TPP Defenders Take To The Internet To Deliver Official Talking Points; Inadvertently Confirm Opponents' Worst Fears

from the TPP-doesn't-do-anything-opponents-claim-it-does,-except-for-all-this dept

The leaked TPP draft, pried loose from the "open and transparent" grip of the USTR, is generating plenty of commentary all over the web. After getting a good look inside, it's little wonder the USTR felt more comfortable trying to push this through under the cover of darkness.

As the criticism of the push for IP maximalism mounts, the treaty's defenders have leapt into the fray, hoping to assure everyone who wasn't previously aware of the treaty's contents (which is pretty much everyone) that there's nothing to see here and please move along.

Mike recently broke down the ridiculous claims and posturing of the USTR's "talking points." Amanda Wilson Denton, counsel to the IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance) has showed up right on cue to "set the record straight" on the leaked TPP draft. Let's see how well she followed the talking points. (Talking points in bold.)

The Draft Is Already Outdated

The only thing that can certainly be said about this draft is that it does not reflect the current state of the negotiations...

If it is what it purports to be, the draft reveals a snapshot in time of the ongoing work of the participating countries to hammer out an agreement in Intellectual Property Rights…
Sure, it's only a "snapshot." But unless everything's changed since then, it's a very representative snapshot of the involved countries' stances on IP issues. Just because the work is "ongoing" doesn't mean its improving.
What It Would Not Require: Changes to U.S. IP Law

While it is impossible to say right now what a TPP IP chapter would do, experience provides an answer for what it would not do -- since the U.S. began negotiating FTAs again in 2000, no FTA has required a change to U.S. intellectual property law.

The U.S. proposals mirror the current duration of copyright in U.S. law. They track the provisions already agreed in previous FTAs regarding the technologies that rights holders use to control access to their works and limitations on liability to benefit ISPs, including the FTA agreed between the United States and Korea that entered into force in 2012…

In sum, the putative U.S. positions revealed in the leaked text would be consistent with U.S. law and prior free trade agreements approved by Congress, and most importantly would help to achieve better copyright protection among our trading partners…

While we understand that there are parties that don't like present U.S. law and policy, this leaked text demonstrates a fealty to existing U.S. law, and not an abandonment thereof.
So, if you love current US IP law (and wish it would be expanded), you'll love the TPP. If you don't, well… get used to it. The US is running your IP show now, foreigners.

Denton does admit there is one change to existing US law, something only a maximalist would be happy to see -- a provision that would allow rights holders to pursue criminal charges against those who "aid and abet" copyright infringement. Great news! That means you no longer have to actually infringe to be held criminally accountable. All you have to do is be adjacent to it.
The Only Real “News” – Many Bogus Claims Are Now Verifiably False.

The only real “news” in the leaked text is that various claims (e.g., TPP endangers Internet freedom, TPP is SOPA) are now provably false.

[T]he issue that generated controversy surrounding SOPA—website blocking through DNS blocking—is entirely absent from the text as recently noted by Ambassador Froman. Froman specifically raised the issue of “blocking rogue Internet sites from accessing the Internet from the United States” in a recent interview published in the November 18, 2013 issue of Washington Trade Daily. He stated unequivocally: “There is nothing in the Trans Pacific Partnership, zero, that has anything to do with that...”

Any comparison to SOPA/PIPA is completely inappropriate and inaccurate.
Comparisons to SOPA are valid because the leaks show the US is pushing a maximalist hard line, one that goes much further than most other countries are willing to go (Australia being the notable exception).

SOPA was a maximalist's dream. Since a majority of Americans are not maximalists, the bill was tough to sell. The USTR knows this, which is why every aspect of these negotiations has been as secretive as possible. Simply stating the TPP is not SOPA because it isn't exactly the same is a weak dodge. It has the same intent. The TPP will harm internet freedom the same way SOPA would have. Secondary liability will now be a criminal act, as Denton points out in her defense of the agreement.

