This Is Not Transparency: TPP Delegates Refuses To Reveal Text, Refuse To Discuss Leaked Text

from the massive-fail dept

The folks over at the EFF have a decent summary of the travesty that was the “stakeholder” events at the latest TPP negotiating round, in which various groups (on all sides) were supposedly given an “opportunity” to express their thoughts on the TPP. We’ve already discussed some other aspects of it, but the one thing that the EFF writeup makes clear, is that the whole thing is a complete joke. The text, of course, remains “secret,” and negotiators flat out refuse to discuss any points raised about the various leaked texts:

The stakeholder engagement events in the morning were followed by a stakeholder briefing in the afternoon. The briefing allowed registered individuals from civil society and the public to ask questions of and make comments to eight out of the nine negotiators who represent a TPP country. The press was barred from the room. Roughly 25 people rose from the audience to ask questions to the trade delegates during the 90-minute briefing period. As predicted, they were not transparent about the talks, revealed little new information, and delegates also refused to make any comments based on leaked version of texts—the only text EFF and other public interest organizations have had access to. It is difficult for public stakeholders to ask accurate questions or receive any substantive answers when the content of the agreement continues to be shrouded in secrecy.

Rossini asked the USTR about its claims that the TPP’s intellectual property chapter will provide for fair use in its IP chapter, and how those public statements starkly contrast with the recent leaked TPP chapter that shows that the US delegation is in fact pushing for provisions that will restrict non-US countries from enacting fair use. Further, they neglected to comment on the fact that the leaked test has the potential to limit US fair use to the three-step test restrictions. In response, the lead negotiator for the USTR dodged the question and stated that they would not comment on issues raised by text EFF has “purportedly” received. The representative did acknowledge that fair use would be discussed during the week’s meetings.

This is not “transparency,” no matter how many times the USTR claims that they have “unprecedented” levels of transparency around the TPP negotiations. If negotiators won’t share what they’re even negotiating, and won’t respond to any questions related to the actual text that’s leaked, the only thing you can discuss are vague generalities not found in the leaked documents. That’s insane. And because of that, the negotiators are focused on ridiculous ideas. For example, the EFF writeup notes that negotiators were asked how they could justify negotiating expansive copyright laws in secret after seeing what happened with SOPA and ACTA… and the response revealed just how out of touch the negotiators are. They don’t even realize that the DMCA is controversial:

The last question of the briefing came from EFF’s International Intellectual Property Coordinator, Maira Sutton, who raised from the crowd and asked the lead negotiator how they justify pushing for ever more restrictive copyright laws in the agreement even though it has become clear, with the defeat of ACTA in Europe, that users are sick and tired of international agreements regulating their Internet through overprotective intellectual property provisions… In response, the lead negotiator for the US stated that the standard for copyright regulation in international agreements has been the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They claimed that the DMCA was legislated fairly and is an effective model for copyright enforcement in the US. The representatives’ answer contradicted the fact that EFF and others have been arguing for years that the DMCA is fraught with problems. Sutton responded that based upon what we saw in the recent leaked text on fair use, developing countries would not be able to implement such copyright laws as soundly given that the three-step test language restricts signatory nations from determining and establishing fair use as they see fit.

So, the end result is that we have a completely secret back-room process, where the USTR pretends to listen to the public, but won’t talk to them about what’s in the actual negotiations, and refuses to comment on the little we actually know is in the document thanks to leaks. And because of that, we have completely clueless negotiators pushing something they think is sensible, totally ignorant of the reality.

This could be solved pretty easily: make the US positions and negotiating documents public and allow public comment on them. The USTR still hasn’t given a reason why this can’t be done. Though, the answer seems kind of obvious: actually being transparent would mean having to listen to the public and various experts point out where they’re completely clueless. If USTR negotiators are so insecure in their positions, they shouldn’t be in that job.

