TV interview interrupted by explosion and flying manhole cover

A TV news crew was interviewing a man when something more exciting happened behind him. Read the rest

TPP leak: states give companies the right to repeal nations' laws

A new Wikileaks-published leak from the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty reveals a January 2015 draft "Investment Chapter" of the agreement, where the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are set out. They allow companies to repeal nations' environmental, health and labor laws. Read the rest

Following the key Trans-Pacific Partnership senator with a 30' blimp

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The folks who wrote SOPA are trying to get extremist copyright provisions into the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement -- the one that Congress is trying to 'Fast Track' right now." Read the rest

ACT NOW! Congress wants to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Congress is about to introduce a bill that will let the US Trade Representative lock America into the provisions of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial debate or scrutiny -- including criminal sanctions -- jail! -- for downloading TV shows. Read the rest

Big Content publishes a love-letter to TPP

The secretive, corrupt, illegitimate Trans-Pacific Partnership would bind its members -- including the USA and Canada -- to criminalize file-sharing, putting people in jail for watching TV the wrong way, and that's just fine with the copyright lobbyist group Global Intellectual Property Center. Read the rest

Canada reportedly caves, will extend copyright and yank James Bond out of the public domain

Michael Geist sez, "Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a 'copyright quirk', it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership." Read the rest

President Obama's tech-centered State of the Union: full text, and digital rights concerns

Here's a good rule of thumb: Any time a president says new tech laws are to protect "our kids," you know something bad is on the way.

WATCH It's Our Future: why the TPP should matter to you

Meghan from sez, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive international trade agreement that includes 12 countries and covers almost 40% of global GDP. It's big. If you live in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Chile, or New Zealand -- it affects you. But it also affects you if you don't live in one of the 12 countries negotiating the TPP - especially on the issue of Digital Rights." Read the rest

NZ Trade Minister: we keep TPP a secret to prevent "public debate"

The Trans Pacific Partnership is the latest in a series of secretly negotiated sweeping "trade deals" that allow companies to sue governments to repeal environmental and labor laws, expand Internet censorship and surveillance, and a host of other nasties. Read the rest

Obamacare: what it is, what it’s not

It’s no surprise that we haven’t seen a conservative alternative to Obamacare; Obamacare was the conservative alternative. Written by Michael Goodwin of Economix Comix. Illustrations by Dan E. Burr. Lettered by Debra Freiberg.

World Intellectual Property Organization in shambolic chaos

Yesterday's WIPO General Assembly was the "worst ever," with rich and poor countries deadlocked over balanced copyright, fair use, and half a dozen other issues. Read the rest

Net neutrality: What it is, and why you should care

Net Neutrality in a way we can all understand it, thanks to Michael Goodwin of Economix Comix.

Trans Pacific Partnership meeting switched from Vancouver to Ottawa, ducking critics

What could make the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership process even less legit?

Moving it at the last minute, under cover of darkness, from Vancouver to Ottawa, in order to avoid critics of the treaty and how it is being negotiated. The TPP is a secretive treaty that allows corporations to sue governments that enact environmental, health and governmental regulations that interfere with their profits. It also calls for vastly expanded Internet spying and censorship in the name of protecting copyright.

Only trade negotiators and corporate lobbyists are allowed to see the drafts of the agreement (though plenty of these drafts have leaked) -- often times, members of Congress and Parliament are denied access to them, even though the agreement will set out legal obligations that these elected officials will be expected to meet. Read the rest

US inches towards decriminalizing phone unlocking

America's legal prohibition on phone unlocking has inched almost imperceptibly closer to reform, as a watered-down House bill approaches some kind of Senate compromise, that might, in a couple years, decriminalize changing the configuration of a pocket-computer that you own. Read the rest

How the clothes you wear change your perceptions

When you work from home, do you produce better results in pajamas or professional attire? Do casual Fridays damage productivity? Does a jeans-and-T-shirt startup have an edge over its business-casual competitor? Researchers are just now getting to the bottom of questions like these. David McRaney of the You Are Not So Smart podcast explores the strange phenomenon known as "enclothed cognition."

US trade rep demands end to other nations' healthcare, privacy rules, food labelling...

Public Citizen analyzes the new Obama 2014 National Trade Estimate Report, in which the US Trade Rep demands that: Japan abolish its privacy rules and its requirement that food be labelled with its ingredients; Canada abolish its rules limited pharmaceutical patents; Malaysia get rid of its tariffs on pork and booze; Mexico nuke its junk food taxes, and more. It's great reading, and leaves little room for doubt about the neoliberal future, in which anything that's bad for corporate profits -- even if it's good for society or reflects national values -- is killed in the name of free trade. Read the rest

Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP & ACTA gets a job at MPAA; his replacement is another copyright lobbyist

Stan McCoy is the assistant US Trade Representative who oversaw the creation of the disastrous, far-reaching copyright provisions in ACTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. He's left the Obama administration for a high-paid job at the MPAA, which represents companies that stood to reap massive profits and permanent control over Internet governance and innovation thanks to his efforts while in government. Now, the Obama administration has headhunted a software industry lobbyist (who supported SOPA) to take over his job. McCoy is one of more than a dozen USTR officials who've left the government to work for copyright lobbying bodies, including former Obama copyright czar Victoria Espinel, who now gets her paycheck from the Business Software Alliance.

Timothy Lee has an excellent piece on the revolving-door relationship between the USTR and the entertainment industry and other copyright lobbyists. When Obama was campaigning for office, he vowed that "lobbyists won't work in my White House." Read the rest

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