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US Proposals For Secret TPP 'Son Of ACTA' Treaty Leaked; Chock Full Of Awful Ideas

from the exporting-protectionism dept

We’ve mentioned a couple of times that now that ACTA is “complete”, if not yet approved, USTR negotiators have moved on to what many are calling the son of ACTA in the form of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The USTR has shown what it’s learned from the ACTA negotiations: which is that it can absolutely get away with unprecedented levels of secrecy. It has no problem sharing details with industry representatives, but the public and consumers who will be most impacted by the intellectual property rules found in TPP are kept completely away. However, as with ACTA, there are leaks. KEI has been able to get a leaked version of the current proposal from the USTR, and as we’d been hearing, it really is another industry wish-list of stricter anti-consumer intellectual property rules, that go well beyond current US law. This is the entertainment industry and the pharma industry trying to bypass the actual law-making process and using “friends” within the USTR to get such rules in place via secretive, non-democratic, treaty making processes. It’s really a sickening display of crony capitalism and regulatory capture at work. Anyone working in the USTR should be ashamed of this document.

The early reports on TPP was that the USTR would only consider ratcheting up intellectual property laws to more draconian states. It would not even consider the idea of decreasing the already too strict levels of intellectual property laws. It also would not bother with increasing consumer protections or important exceptions to stronger intellectual property law — even if it’s been shown that those exceptions have a much greater impact on the economy than the IP laws themselves.

Some key points:

  • It would require that countries participating ban parallel import for any copyright holder who wants it. That is, if a copyright holder says no, countries would have to block your ability to purchase legal and authorized products in one country and import them into another. This is the so-called “grey market” which should be perfectly legal, but which many companies would like to block so they can price things much higher in some countries.
  • It would require criminal enforcement for certain cases of circumventing DRM even when there’s no copyright infringement, going beyond existing treaties even when there’s no copyright infringement. There are some exceptions, but rather than allow countries to determine their own exceptions, it defines the exceptions and actually says countries cannot go beyond those.
  • It would impose liability on ISPs for dealing with infringing works that goes well beyond the DMCA. Yes, Hollywood may finally be able to force ISPs to act as their personal business model cops — something they’ve been unable to do in the US.
  • Along those lines, there would be “legal incentives” for ISPs to go above and beyond that in helping copyright holders.
  • Forget privacy. ISPs would be required to identify users on request, going well beyond existing law.
  • Expand what is considered patentable, going in the opposite direction of what’s needed. Most troubling, it would allow patents on inventions even if the inventions do “not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that product.” This seems to go against the very purpose of patent law, but the USTR has already shown it couldn’t care much less than actually obeying the Constitutional underpinnings of patents or copyright law.
  • Continues the troubling and problematic idea that patents must be assumed valid, even if they were only briefly reviewed.
  • A requirement to forbid third party opposition of patent applications. This is particularly ridiculous. Allowing third parties to oppose patent applications (as is allowed with trademarks) would certainly help prevent some really bad patent applications from getting through. How can the USTR justify not allowing such a basic concept of letting third parties point out bad patents before they’re approved. Especially when you combine this with the “presumption of validity” in patents once granted, it looks like the USTR is trying to increase the rubber stamping of patent approvals.

It’s basically a checklist of how to make both copyright and patent law even more anti-innovation. It’s pretty much a travesty. No wonder the USTR didn’t want this to get out. It’s a joke, and they must have known that anyone who actually understands what this really means would laugh at this. That must be why the document is declared classified until four years after the TPP is agreed upon.

Declassify on: Four years from entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, four years from the close of the negotiations.

* This document must be protected from unauthorized disclosure, but may be mailed or transmitted over unclassified e-mail or fax, discussed over unsecured phone lines, and stored on unclassified computer systems. It must be stored in a locked or secured building, room, or container.

Oh yeah, as for things like consumer protections or safeguards for competition? KEI correctly summarizes that they are “weak, meak or missing.” That’s because this document isn’t about enabling competition, innovation or consumer benefit. It’s about helping out a few legacy companies who don’t want to compete, and who have plenty of job openings ready for the folks involved in these negotiations down the road.