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Comments on “This Is Not Transparency: TPP Delegates Refuses To Reveal Text, Refuse To Discuss Leaked Text”

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198 Comments
average_joe (profile) says:

This could be solved pretty easily: make the US positions and negotiating documents public and allow public comment on them. The USTR still hasn’t given a reason why this can’t be done. Though, the answer seems kind of obvious: actually being transparent would mean having to listen to the public and various experts point out where they’re completely clueless. If USTR negotiators are so insecure in their positions, they shouldn’t be in that job.

That’s pretty much my frustration with you. You refuse to discuss publicly and openly your personal beliefs about copyright and piracy. Being transparent about your beliefs would mean opening them up to scrutiny. It would mean pinning you down on specifics. If you’re so insecure about your beliefs about copyright and piracy, maybe your job shouldn’t be running a blog where the topic of discussion is frequently copyright and piracy. Funny that.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ask him any simple, direct question such as: “Mike, do you think any parts of copyright law are ‘good’? If so, which parts?” You will not get an answer.

He’ll write incessantly about copyright law, but if you ask him a simple, direct question about his beliefs he’ll have a million excuses but no answers. It’s quite remarkable.

RD says:

Re: Re:

“It would mean pinning you down on specifics. If you’re so insecure about your beliefs about copyright and piracy, maybe your job shouldn’t be running a blog where the topic of discussion is frequently copyright and piracy. Funny that.”

Maybe if you don’t like it, you can start your OWN blog and fill it with your counter arguments. You have JUST AS MUCH RIGHT to start a blog and write whatever you want on it as Mike does. He created his own job, and doesn’t need some snot nosed punk ass kid who hasn’t accomplished a single god damn useful thing in his short and useless life so far to question the fitness of working at his own job.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s just simply not true. He refuses to have a straightforward, direct discussion about his beliefs with me or any other detractors.

I’m here to have meaningful discussions about issues, and I back up what I say. Here’s a recent post where I think the comments were quite productive: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120914/05442020382/dutch-court-says-linking-can-be-form-copyright-infringement.shtml

Several people challenged me on a bunch of different stuff, and I was glad to explain myself as best I could. I’d love to have a similarly productive conversation with Mike, but all he has are excuses…

Oh well, I’m signing off for the night.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

aj isn’t interested in Mike’s answer, which Mike has given numerous times. No, aj is only interested in aj’s answer to aj’s question to Mike.

In short, aj is a troll. aj isn’t interested in debate. aj isn’t interested in thoughtful discussion about any subject whatsoever other than Mike’s refusal to answer aj’s question exactly as aj wants it answered.

As is evidenced by his nifty new avatar, complete with his initials in the middle, aj is the center of attention. The star of the show. I’m waiting on his new avatar that graphically illustrates the known universe, with this star avatar right in the middle. Then he’ll be the center of the universe.

But, where the USTR fails, aj succeeds. aj is as transparent as they come. We can all see right through him.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

As is evidenced by his nifty new avatar, complete with his initials in the middle, aj is the center of attention. The star of the show. I’m waiting on his new avatar that graphically illustrates the known universe, with this star avatar right in the middle. Then he’ll be the center of the universe.

At least until (is it Carls Jr.?) catches up with him. Looks a lot like their star branded fast food stuff.

eeewww

Rekrul says:

Maybe people should just start making up their own version of TPP and report it as fact. This would have one of two outcomes;

1. People would get so worked up about the FAKE TPP reports that they would protest enough to get the real TPP killed.

2. The USTR would have to come clean about what’s actually in the text in order to refute the fake reports.

If they want to play dirty, everyone else should too.

I’ll start;

TPP requires mandatory one-year jail sentences for any accusation of copyright infringement.

TPP makes generic drugs illegal.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I assume we’re aiming for out there claims that still sound like something that could come from the TPP people? In that case, here’s mine:

-Writing/composing a song will be illegal without a fee being paid to the mandatory collection agency, which each country will be obliged to fund, via taxes.

-Copyrights are no longer able to be owned by an individual, but instead require ‘sponsorship’ by an approved company, which requires handing over all right to said company.

