Just days after the Senate rejected the Obama administration's bid to fast-track the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, they've backtracked, and now they're getting ready to rush fast-track through.
TPP is a treaty negotiated under extraordinary secrecy — Members of Congress were threatened with jail for discussing its contents — and virtually everything we know about it comes from leaks. One thing we do know is that it contains a provision to let multinational corporations sue governments for passing environmental and labor laws that undermine their profits (similar provisions in other treaties have been used by tobacco companies to sue the Australian government over a law mandating plain packaging for cigarettes). We also know that TPP hardens the worst elements of US copyright, trumping Congress's right to review the term of copyright and the scope of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA (these are the rules that allowed John Deere to claim that farmers don't own their tractors, because of the copyrights in the software in their engines).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation needs your help to contact your Congresscritter to block this. TPP is a fragile monster, and it can really only pass if the Congress abdicates its legislative authority and lets the President make up laws and legal obligations without Congressional input. The Republican Congress — and many Democrats — is vulnerable to messages from voters opposing the extension of these powers to the President.
There is a better chance that Fast Track can be stopped in the House, where proportionally more lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the bill than in the Senate. But much of the representatives' resistance is based on labor, environment, and currency manipulation concerns, and not on the provisions that would impact users' rights. The White House and other proponents of TPP may be willing to make some weak compromises on those non-tech issues, but they will likely do nothing to address the restrictive digital regulations that will come with these trade deals, nor even fix the secrecy that have led to these bad terms.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi remains one of our main targets of action. As Minority Leader, she needs to come out strong against the secrecy of trade negotiations and call on others in the House to follow her lead. And as the member of Congress representing San Francisco (which itself voted to come out against Fast Track), she needs to defend the rights of users and Internet-based companies against the extreme copyright and trade secrets provisions in the TPP. She continues to stop short of coming out against Fast Track entirely, so it's time for her to step up and lead this campaign in the House and speak out against these undemocratic, anti-user deals.
Senate Reverses Course and Advances TPP Fast Track Bill