Hollywood Lobbyist Hasn't Seen The TPP Text, Cannot Read The TPP Text, But Knows What's In The TPP Text?

from the fascinating dept

The Daily Dot's Kevin Collier has a detailed article about his experience as a journalist at the latest TPP negotiating round. He talks mainly about the various "stakeholder" presentations, which are the only access concerned groups have to the negotiators. As we've already noted, the USTR made sure to limit access to the stakeholder presentations, giving them 8 to 10 minutes (reduced from a promised 15) and then scheduling a bunch to run concurrently -- and during a time when many negotiators would likely be out to lunch. From Collier's report, we also learn that the rooms where these presentations were held only had about 20 seats in them -- and there are more than 400 negotiators. He attended the EFF's presentation, but also noted that "Attendees from a nearby presentation exited their conference room and loudly spoke outside the open door to [the EFF's Carolina] Rossini’s room, drowning out her message."

But, perhaps more interesting was Collier's encounter with Michael Schlesinger, a lobbyist for the IIPA (the International Intellectual Property Alliance -- a sort of "super group" of lobbying organizations, including both the RIAA and the MPAA, among others). The IIPA presentation immediately followed the EFF presentation, and involved Schlesinger promising to debunk the "myths" being spread by folks like the EFF. Key among them? That TPP would mandate disconnecting people from the internet. Myth, myth and more myth, Schlesigner declared: there are "no mandates to kick legitimate users off the Internet." Note the weasel word "legitimate."

However, Collier wasn't born yesterday. So he went and found the leaked draft of the IP section that was revealed back in February of 2011. And he noted that it does seem to include mandates for kicking people offline, such as saying that "effective action against any act of copyright infringement" would include things like "removing or disabling access... [and] terminating specified accounts." So, Collier went and found Schlesigner to bring this up, and Schlesinger made a remarkable admission: he claims he hasn't seen the text:
I asked him whether he stood by his presentation's claim that "TPP will result in 'kicking people off the Internet'" was a myth.

"It is," he said.

I showed him a printed-out copy of the section of the TPP leak that referred to "terminating specified accounts" of copyright infringers.

He visibly stiffened. "I'm not commenting on a leaked draft," he told me. "From what I know, the TPP framework would not force anyone off the Internet. I don't know anything about the TPP draft."

Had Schlesinger actually read the TPP, either the leaked chapter or the current draft? I can't say for sure. Legally, he can't have read the latter, because he's a federally registered lobbyist, which would bar him from seeing the text.
Got that? (1) He's not allowed to see the text. (2) He gets upset when someone points him to the leaked text. (3) He... also insists he knows, absolutely, what will not be in the text. How is that even remotely credible?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Welcome to US where secret interpretations, secret trades and secret violations against their Constitution are the norm.

    I don't expect it to pass with that level of secrecy and I'm fairly sure the Houses will be quite upset if Obama or any President signs it without their oversight and will kill it fast. However, the very fact that this is actually happening and they are keeping the people who they are supposed to represent out is quite telling about the way the US are heading. I'd be very worried if I were American. Not that I'm not worried, it's setting the example for other repressive regimes around the world but thankfully my country isn't following.

     

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      gorehound (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      I personally would love to see the whole room of TPP Supporters dragged onto a street, stripped naked, and tarred & feathered in Public Humiliation.I have not one bit of sympathy for any of these Traitors to our Constitution.Would love to see thousands of people March into their meeting and do this.
      Fuck the Illegal TPP ! It goes against our Constitution.It is a piece of shit.It does show us all how Corrupted this Government is to even think of doing this thing.

       

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    Tim K (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Why didn't he ask him how he could claim that "TPP will result in 'kicking people off the Internet'" was a myth if he couldn't legally have read the document?

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    "effective action against any act of copyright infringement"

    As I've said before, it's nearly impossible not to infringe copyright on the internet. We all do it everyday.

    http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/05/11/how-long-could-you-last-without-infringing-a-copy right/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    about as useful as using a chocolate fireguard for protection

     

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    Manok (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    But... how can he be lobbying for something that he is not allowed to see? Then every argument he presents during a meeting can be countered with the question "but how do you know whether that is true?", and he can't answer that.

    So why even entertain such a lobbyist? For the free lunch?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      How can EFF be lobbying against something they don't know?

      The "openness" of the negotiations is an illusion. If things go without significant leaks, the "stakeholder" presentations will be pure entertainment for the public. I call it "openness-theater" as a nodge to "security-theater"!

      The lobbyist probably have kept his promise, which is why he stiffened at the sight of the document. He has heard "rumours" of some unknown degree from his constituents who have heard it from the companies who were actually helping the negotiators with a first draft. It is extremely illegal and probably should have consequences, but they will never want to explore the leaks or if they do they will end up 100% empty-handed. The current process has created a way to break the law VERBALLY with essentially 0 chance of catching the perp. That is the real problem here and what is making ACTA and TPP so incredibly corrupted treaties!

       

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    anon, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    Lies

    When you lie and are caught out it is not in your best interest to try to cover up your first lie with another lie, this makes people distrust anything you say and question your ability to tell any truths.

    Saying that all this negotiating in the shadows will not get the agreement passed, if anything it just encourages the citizens to demand you talk to them first or they threaten to kick the politicians out of there jobs, guess who the more power, most definitely not the lobbyists as has been shown many many times in the last year alone.

    I wonder if all of these people appreciate there time being wasted, at least the politicians are not losing , but if the lobbyists cannot get there bosses some payback why are they going to pay them in the first place.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    That's easy

    (1) He's not allowed to see the text. (2) He gets upset when someone points him to the leaked text. (3) He... also insists he knows, absolutely, what will not be in the text. How is that even remotely credible?
    Well, if he's a lobbyist he probably knows the people who wrote the text.... but at the point they wrote it, it wasn't officially the TPP. It only became the TPP when it was handed over and officially "drafted" and he hasn't seen it since just like he's not allowed to... see? Simples!

    'course that theory doesn't change that he's probably lying through his teeth...

     

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    Trails (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Legitimate Users

    It seems to me, from what I understand from nerds, thatís really rare. If itís not a legitimate user, the internet has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But letís assume that maybe that didnít work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the infringer, and not overbearing and secretive TPP.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    This will go the same way that ACTA went. No one in the house or senate will be asked to vote on it. Instead it will be instituted through presidential decree (executive powers) which is totally illegal as executive powers do not include trade treaties.

    Another fine example of corruption in the US government.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    Must but bad if even lobbyist's can't read it.

     

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    Yakko Warner (profile), Sep 13th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi

    You have to pass it before you can know what's in it.

    Duh.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    The public is still very uninformed about how trade policies affect national policies. No one in the major media will cover the issue, claiming "it's too complicated". Is it really? Congressial personal have no excuse for being ignorant after 20+ years to debate IP issues. But then it seems quite a few of them aren't aware of how babies are made yet they feel justified to make laws for women too.

    The whole conversation is so stupid I don't think the average person can believe it's real.

     

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    dr evil, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 10:42pm

    How could he know the contents?

    Because Hollywood WROTE it, silly,

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2012 @ 1:08am

    We are the USTR. Resistance is futile. Your copyright will be assimilated. From now on you will service U.S.

     

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