-In the same vein as the last one, copyrights durations are no longer based upon a person’s lifetime, but rather the ‘sponsoring’ company’s, and are transferable at will between companies. While a company that ‘dies’ loses all legal rights with regards to their portfolio of copyrights, they immediately, and retroactively, are enforceable as soon as a new company claims them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Moderated?

Not sure what you are talking about…but every Anonymous Coward and probably many more who use some ‘name’ are not logged in. Is your comment missing? Do you think that someone changed something in your post? Do you think that the few people that work at Techdirt actually have time to read posts as they are posted and change them?

Try posting whatever your comment was again. Sometimes Internet connections screw up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Moderated?

Hmmm. Might be the link. Some systems have an automated flag for links. Got through that time, and it is relevant! Not sure if AJ actually speaks it though…

Interesting side note from a book by Robert L. Glass called Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering: paraphrased; software is the only language where people are taught to write the language without learning to read it.

Maybe AJ is part of this conundrum!

Anonymous Coward says:

I heard that TPP requires sacraficing puppies and enslaving children and 'non-creative' types...

So I heard that as part of the TPP, negotiating parties have to sacrifice puppies as part of the pledging ceremony to be allowed to participate…

You don’t believe me? Has ANYONE who has not sacrificed a puppy been able to see the TPP documents? Of those who have seen the ACTUAL documents (not leaks, the official documents), can you prove with 100% certifiable proof (none of this ‘under perjury’ wording crap) that you have not sacrificed a puppy? I don’t believe you, and I claim that you have sacrificed a puppy…

Seems silly doesn’t it, but how do we know?

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t know why you continue to pretend to not understand the way treaties and diplomacy works. The negotiators make the best deal they can, then it gets voted on by those bodies with oversight in the countries participating.

Crowdsourcing of trade agreements has not yet become de rigeur.

I don’t know what the crying over the three part test is, it’s already a part of TRIPS and hasn’t seemed to have been much of an issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No one is saying that we “crowdsource” the trade agreement. We’re just asking for the perfectly reasonable request that the US’s position in the negotiations be stated publicly.

Really? To what end? Be honest, you seek to know the US position on the copyright chapter only. And the reason you want to know is so you can bring pressure to affect the US position. You are no different than any other special interest. There are thousands of special interest groups who seek to shape US position on the various chapters. The USTR is well aware of what the anti-copyright community wants. All of the special interests have had adequate opportunity to advocate their positions and make their wants known. Denying you [piracy apologists] a fully-articulated chapter denies you the ability to inflame the populace with the same sort of lies and propaganda you used to defeat SOPA. TPP won’t sent Bieber to prison or break the internet. USTR will be working on this treaty for another year or more and is not going to provide real-time updates of drafts to help amplify the voice of special interests, It’s like any other trade agreement, the negotiators come up with the best deal they can and the legislators vote it up or down. That is the way trade agreements work. I get that you don’t like it and are attacking the process as a vehicle for attacking the substance of the copyright chapter.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

TPP won’t sent Bieber to prison or break the internet.

So you’ve seen the real text? So the leak is just some made up material?

But no, you are just another troll, seemingly a friend of our obnoxious aj. It is obvious to any rational person that what Mike is criticizing from the start: the secrecy around a treaty that will probably even require changes to the law and affect everyday life. The draft is scary, it’s out of touch with reality, it’s draconian. How do you expect us not to be worried? IT IS DAMN SECRET.

the negotiators come up with the best deal they can

I work in an environmental agency. When we draft environmental permits or even legislation proposals we tend to hear from the industry itself, the researchers and the public. There needs to be a balance. Now imagine if we conducted everything in secret with input only from the industry. You’d probably be drinking aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons by now. This is the way ANY treaty that involves the public work, EVERYBODY has the chance to speak and be heard. That’s not what’s happening in TPP.

Also, Mike criticized many parts related to what we see in the blog, including medicine patents and how the treaty fucks up the poorer countries in that issue. This is just one example that debunks your copyright argument.

