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Kill the TPP

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.



  1. Babe of the Boom wrote:

    Well, then, it is a sure thing to get approved, isn’t it? I mean, if it helps the corporations and screws individuals, then it must be a good thing!

    So much for government of, by & for the people.

    Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  2. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    What is truly ironic is this is championed, defended and a highly acclaimed achievement for President Obama. Just like the fast track approval bill for trade deals that was passed earlier this year. Most if not all democrats opposed it, at least until the White House began twisting arms and threatening. That bill and the TPP seem to be an odd re4lationship between the GOP and the leader of the democratic party.

    For the record, I think almost every “trade deal” we have done in the last 25 years has been a disaster for our poor and middle class. I just don’t get it. It’s not even a Republican vs Democrat issue, because both sides are in on it. It’s got to be a power thing and creating wealth after the presidency and congress issue. That’s all I can logically think could be the reason.

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think it is much simpler than that. We have a political system that is completely dominated by money. Remember that the same corporations that are pushing for the TPP are the ones who control the news media. Any politician pretty much cannot get elected unless they pander to the wealthy and powerful. That is just our system, and until we change it crap like this will keep happening. That is why it is important for us to speak up.

    And you are right it is not totally a partisan thing. It is systemic. The main partisan element is things like the Citizens United decision, which made the corruption problem many times worse. If it virtually certain that if more Supreme Court justices had been nominated and ratified by Democrats, that decision would never have passed.

    I’m also pleased to see Hillary Clinton publicly come out against the TPP. I guess after all the fake scandals promoted by the news media, she is betting that pandering to them won’t do her any good.

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  4. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Exactly IK, but if it’s to help get politicians elected, what has Obama got to lose by defying them? And why would Hillary and Bernie go against them if it’s about being elected. Obama is done with political office in 1 year, they’re not. It has to be something more nefarious at work here.

    The little I understand about the TPP is it will give corporations the right to dictate all kinds of rules like EPA standards and the copy right and intellectual rights you stated. It will weaken governments and empower corporations and the people will lose again.

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  5. redjon wrote:

    Just keep in mind that, “…of the people, by the people and for the people,” is from the Gettysburg address, not the Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln was no friend to corporations. Modern Republicans like to remind us that Lincoln was a Republican, but Abe would no more fit into the modern Republican mold than the Jesus who is credited as having preached the Sermon on the Mount written in Matthew chapters 5-7.

    Sarge is right, too… Obama has nothing to lose by opposing the TPP except possibly being ridiculed for having allowed it to be negotiated that way in the first place. Maybe he’s counting on the GOP to vote it down simply for the reason that his administration crafted it, as they so often do with other things?

    Not holding my breath on that one.

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    So then why is Clinton against it? Is she just triangulating?

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  7. PATIOTSGT wrote:

    Clinton is likely against it because Bernie is against it and her staff determined that the optics of taking the same side as Bernie would show her in a more favorable position for the upcoming debate. Like the republican debate where many people tuned in just to see Trump, the majority of the democrat viewers will likely be looking at Bernie. Since it’s basically just the 2 of them.

    So yes, IK triangulation is the word for “what do the almighty polls tell me to say.” But, Bernie did say it first, and he should hammer that point.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 5:43 am | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    IK, you defended Clinton before. I wish you defend her again. I dislike her so and would like to like her. “Feel the Bern”

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    A few months ago I was invited to a private event where Clinton spoke and got interviewed, and as I said at the time I like her much more now than I did in the past. I was never a huge fan of president Clinton but voted for him anyway. And was a strong supporter of Obama against Hillary Clinton. But, from what I’ve seen she has mellowed quite a bit and seemed to me to be more thoughtful and less all about her. I also have some sympathy for her because of all the faux scandals she has had to endure. Unless something catastrophic happens, I plan to support her for the presidency, which I am pretty sure she will win.

    But I also like Bernie Sanders. I just don’t think he can get elected president. His nomination would likely allow one of the Republican crazies to run as a “moderate” and win as Sanders would lose conservative Democrats (there still are plenty of those out there) and few Republicans would vote for someone who describes himself as a socialist.

    And I will admit it, I like the idea of a woman president.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink