of Government
    becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to
    alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its
    foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as
    to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” declaration of independence (emphesis mine) that the power of the government derives from the consent of the governed is THE BASIS of law in the civilized world. to undermine this is to abolish the very freedoms that have been fought for since before the signing of the magna carta. and i fear if this tide is not stemmed, if the governments of the world do not become more transparent in the governance and obedient to their constituents, they may need to take that quote from the declaration of independence as warning.

  3. Cory, these people are stretching this to the point of dishonesty and it hurts your credibility to stand behind it.

    This is negotiation, not legislation. The US Trade Representative needs to make offers that aren’t entirely genuine. The TPP negotiations are behind closed doors because the EFF et. al. try to use those less-than-genuine offers to make political statements, those political statements interfere with the US bargaining positions and that interference compromises legitimate interests unrelated to the EFF’s complaints.
    This is a treaty, not a statute. The language is going to be vague because it’s meant to embrace many different legal systems. That vagueness does not connote an insidious plot to expand US law. With treaties, it’s usually in each nation’s interest to change as little law as possible to meet the treaty’s requirements. Seriously, does anyone expect the Senate to promptly do anything about anything at this point?

    The non-circumvention stuff is, as far as I know, the law in the US and already a part of most of our bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements. EFF talks about “fixing US law,” which is to say that this treaty isn’t consistent with their particular agenda, but their agenda is somewhat eccentric. What’s broken?

    That business about it not exempting libraries? The last draft they leaked exempted from the anti-circumvention provisions any “nonprofit library, archive, educational institution, or public noncommercial broadcasting entity” as well as uses for reverse engineering, research, enabling child protection software, temporary copies for testing computer systems and networks, privacy protection, government purposes (shocker), and (actually interesting) noninfringing uses of a class of works when anti-circumvention is shown “in a legislative or administrative proceeding by substantial evidence” to “adverse[ly] impact” that noninfringing use. There were arguably more exemptions in general (section 4.8) that were not included because they hadn’t been drafted yet…because it was still just a draft.

    That’s not to mention the new and interesting limits the TPP draft suggests for copyright, like a distinction between copyrighted media like books and goods that just happen to carry copyrighted content such as watches or cars. The Australians, as far as I know, draw a better line between those two than the US does. It woud be nice to see that influence the way the US handles copyright.

    Finally, there is no reason to believe this will disproportionately affect the developing world. Copyright and patent proprietors push these frameworks on the developing world so that they can sell legitimate products without fear of them being pirated or resold elsewhere. That way, they can (1) out-compete the pirates where they live, crushing them with economies of scale and low prices instead of the police and (2) spread the fixed costs of innovation further, so that everybody can pay less. The developing world doesn’t have to pay American prices for legitimate IP products, because expression can be reproduced infinitely for free once it’s been set out (what it’s reproduced on may, however, cost money). For the same reason, copyright and patent holders gain enough by discouraging piracy that they don’t need to exercise their right to exact a premium on their products. They can charge as little as the cost of the medium and not lose anything. Many would be inclined to do so if those cheap goods wouldn’t end up back in the US or Australia. Shockingly, there are actually human beings that work in the content and pharma industries who actually have concern for the underprivileged of the world who live without proper medicine or education. 

    You’re smart, Corey and BoingBoing. This is not the stuff of informed opinions. This is down there with climate change denial, raw foodism, and young earth creationism.

  4. Bah.  There is only one logical reason to be secretive, and that is to hide something. Trade agreements held behind closed doors are designed to do one thing, and one thing only – generate income for big companies at the expense of others.  If the business they are doing is ethical, then why all the secrecy?  You can talk around it all you want, when a bunch of suits lock themselves into a room with the power to make international trade agreements, only a fool would think they are discussing how much they care about the well being of developing nations.

    1. Can’t argue with “secrecy hides things,” but how do you get from that to “all hidden things serve big companies and are unethical?”

      Those “suits” negotiating on behalf of the US are a group of highly educated civil servants from a federal agency. They aren’t legislators who have to worry about campaign contributions. They’re supposed to be insulated from public opinion and political pressure so that they can actually use their expertise. 

      Also among those “suits” are representatives of all of the parties, including the handful of developing nations that are signing on to the TPP. I would venture to guess that, in fact, they are discussing those nations a lot because those nations, especially Vietnam, would have the hardest time bringing their laws up to the standards the US wants. Ultimately, they choose to participate; this agreement isn’t being forced on them.

      This process isn’t run by a secret cabal; many of the participants are very adverse to one another. Japan, Canada and Australia often don’t appreciate the US  stance on IP and are likely to argue against it. The leaked TPP draft is just the US proposal, which has to compete with drafts from all of the other participating nations. The end result is going to be the product of compromise.

       At the end of the day, you are saying that you trust the person whose statements are demonstrably false more than you trust the person who declines to make a statement. You are saying that your ignorance is proof of your suspicions. You’re saying that you are justified in believing in a conspiracy until someone proves that it doesn’t exist. Although there are many simpler explanations that are more readily supported by evidence, you’re going to go with the infographic instead, because it suits your bias. 

      This movement is no better than school boards that want to decide for teachers whether evolution is part of their curriculum or activists who want to decide for the Department of Agriculture whether a pesticide is safe. There’s no evidence for the position, but you can make an image macro that people can “like” on Facebook and a infographic that Corey will feature without questioning it. The EFF is the NRA of Silicon Valley and since SOPA they have been churning out so much deceptive, vitriolic nonsense that IP is becoming as politically untouchable as gun control.

      We all lose. There can be no intelligent discussion, compromise or progress on legitimate problems when an angry mob won’t settle for anything more restrictive than the Copyright Act of 1790. In a world of crowd-sourced commentary there is nothing equivalent to journalists, who invest the time needed to be informed. And BB certainly isn’t filling that gaping hole.

      1. Those “suits” negotiating on behalf of the US are a group of highly educated civil servants from a federal agency. They aren’t legislators who have to worry about campaign contributions.

        How charmingly naive. They’re appointed by “legislators who have to worry about campaign contributions.”

        1. Actually, the US Trade Representative is appointed by the president. They typically serve four year terms.

    1. Arguably, TPP and ACTA are actually all about China. The US tried and failed to use the stick on China with the TRIPS agreement. Now it’s trying to use the carrot. “You can’t join our club unless you meet our standards.”

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