Now please, go die in your cave.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

TPP won’t sent Bieber to prison or break the internet.

So you’ve seen the real text? So the leak is just some made up material?

Assume for the sake of argument that the text is legit. How does it send Justin Bieber to prison or break the internet?

But no, you are just another troll, seemingly a friend of our obnoxious aj.

Is everyone who represents a point of view opposed to your own a troll? I have no idea who AJ is, other than someone who also generally opposes your viewpoint.

It is obvious to any rational person that what Mike is criticizing from the start: the secrecy around a treaty that will probably even require changes to the law and affect everyday life.

Where in the leaked draft would it require changes in US law? In the case of other countries, I respectfully suggest that they need to evaluate the pluses and minuses of the implications of all of the chapter provisions and decide what is in the best interests of their own country.

The draft is scary, it’s out of touch with reality, it’s draconian. How do you expect us not to be worried? IT IS DAMN SECRET.

“the negotiators come up with the best deal they can”

I work in an environmental agency. When we draft environmental permits or even legislation proposals we tend to hear from the industry itself, the researchers and the public. There needs to be a balance. Now imagine if we conducted everything in secret with input only from the industry. You’d probably be drinking aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons by now. This is the way ANY treaty that involves the public work, EVERYBODY has the chance to speak and be heard. That’s not what’s happening in TPP.

I don’t see how you can compare your cloistered world with an international trade agreement. At the end of the day, the legislators of 9 countries will accept or reject a package or provisions making up the treaty. EVERYBODY has the chance to speak and be heard. EVERYBODY does NOT have the ability to negotiate their interests with the USTR.

Also, Mike criticized many parts related to what we see in the blog, including medicine patents and how the treaty fucks up the poorer countries in that issue. This is just one example that debunks your copyright argument.

This is why I hate dealing with rubes like you. A trade agreement is a compromise among competing interests and countries. A country need to decide whether the package is a net positive or not. If it is, presumably they’ll sign. If not, they’ll pass. No one gets to cherry-pick what they like and ignore what they don’t like. Masnick attacks the process as a surrogate for an attack on the substance. So do other special interests. And it makes sense. No special interest wants to have itself balanced against other unrelated interests and considered in the “greater good” equation. They all want to have very a specific examination of their issue without other unrelated interests clouding the discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Sorry, I missed the response to this:

The draft is scary, it’s out of touch with reality, it’s draconian. How do you expect us not to be worried? IT IS DAMN SECRET.

How is it scary or out of touch with reality? It looks to me to be consistent with TRIPS and KORUS. If it didn’t require a change in US law, would you still be scared? Would you accept it?

Lowestofthekeys (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Assume for the sake of argument that the text is legit. How does it send Justin Bieber to prison or break the internet? “

It’s not specifically related to either of those issues, but here’s a list of issues brought up by the leaked proposal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Strategic_Economic_Partnership):

The Office of the United States Trade Representative proposal for the TPP intellectual property chapter would:

Include a number of features that would lock-in as a global norm many controversial features of U.S. law, such as endless copyright terms.

Create new global norms that are contrary to U.S. legal traditions, such as those proposed to damages for infringement, the enforcement of patents against surgeons and other medical professional, rules concerning patents on biologic medicines etc.

Undermine many proposed reforms of the patent and copyright system, such as, for example, proposed legislation to increase access to orphaned copyrighted works by limiting damages for infringement, or statutory exclusions of “non-industrial” patents such as those issued for business methods.

Eliminate any possibility of parallel trade in copyrighted books, journals, sheet music, sound recordings, computer programs, and audio and visual works.

Require criminal enforcement for technological measures beyond WIPO Internet Treaties, even when there is not copyright infringement, impose a legal regime of ISP liability beyond the DMCA standards.

Require legal incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in deterring the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials.

Require identifying internet users for any ISP, going beyond U.S. case law, includes the text of the controversial US/KOREA side letter on shutting down web sites.

