Trans-Pacific Partnership — nasty piece of Globalist Monopoly, Harper pushing it too, opposition mounts

From: “cdsapi” <>
Date: January 5, 2014 6:11:30 PM PST (CA)
Subject: the TPP is a nasty piece of Monopoly Global Corporate-Governance entrenchment – Harper is pushing it too
Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership explodes on Twitter SPECIAL
By Justin King
Dec 27, 2013 in World
Activists from around the world will begin attempting to create a twitterstorm in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Twitter tonight.  The opposition is coming from activists on both the left and right wing of the political spectrum.
The twitterstorm operation is set to begin at 7PM Eastern and will attempt to make the hashtag #StopTheTPP trend on Twitter, in hopes of raising awareness of the secretive trade deal being brokered among a dozen nations.  The nations involved are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative hosts a blanket statement about the trade deal on its website stating in part
“For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system. “
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s representation of problems with the TPP.
Activists hold a very different opinion of the trade deal, which has only been available for public scrutiny through leaks hosted on the Wikileaks website or other whistleblower pages . It should be noted that none of the disclosures so far have anything to do with job creation.  An activist intimately involved with tonight’s operation, Emily Laincz said
I think it’s really important for everyone to realize that this is a corporate bill, benefiting corporations while harming individuals– There is no benefit in it for us.  It will affect each and every one of us personally.
As far as the worst part of the TPP; it is circumstantial because everyone has their own concerns, be it Internet regulations, lack of food labeling rights, etcetera.
But, I feel the largest issue is that it will replace the citizen’s bill of rights with a corporate bill of rights which will allow corporations to sue an entire nation for not complying with new found laws under the “trade treaty.”
The secrecy surrounding the trade deal has raised eyebrows across the globe.  Activists and lawmakers alike have expressed concern over the lack of transparency in what is being advertised as a simple trade deal to bring jobs to nations that agree to the principals of the TPP.  Laincz advised citizens to call their representatives.
What people need to stress is for their representative to call Rep. Miller and insist they sign the DeLauro-Miller letter.
The Delauro-Miller letter is a letter signed by over 150 Congressional Representatives that expresses their deep concern over the secrecy and methods being used by the executive to push the trade deal through Congress without giving the body the ability to amend the deal.
The Japan Times recently published an Op-Ed by William Pesek advising against Asia’s participation in the TPP.  TPP is also being opposed by US Agricultural associations, as well.  The watchdog group Electronic Frontier Foundation has voiced its opposition to the deal in a detailed summary found here.
Alex Freeman, another activist participating in tonight’s operation had this to say:
There are too many problems with the TPP and TAFTA, or whatever new name they have for it.  I’ve seen them change it several times since this summer to keep it guarded.  Ultimately, they are egregious corporate power grabs that are eroding constitutional process in their passage and willerode multiple states’ sovereignty in their implementation.  The Constitution sets forth for the Senate to debate and negotiate treaties, yet many senators are unaware of the contents of TPP.
The treaty has been written by corporations and negotiated through a series of clandestine meetings.  Without Wikileaks, we may not have known about them.  What we do know of the contents of TPP shocks the conscience and chills free speech.  Where Citizens United redefined money as speech for election purposes, TPP redefines it again to further alienate the voting populace in favor of world trade, corporate greed, and profits over people.
While large portions of the TPP are secret, leaks have given voters a glimpse at a small fraction of the deal.  This draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter is one of those few glimpses.  The 38 page document is summarized below, and lends some credibility to the claims of those in opposition to the deal.
Intellectual Property Rights Chapter Summary:
Article 1: Requires that member nations adhere to a series of previously established copyright treaties, and requires foreign corporations to receive the same copyright privileges as domestic companies in court proceedings.
Article 2: Provides a system for allowing and organizing trademarks of corporations in order to protect their brand name.
Article 3: Eliminates the ability of an individual to maintain privacy while holding ownership of an internet domain.  Requires member nations to maintain a database of owners and contact information.
Article 4: Extends the number of years a work is considered protected by copyright law.  Requires member nations to establish criminal penalties for violating copyrights.
Article 5: Leaves exhibition of copyrighted works at the sole discretion of the copyright holder.
Article 6: Establishes a timeline for when a work is considered copyrighted after exhibition or publication.
Article 7: Bans the production of certain types of decryption equipment.
Article 8: Requires member nations to make patents available for any kind of process or technology, including plants and animals.  Bars member nations from not providing a patent simply because the exploitation of that patent would be against the law.
Article 9: Provides a monopoly for ten years once a chemical agricultural product is approved by stopping a government from approving a similar product.
Article 10: Removes the presumption of innocence from copyright related civil, administrative, or criminal cases.
Article 11: Requires member nations to issue copyright rulings in writing and keep statistical data in order to combat copyright infringement.
Article 12: Establishes procedures for member nations to abide by in the event of civil copyright infringement.
Article 13: Requires except in exceptional circumstances that an injunction within ten days of complaint of alleged copyright infringement.
Article 14: Makes it easier for corporations to stop suspected copyright infringement or use of trademarks that are confusingly similar.
Article 15: Requires member nations to establish minimum criminal codes to combat infringement of copyright infringement.
Article 16: Provides a list of measures to combat digital piracy.