If you find this to be a disgusting display of regulatory capture, done in secret, for the benefit of a few companies, against the basic principles of the free market and consumer rights, you should speak up. The EFF has put together details of which elected officials should be contacted to pressure the USTR to open up these proceedings and to hear from the public on their proposal. They’ve also set up a form to let you contact your elected official, though I recommend you write your own version of any letter, rather than sticking with the boilerplate. None of my elected representatives are on the target list, but if yours are, please contact them.

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Comments on “US Proposals For Secret TPP 'Son Of ACTA' Treaty Leaked; Chock Full Of Awful Ideas”

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52 Comments
G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They would also be liable for third Line Forcing under Australian Consumer and Trade laws which is only one of two criminal provisions in the act that is a jailable to any and all business entities (directors, managers, board members etc) who had knowledge of it

Also some of the provisions create a situation where the sovereignty of the country and citizenship is beholden to the USA Govt which I will be one of the the first Aussie’s and definately not the last to declare war on the USA. And no that’s not a joke. If the USG wants to associate us with terrorists for that. So be it.

Starman (user link) says:

Irrelevant

As these agencies create laws that are farther and farther away from what the average person considers reasonable the more irrelevant they become in the long run.

Everyone knows that the consumer is the grassroots part of any economic model and if the grass is not watered properly then it either dies or goes into conservation mode until better weather comes along.

Considering these rules are really not constitutional in our nation we can freely ignore them and other countries will ignore them the a greater or lesser degree as well.

What I see this as is yet another way for America to dictate to the rest of the world how trade will work. America, you do not have the right to dictate how the world economic model will evolve, you only have the right to your opinion.

Some of us here in America have already gotten over it and are happily planning a wonderful future in the current digital age of abundance and the coming real world age of abundance.

Tom Dial says:

Re: Irrelevant - not

Article VI: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Uncle Sam (profile) says:

The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

What this all comes down to is that many people get annoyed with efforts that would prevent then from getting music & movies for free. They hate copyright laws and anytime countries get together to stop them from infringement activities, the torches & pitchforks come out.

Is it any wonder these treaties are negotiated out of the limelight? Getting input from those who oppose copyright on principle would be a total waste of time. Because no amount of compromise would ever satisfy them.

crade (profile) says:

Re: The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

What this comes down to is people get anoyed when you fuck with shit that isn’t yours. Get your dirty ass hands out of our frickin soup! We’re trying to make a nice country over here, Uncle Sam. Can you stop “helping” us please? Don’t you have something to do in your own damn country?

Sargent Patent says:

Re: The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

Thank you! I’ve been saying this all along. It’s all those little geeks, with their “technology” and the internet that ruined the party.

That said, we’re currently working with Joe Bidden, who’s trying to convince Al Gore to uninvent the Internet. Thats right, our scientists have discovered the truth about piracy. As it turns out, the only way to win this war, is to shut down the internet. Many people forget that there was a time before the internet. It’s destroyed secrecy, it violated monopolies, exposed corruption and exultantly, the American way of life. It’s a tough row to hoe but I believe that with enough money and power we can send pirates back to bootlegging 8-tracks!

Zontar The Mindless says:

Re: The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

No, we simply think that there’s got to be a more egalitarian paradigm for compensating contributors to our culture than “Pay out the nose for each act of participation to some self-appointed gatekeeper who’s already got more money than most of us will see in any 5 lifetimes, or go to gaol.”

Fairness for creators, fairness for for those benefitting from their creations.

And diddley-squat for middlemen who are no longer wanted or needed.