Require adopting compensation for infringement without actual damages.

Require criminal punishment of commercial and non-commercial copyright and trademark infringement.

So this is what the public thinks the TPP could do. If these are untrue and the proposal reflects this, wouldn’t it be wise on the part of the USTR to address these concerns?

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“I don’t know why you continue to pretend to not understand the way treaties and diplomacy works.”

And I don’t know why you continue to pretend to not understand that the public has grown sick and tired the way treaties and diplomacy works.

Governments are supposed to be negotiating for what’s best for their country, but it’s pretty obvious they’re negotiating for what’s best for the companies that spend millions on lobbying them. Just like in past international agreements, the public’s needs come last and they get shafted.

Unfortunately the worldwide communications platform that is the Internet is making it much easier for the public to discuss these treaties, and we want to know what’s going in them and how it will directly affect us. It’s telling that you think this is a bad thing. Are you one of those under a bit more public scrutiny these days?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Governments are supposed to be negotiating for what’s best for their country, but it’s pretty obvious they’re negotiating for what’s best for the companies that spend millions on lobbying them.

It’s a trade agreement. The focus is on trade and it’s not illogical that the position of US companies engaged in trade are emphasized. What if I told you that no US copyright law would change? Would that shut you up?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What if I told you that no US copyright law would change? Would that shut you up?

No.

You assume that US copyright law is some perfect model we want other countries to have.

It will make it harder to fix the utterly broken, utterly insane copyright law we have.

I *want* copyright law to change. I want some sanity in it, a law that an average person can understand, and one that reflects reality as it exists today.

zegota (profile) says:

Dude...

I normally like your reporting, even if I sometime disagree with your conclusions. But define your damn acronyms. I had to jump to other publications to find out what the hell was going on, and … isn’t that sort of the opposite of what most journalists are going for?

EFF (I know that one, but still), TPP, USTR, SOPA, ACTA, DMCA (the linked article defines that one, imagine that). FFS, IDK WTF.

Chilly8 says:

I hate to say this, but TPP could be the end of the United States. I would not be surprised if some states seceded from the Union over this.

Texas has a pretty large tech industry. If this goes through, I think Texas might well secede from the Union, as well as possibly Oregon and Washington.

I do think the we could well see a Repubic Of Cascadia come into being consisting or BC, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

You watch, if this goes through, TPP will be the beginning of the end of the United States.

I could see Ron Wyden as president of Cascadia, and telling the remaining USA to piss up a rope, when it comes to TPP, ACTA, DMCA, and the like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I hate to say this, but TPP could be the end of the United States. I would not be surprised if some states seceded from the Union over this.

Texas has a pretty large tech industry. If this goes through, I think Texas might well secede from the Union, as well as possibly Oregon and Washington.

I do think the we could well see a Repubic Of Cascadia come into being consisting or BC, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

You watch, if this goes through, TPP will be the beginning of the end of the United States.

I could see Ron Wyden as president of Cascadia, and telling the remaining USA to piss up a rope, when it comes to TPP, ACTA, DMCA, and the like.

There are medications that can help you. Please seek them out before it’s too late.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

asking for it

The rich are supposedly very tasty with a little barbeque sauce and cilantro.

I am told.

There are only a few things left that are not wholly-owned by the 0.1%. One of them is your ability to read and write and communicate, and they’re attempting a hostile takeover of that, too.

I don’t think it’s a good plan to wait until everything is locked down before we make a very strenuous case. Polite expressions of outrage and putting your objections on the record will not get the job done. Seriously.

There has to be an organized socio-economic response to demonstrate the willingness and the ability to hit them in their pocketbooks.

Seegras (profile) says:

Public Enemy

There is no reason per se to withold anything related to TPP from the public. Unless you view the public (and congress!) as the enemy. And if you do so, this makes you the enemy of the people, and by extension, the enemy of the state.