And as for Ambassador Froman's claim that the TPP doesn't provide for the blocking of "rogue sites," former USTR employee and current analyst for the ITIF (SOPA's "intellectual backer") Michelle Wein actually points out that it does in her op-ed defending the proposal.
In addition, the text does not require ISPs to block access, but instead asks that they take reasonable steps: "Court-ordered relief to compel or restrain certain actions shall be limited to terminating specified accounts, or to taking reasonable steps to block access to a specific, non-domestic online location. [emphasis added]" Essentially, this means that courts cannot make ISPs financially liable for copyright infringement by their users, but can ask them to take steps to block access.
When the government starts "asking" ISPs to "take reasonable steps" (what does that even mean?) to block sites, it's not a request. It's a very forceful suggestion with potential legal implications, as most court ORDERS are. ISPs may not be liable for customers' infringement, but they can certainly be held liable for not "taking reasonable steps" to block access. "Reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder, and what that means for ISPs is that courts will be making this call after they've already issued an order "asking" them to block sites.

What's being witnessed here is the US attempting to make the world beholden to its rights holders. The TPP makes a mockery the last word in its title. There's no "partnership" here. Just a country misusing its stature and economic power to rewrite international IP laws in servitude of a few select industries.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    So this is how liberty dies: suffocated by a giant load of bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    cosmicrat, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    Just U.S.?

    "What's being witnessed here is the US attempting to make the world beholden to its rights holders."

    Although I agree the U.S. negotiating team seems to be taking the lead (at least among the nation state (as opposed to corporate representative) parties) at cynically screwing over 99% of humans for the benefit of an elite class of "rights holders", I question whether those rights holders are primarily U.S.. Most IP is held by corporations, and corporations don't respect country anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    The Conscious Catholic, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:07pm

    Re:

    only if you sit around and just complain about it instead of doing something

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re:

    What do we do as individuals to fix a system that is so incredible broken and corrupt to the very core that any public representative that takes one step foot into the game is instantly indoctrinated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:22pm

    "... since the U.S. began negotiating FTAs again in 2000, no FTA has required a change to U.S. intellectual property law. "

    What Amanda Denton didn't say..."and we intend to change that."


    Fuck her and the horse she rode in on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Spread the word.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 2:11am

    What is going on here? What happened to the Techdirt I love? You completely blew it on this story. Why choose this story to leave out the term 'maximalist', hmm? Why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re:

    Well, we can't exactly...oh, wait, YES. WE. CAN.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 5:39am

    regardless of anything else, this is trying to get the use of the internet you have to have permission from the USA in general and the US entertainment industries in particular. in other words, the internet will not be free, will not be open but will be entirely censored, according to those of certain industries! if anyone wants to do anything, go anywhere, download/upload anything, they must have explicit permission and pay ridiculous fees and wait forever and a day to get that permission!
    the really scary thing is, it gives control of the internet and therefore the world into the hands of the USA! i cant think of anything worse! nothing will be allowed unless it benefits a US industry and any changes to the terms and conditions will be totally forbidden, unless agreed by the USA, regardless of who else wants the changes. the deaths that will come from this because no country will be permitted to use drugs made 'in house', being forced to purchase, at drastically inflated prices, direct from only the USA. in other words, world domination will be handed to the USA without them having to fire a shot, drop a bomb or invade a country with troops that have nothing on their minds but the 'removal' of as many of the enemy as possible! what a world we have coming, because those that will be voting on this are only concerned with filling up their personal bank accounts and not in the least worried about doing the job they were elected to do, worried about their country or their people or what the hell is gonna happen in the future!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    Isn't "TPP Defender" synonymous with "maximalist"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Its time for internet defense league to know what is going on!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    The Conscious Catholic, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    lets not forget the opposition in congress, and the spreading of the word, and I would rather fight than to sit and wait for the bomb to hit. I don't give up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Doing something

    What we do now is what everyone should have been doing all along. Get involved, and stay involved. History, even just US history, shows us that changing a completely corrupt system into something better is possible. We've been here before, and we -- the citizens, the real United States -- have always been the ones to make it happen.

    What doesn't exist is a silver bullet, or some magic wand that will improve things instantly. Give up that dream. How deep change really happens, how it has always happened, is through a long-haul effort by many different types of people pushing from many different directions. What we learn in the history books, that there is always one single event that changes everything overnight, is a lie. The truth is that there is hope, but that hope isn't resting on something neat, clean, or quick. it rests on us, each of us, individually. It rests on you.

    So here's what you do -- you do everything you can to push for the change you want. Even the stuff that might seem pointless.

    Do you avoid voting? You're a fool. Voting may not, by itself, change anything -- but it is one more piece of kindling on the bonfire.

    Do you write letters to your representatives and you newspaper? You absolutely should. Another piece of kindling.

    Do you give money, even $5 here and there, to public interest lobbyist groups that are pushing for an even vaguely similar agenda? Kindling.