The overall language of the treaty makes it clear that it overrides national law.
Read more:
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.  The main problems are two-fold:
(1) IP chapter: Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate.
(2) Lack of transparency: The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.
The twelve nations currently negotiating the TPP are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam.  The TPP contains a chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, patents and perhaps, geographical indications.  Since the draft text of the agreement has never been offically released to the public, we know from leaked documents, such as the February 2011 draft US TPP IP Rights Chapter [PDF], that US negotiators are pushing for the adoption of copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties, including the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The TPP Will Rewrite Global Rules on Intellectual Property Enforcement
All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement.  In the US, this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA]) andrestrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector.  The recently leaked US-proposed IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current US law.
The leaked US IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:
·         Place Greater Liability on Internet Intermediaries: The TPP would force the adoption of the US DMCA Internet intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime in its entirety.  For example, this would require Chile to rewrite its forward-looking 2010 copyright lawthat currently establishes a judicial notice-and-takedown regime, which provides greater protection to Internet users’ expression and privacy than the DMCA.
·         Regulate Temporary Copies: Treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders’ authorization as copyright infringement.  The language reveals a profound disconnect with the reality of the modern computer, as all routine computer functions rely upon the regular creation of temporary copies of programs and files.  As drafted, the related provision creates chilling effects not just on how we behave online, but also on the basic ability of people and companies to use and create on the Web.
·         Expand Copyright Terms: Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).  The TPP could extend copyright term protections from life of the author + 50 years, to Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse).
·         Enact a “Three-Step Test” Language That Puts Restrictions on Fair Use: The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is putting fair use at risk with restrictive language in the TPP’s IP chapter.  US and Australia have proposed very restrictive text, while other countries such as Chile, New Zealand, and Malaysia, have proposed more flexible, user-friendly terms.
·         Escalate Protections for Digital Locks: It will compel signatory nations to enact laws banning circumvention of digital locks (technological protection measures or TPMs) [PDF] that mirror the DMCA and treat violation of the TPM provisions as a separate offense even when no copyright infringement is involved.  This would require countries like New Zealand to completely rewrite its innovative 2008 copyright law, as well as override Australia’s carefully-crafted 2007 TPM regime exclusions for region-coding on movies on DVDs, videogames, and players, and for embedded software in devices that restrict access to goods and services for the device—a thoughtful effort by Australian policy makers to avoid the pitfalls experienced with the US digital locks provisions. In the US, business competitors have used the DMCA to try to block printer cartridge refill services, competing garage door openers, and to lock mobile phones to particular network providers.
·         Ban Parallel Importation: Ban parallel importation of genuine goods acquired from other countries without the authorization of copyright owners.
·         Adopt Criminal Sanctions: Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation, based on the provisions of the 1997 US No Electronic Theft Act.
In short, countries would have to abandon any efforts to learn from the mistakes of the US and its experience with the DMCA over the last 12 years, and adopt many of the most controversial aspects of US copyright law in their entirety.  At the same time, the US IP chapter does not export the limitations and exceptions in the US copyright regime like fair use, which have enabled freedom of expression and technological innovation to flourish in the US.  It includes only a placeholder for exceptions and limitations.  This raises serious concerns about other countries’ sovereignty and the ability of national governments to set laws and policies to meet their domestic priorities.
Non-Transparent and On The Fast Track
Despite the broad scope and far-reaching implications of the TPP, negotiations for the agreement have taken place behind closed doors and outside of the checks and balances that operate at traditional multilateral treaty-making organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.
Like ACTA, the TPP is being negotiated rapidly with little transparency.  During the TPP negotiation round in Chile in February 2011, negotiators received strong messages from prominent civil society groups demanding an end to the secrecy that has shielded TPP negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the public.  Letters addressed to government representatives in Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and the US emphasized that both the process and effect of the proposed TPP agreement is deeply undemocratic.  TPP negotiators apparently discussed the requests for greater public disclosure during the February 2011 negotiations, but took no action.
Why You Should Care
TPP raises significant concerns about citizens’ freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities.  In sum, the TPP puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens.
The US Trade Rep is pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory counties to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the US entertainment and pharmaceutical industries agendas, but omits the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.
The TPP will affect countries beyond the 11 that are currently involved in negotiations.  Like ACTA, the TPP Agreement is a plurilateral agreement that will be used to create new heightened global IP enforcement norms.  Countries that are not parties to the negotiation will likely be asked to accede to the TPP as a condition of bilateral trade agreements with the US and other TPP members, or evaluated against the TPP’s copyright enforcement standards in the annual Special 301 process administered by the US Trade Rep.
Here’s what you can do:
Are you in the United States?
Tell U.S. lawmakers to stand up for your digital rights and preserve our constitutional checks and balances in government.  Demand your state representatives oppose any initiative to enact Fast Track (aka Trade Promotion Authority), which hands their own constitutional authority to debate and modify trade law.
Join EFF and more than 30,000 people in sending a message to Congress members to demand an end to these secret backdoor negotiations.  Tell the White House to uphold openness and transparency in TPP negotiations.
For close analysis of the TPP and its impacts on digital rights, visit Knowledge Ecology International’s TPP resource page.
For more information on other aspects of the TPP, visit Public Citizen’s resource page.

By piotrbein