The USTR is thus an enemy of the state. I still wonder why the responsible people within the USTR haven’t been arrested for treason.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Public Enemy

There is no reason per se to withold anything related to TPP from the public. Unless you view the public (and congress!) as the enemy. And if you do so, this makes you the enemy of the people, and by extension, the enemy of the state.

The USTR is thus an enemy of the state. I still wonder why the responsible people within the USTR haven’t been arrested for treason.

And you wonder why people laugh at you…..

Anonymous Coward says:

So, the end result is that we have a completely secret back-room process, where the USTR pretends to listen to the public, but won’t talk to them about what’s in the actual negotiations, and refuses to comment on the little we actually know is in the document thanks to leaks.

The USTR has no duty to negotiate its position with special interests. It provides opportunity for special interests to make their views known, but the actual negotiation takes place with other countries who have heard from their own special interests. The reason they don’t crowd source the treaties and conduct negotiations in private is that there are tradeoffs. They don’t want to have to fight the political battle on every single detail of every last chapter of the agreement. Instead, they hear the position of the special interests, represent them consistent with overall US trade policy goals and craft a package of provisions that are voted up or down. The political battle then becomes over the entire package, rather than specific provisions of numerous chapters. And special interests hate it because other concerns from different sectors are considered rather than their own concerns being examined alone. Environmental considerations are balanced against worker safety. Copyright is tempered by provisions in pharma. You want to fight over specific language in a specific chapter just like all of the other special interest groups. That’s simply not going to happen. Your concerns will be heard and balanced and tempered by all of the other competing concerns in the full array of the trade agreement.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The USTR has no duty to negotiate its position with special interests.

It’s not special interests, it’s the damn public. You know, the ones they should be serving as an elected Government?

The reason they don’t crowd source

It’s not crowdsourcing, it’s making the negotiations public. As they should be.

Copyright is tempered by provisions in pharma

Now you are mixing copyright and patents?

You want to fight over specific language

He can’t even fight on that because the text is SECRET.

Your concerns will be heard and balanced and tempered by all of the other competing concerns in the full array of the trade agreement.

Except that how can we know what is of concern if the damn thing I SECRET.

Moron.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“The USTR has no duty to negotiate its position with special interests.”

It’s not special interests, it’s the damn public. You know, the ones they should be serving as an elected Government?

No it is special interests. All of the groups named on the infamous Google shill list were there. Are you seriously suggesting that EFF represents the entire point of view of the American public? They sure as hell don’t represent me and I’m a member of the public. It is impossible for any named group to represent the totality of the public. EFF has an agenda just like MPAA has one. And like EFF and MPAA, any member of the public is free to individually comment and raise his concerns to the USTR.

“The reason they don’t crowd source”

It’s not crowdsourcing, it’s making the negotiations public. As they should be.

What is your purpose in making negotiations public? I’d suggest it is not for the purpose of informing but to provide an opportunity for political pressure to be brought to bear on the IP chapter.

“Copyright is tempered by provisions in pharma”

Now you are mixing copyright and patents?

No, what I’m saying is that a “get” in patents might be offset by a “give” in environment or copyright or labor standards. TPP is a package.

“You want to fight over specific language”

He can’t even fight on that because the text is SECRET.

Masnick attacks secrecy as a surrogate for attacking IP protection. He knows he can’t negotiate the IP chapter so he attacks the process of creating the agreement. Nine countries will either vote their participation up or down based on the totality of the agreement. At the point the negotiators have reached the best deal they feel they can, then the respective legislators will decide.

“Your concerns will be heard and balanced and tempered by all of the other competing concerns in the full array of the trade agreement.”

Except that how can we know what is of concern if the damn thing I SECRET.

When the deal is done, final drafts will be released and it will be voted on. There will be plenty of time for you to contact your representative and let them know your opinion. The negotiators have heard the concerns of all of the special interests and have factored them into the equation, tempered by their own nation’s trade policy.

Lowestofthekeys (profile) says:

Re: Re:

” They don’t want to have to fight the political battle on every single detail of every last chapter of the agreement. “

So…then, are you saying this makes it okay for them not to reveal details that the public needs to know about in regard to the TPP?