    Do you attend demonstrations? Kindling.

    Do you participate in political discussions with your neighbors, and actually say what you believe? Kindling.

    Do you write long-winded comments on blog sites in an attempt to get people to do something, anything, no matter how small, to push to bring about the type of world they want to live in? Yes, kindling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    "What's being witnessed here is the US attempting to make the world beholden to its rights holders."

    It's still very amazing that the other countries involved have zero backbone and won't stand up to the US .. It can be said over and over again that it's the US pushing it's ways .. but the end result is the same .. leaders of other countries can just say no ..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    I'm wondering If net neutrality will ever be honored

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

    Look up on openmedia getpublished to write an editor about the trans pacific partnership. Look up this Yes write/published a letter to editors about the trans pacific partnership. http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=4Ir3wwb4cPMZIMc%2Blbk3b1lyfkrw5ewH. Also contact or look up on the internet defense league; even the members of the internet defense league such as Mozilla,imugur, hotspotshield, demandprogress, etc. Also search on fightforthefuture.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 6:47pm

    Look up on openmedia getpublished to write an editor about the trans pacific partnership. Look up this Yes write/published a letter to editors about the trans pacific partnership. http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=4Ir3wwb4cPMZIMc%2Blbk3b1lyfkrw5ewH. Also contact or look up on the internet defense league; even the members of the internet defense league such as Mozilla,imugur, hotspotshield, demandprogress, etc. Also search on fightforthefuture. There's on more is accessnow a international human rights of non-profit, look up that website as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Just U.S.?

    The U.S. negotiating team Probably thinks that because these big corporations are Head-Quartered in the U.S that the corporations owe loyalty to the U.S. But they are wrong.

    According to the Duties on these corporations because of Laws written by countries like the U.S. Their only duty and concern is Share-Holder return, no matter where that shareholder lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 2:38am

    Re:

    Because they risk getting sued for violating Transformer trademarks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    "That means you no longer have to actually infringe to be held criminally accountable. All you have to do is be adjacent to it."

    You mean like a "wheelman" waiting outside a bank while his co-conspirators are inside brandishing guns and robbing it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    "When the government starts "asking" ISPs to "take reasonable steps" (what does that even mean?) to block sites, it's not a request. It's a very forceful suggestion with potential legal implications, as most court ORDERS are."

    This is how the Great Firewall of China gets erected in democratic societies.... Built to protect those inside from harm, but in the end, it's just a prison.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Nop (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    No, like being the parent or roomie of someone who pirates stuff over your shared Internet connection without your knowledge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Nop (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: "What's being witnessed here is the US attempting to make the world beholden to its rights holders."

    It's less amazing when you're aware of just how much pressure the US gov't imposes on foreign gov'ts to do what US lobbyists want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    I wonder how many millions Google makes a year from the piracy biz.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    Obama's administration legacy

    Secrecy, surveilance and internet control

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    More drones, more debt, more authorative laws

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Nop (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    Not a cent, would be my guess. Try finding a pirate copy of any popular thing via Google sometime if you don't believe me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Christenson, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

    US Army ignores copyright, fails to pay millions for software

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    Re:

    Google doesn't host pirated content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 7:15pm

    Re: US Army ignores copyright, fails to pay millions for software

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Ed Ward, MD, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 9:52pm

    The US Is Very Worried About 'Copyright'?

    Meanwhile, they stole 50 Million in Software. US govt caught using pirated software for military, settles for $50mn http://rt.com/usa/us-army-pirated-software-413/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re:

    It's too late to stop this. The only thing left now is civil disobedience on a mass scale. The elite are, for some reason, always afraid of large scale social unrest. That's why they try to attack these movements in the cradle, like they did Occupy.

    There are no "political" solutions to stopping TPP and other "agreements" like it. At this point, we can only do our best to get in the way.

    But remember, "getting in the way" worked back in the early part of the 20th century. We saw the rise of organized labor and the growing influence of the middle class, and the entire New Deal because elites were worried about the Great Unwashed showing up on their front lawns and getting in the way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 11:48pm

    Re: The US Is Very Worried About 'Copyright'?

    If you've got a story you'd like TD to cover, don't post about it in the comments, send them a message about it via the 'Submit a Story' link at the bottom of the page.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    Re: The US Is Very Worried About 'Copyright'?

    Scratch that, looks like one of the upcoming stories is likely the very one you linked to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Vote. Every election, every time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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