Tom Dial says:

Re: The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”. There is no reasonable connection between that and securing to large corporations the right to the writings of authors who have been dead for going on 100 years. I expect that almost everyone would agree to copyrights with a lifetime of about one human generation.

unknown patriot says:

Re: The music & movie thieves don't want to be caught

Your an idiot, and please remove the uncle sam deal I guess your pay check i paid by some one that actually works so you work for us your cronie. Price fixing is not enforcement of patents, patents with no review has nothing to do with digital media. If the movie and music industry embrace the digital model and use something besides itunes and allow a free market of digital media to emarge then this would not ocur. There are already lawsfor copying digital content. The problem is since they are so ridiculous then you have problems enforcing them.

hmm (profile) says:

eternal circle..

TPP (which I assume stands for totally pissing-off people)
leaked….which means..OMG piracy!!!!

thats (/random) fifty five billion in lost erm..sales….or something…..

Aside from that, its actually (and this is serious) becoming risky for a consumer to even buy something legally…as there is a risk of getting sued by all these third-party liability wannabees.

OMG you bought film xyz….but we intend to sue the makers for infringement of our copyright (using light to make the actors visible)….and firstly you WATCHED the film….then you had the nerve to make a copy of it IN YOUR BRAIN….but you added some bits…so you created an illegal derivative work of what we consider to also be illegal.
Please pay us $1000 under the terms of the hollywood&rich people know best act or we will be forced to pretend to be cops and kick your door in and start confiscating things…..

btr1701 (profile) says:

Classified

> * This document must be protected from
> unauthorized disclosure, but may be mailed
> or transmitted over unclassified e-mail or
> fax, discussed over unsecured phone lines

Just a technical point, Mike. If the information can be transmitted over unencrypted lines or discussed outside of a SCIF, then it’s not classified.

This would be labeled “Sensitive But Unclassified” information, which is pretty common in the government. Most routine law enforcement information (criminal histories, raid plans, security assessments, etc.) are SBU information. Not classified, but not something you want to boradcast to the general public, either.

Anonymous Coward says:

More Of The Same

This is yet more of the pattern of providing corporate welfare at the expense of the consumer, by the USTR, that we have seen for many years. Did not the American people vote for change when they put in Obama? Where is it? Public servants are supposed to serve the public. Why is there no sanction against them when they fail to do so?

Josh Taylor says:

My points that they could add something to the TPP:

* It would require world governments to mandate Human DRM in a person’s brain, preventing him/her from thinking up their own ideas that would be copyright infringement. (Rev. 13:16-18)

* It would impose liability on phone companies, for dealing with people who’s been talking over the phone that Yes, Hollywood may finally be able to force Phone Companies to act as their Phone Police — something they haven’t thought of in a long time.

* Along those lines, there would be “legal incentives” for phone companies, businesses, to go above and beyond that in helping governments and Hollywood.

* World Governments would be required to put wireless surveillance cameras in every home and monitor their actions to make sure they obey Hollywood or be blacklisted from society if anything that citizen do is copyright. Everything we do in our everyday lives is illegal under the TPP.

* A requirement for the UN to ban human rights in favor of protecting copyrights. Allowing Hollywood and corporate businesses to let governments ban human rights certainly help prevent people from criticizing their products.

This is why I came, to get you all away from your corporate material necessities and into Jesus Christ and His Kingdom where corporate necessities do not exist. The end is near.

Dave (user link) says:

Crony capitalism?!

“Crony capitalism”?! My arse! This is what happens when governments are beholden to corporations and lobbyists, rather than the citizens they represent. The problem here isn’t so much the companies as it is the governments that are colluding with them. Were government not so quick to impose regulation on behalf of corporate interests, their desire for DRM enforcement would be little more than noise, and we could be customers instead of consumers.

Anonymous Coward says:

SAdly, Benjamin Franklin devoted many decades of his life trying to be a loyal British citizen while fighting constantly for what was right and fair before he “turned traitor” and joined the revolutionaries of the time.

I wonder if he would weep openly upon seeing the country he helped form repeat almost the same oppressions he spent 30-some years fighting against.

These days you always here comparisons to Nazi-this or Nazi-that, but for anyone who wants a much better picture of the economic and political climate in modern America they just need a good book of colonial America between 1750-1775.

gggggggg aw (user link) says:

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