The main problem Mike is pointing out here is that there is a lack of communication. If they take issue with having to mass revise the TPP due to the concerns of the special interest groups, why even bother giving into their demands for a public discussion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So…then, are you saying this makes it okay for them not to reveal details that the public needs to know about in regard to the TPP?

That’s right. The public doesn’t negotiate or vote on trade agreements. Their representatives do. At such time when the complete agreement is finalized, the details will be released and the countries representatives will vote up or down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

What if I told you that no US copyright law would change? Would that shut you up?

No.

You assume that US copyright law is some perfect model we want other countries to have.

It will make it harder to fix the utterly broken, utterly insane copyright law we have.

I *want* copyright law to change. I want some sanity in it, a law that an average person can understand, and one that reflects reality as it exists today.

This is exactly what I believed. Copyright opponents see TPP as a vehicle to roll back existing copyright protections. So you attack “secrecy” to mask the true agenda of rolling back current protections. It’s never been about concerns that copyright would grow, because there’s no suggestion that would happen. It’s all about trying to roll it back. And while most piracy apologists aren’t stupid enough to admit this, don’t think for a minute that the true motives aren’t apparent to everyone.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re:

Yeah, only for us to be brushed off. And I seriously doubt that any representatives (didn’t you get the quotations?) is going to see any final drafts once negotiations are done. That really doesn’t reassure me that things are going to be better.

We need to know what is going on. How can we know if they are not letting us know what’s going on behind those doors?!

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

Maybe. The broken points could be challenged by the laws and the Constitution (not that it matters to the US Govt, they regularly violate their laws and Constitution now). The issue is that at least in the patent and copyright issues the laws are incredibly bad and the system broken.

But in the end it doesn’t matter, even if they swear under perjury or whatever you say that no law will be modified it is still a secret. Would you sign a secret contract with me if I told you that I’m not gonna screw you in the process? I thought not.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re:

What is your purpose in making negotiations public?

Well it’s not Ninja’s purpose, but if they make the negotiations public, then the public can talk about how they feel about TPP before this could be made into law. If the public has an input, there wouldn’t be these chapters that could be hazardous in the future.

When the deal is done, final drafts will be released and it will be voted on.

And then what? It could be too late for the public to have an input on what should be added or remove, and we have to fight to prevent such a deal from passing into law. We need to know what is in the deal before it is finalize and before someone has a chance to vote for it. We need to know these things! How can we do it without any true information about what’s going in it!?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

Copyright opponents see TPP as a vehicle to roll back existing copyright protections.

What? That is nothing even remotely close to what I said. Also, I don’t speak for every “copyright opponent” out there. We don’t get memos on talking points. I speak for myself and no one else.

I don’t see TPP as something that will roll back protections, I see it as a treaty being negotiated secretly against the public in favor of copyright maximalist corporations. The concern about copyright growing is absolutely true – because the treaty is a secret – we don’t know what is in it and have to assume the worst based on our experiences on similar secretive treaties like ACTA. I want TPP killed dead. Deader than ACTA. Deader than SOPA. Once it’s dead, and any others that crop up to replace it, maybe, just maybe, we can get our elected representatives to stop paying attention to lobbyists and fix the insanity of copyright law.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

Let us complement Lowestofthekeys post.

I don’t see how you can compare your cloistered world with an international trade agreement. At the end of the day, the legislators of 9 countries will accept or reject a package or provisions making up the treaty. EVERYBODY has the chance to speak and be heard. EVERYBODY does NOT have the ability to negotiate their interests with the USTR.

