That the Trans Pacific Partnership was negotiated in total secrecy should be enough to give one pause, but now, a single chapter was leaked by Wikileaks. This is the chapter on Intellectual Property Rights, which controls copyrights, the internet, medicines, and biological patents.
In almost every way, this chapter alone would be a complete disaster. It gives new monopoly rights to big pharmaceutical firms that will compromise access to vital medicines. This is insane, coming right on the heels of the huge scandal involving Martin Shkreli and Daraprim.
In addition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization I have known and trusted for a long time, has gone over the provisions as they affect the internet, and in their words this one chapter of the treaty “confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.”
“If you look for provisions in the TPP that actually afford new benefits to users, rather than to large, rights-holding corporations, you will look in vain.” It is entirely tilted toward copyright holders, with no binding protections for users or the public domain. The treaty extends the already stupidly long copyright terms once again, to life plus 70 years, which will make life even more difficult for libraries, archives, journalists, and ordinary users like you.
Also onerous are provisions that criminalize tinkering with digital rights management software, even if no copyright infringement occurs. Once again, Hollywood asserts that you don’t actually own anything you have purchased, and they can control it for almost forever (or at least far longer than you will ever live). And this applies even to orphan works that are no longer published, even if the actual rightsholder cannot be found.
The TPP also allows your personal computer to be seized and even destroyed, just because it was (even accidentally) used to share a copyrighted file online. And if the file sharing is done on a “commercial scale” (whatever that is), you could go to jail, even if you were not doing it for financial gain. Or if someone sends you a copy of a movie that is still playing in theaters, you could face criminal penalties even if you never even knew about it or watched it.
Even without seeing the rest of the TPP, this chapter alone is enough reason to scrap this treaty, which is actually a travesty of corporate control over your entertainment, information, health, and life. It further criminalizes behavior that used to be considered fair use.