That’s NOT what is happening. Or at least we can’t know that it’s happening, we don’t know if the draft is the real thing and we don’t know how it’s been changed so far. While I do agree that it’s impossible to have an open negotiation where any1 can input, it must be a PUBLIC discussion where the most problematic items will be addressed by the public (or even protested) and should be addressed by the Government. It’s like we often discuss here in TD concerning copyright. Contrary to your strawmen quite a few of us believe copyright should exist (I support copyright as means to avoid commercial exploitation in a very narrow definition). The 1976 copyright act (as well as the DMCA) were heavily imbalanced towards the studios/labels, the public and the artists (not the huge stars but the everyday indie artists) were left out or mostly out. That’s what’s happening here. It’s not that we want to have the last word in every single aspect of TPP, we are asking for more transparency and to be heard in our concerns. If they can hear the industry why not hear the public?

Maybe if it wasn’t secret we’d be having a less ethereal discussion.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

The USTR is well aware of what the anti-copyright community wants. All of the special interests have had adequate opportunity to advocate their positions and make their wants known.

First of all, if it thinks the complaints are from the “anti-copyright community,” then, no, it does not know what we’re talking about. Second, its statements (even the ones highlighted in this article) suggest that it does not understand the issues or the concerns at all.

So, uh, no. You’re wrong. Again.

Denying you [piracy apologists] a fully-articulated chapter denies you the ability to inflame the populace with the same sort of lies and propaganda you used to defeat SOPA.

Of course you — a person who makes his living in the backrooms — finds public participation offensive to your livelihood. Most people recognize it was not “lies and propaganda” that stopped SOPA, but a little sunlight on the lies and propaganda you yourself were responsible for.

That’s what you’re scared of. You know that when the public sees the crap you’re trying to pull, they’ll speak out. And you can’t have that.

How do you look at yourself in the morning and call yourself an American, when you seek to use a backroom meeting to deny Americans’ rights?

Sickening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Yeah, only for us to be brushed off. And I seriously doubt that any representatives (didn’t you get the quotations?) is going to see any final drafts once negotiations are done. That really doesn’t reassure me that things are going to be better.

You really don’t know how this works do you? Are you seriously suggesting that a treaty will be implemented without any of the countries legislatures seeing a final draft?

We need to know what is going on. How can we know if they are not letting us know what’s going on behind those doors?!

That’s not your job. Nor is it your job to sit in with the Joint Chiefs of Staff when they meet.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

The USTR has no duty to negotiate its position with special interests.

And yet… all they seem to talk to are special interests in the industry. Funny that.

No one is asking them to “negotiate with special interests.” We’re asking them to actually reveal what the fuck they’re negotiating with THE PUBLIC.

The reason they don’t crowd source the treaties and conduct negotiations in private is that there are tradeoffs. They don’t want to have to fight the political battle on every single detail of every last chapter of the agreement.

Bullshit. And you know it or you’re really clueless. Lots of international agreements have the negotiating positions discussed publicly. That’s not “crowdsourcing” so drop that silly claim. It’s about government actually letting people know what it’s doing in their name.

And I find it telling that you think responding to the public is “fighting every political battle.” Shows what contempt you have for the public as you serve your corporate masters.

Your concerns will be heard and balanced and tempered by all of the other competing concerns in the full array of the trade agreement.

How can they be heard when only one group of special interests actually gets to see the language?

That’s the problem. I have no problem with USTR hearing from special interests. My problem is that the public does not appear to be a “special interest” at all and they don’t get to be heard from. The only people who the USTR hears from are corporate interests.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Representatives will see TPP when it’s near final form and ready for countries to vote on. At that point the public will have yet another opportunity to have their voices heard.

In other words, by the time the text is revealed, it’s too late to fix all the crap you and your friends put in there, because it will already be the “final” text and you won’t allow them to reopen negotiations.

You know that’s how the game is played because your bosses have played that game for decades.

You’re just upset that the public is on to you.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re:

No, I don’t know how things work. I am an idiot who want to know what is going on behind closed doors and learn what is happening to… well, let’s say my country. I’m not sure to call it “our country” since I don’t know where you are or your identity, nor do I care about those facts. Aside from that, can’t I ask questions to things I don’t know? Is that so wrong of me to do so? You appear to be an expert in this sort of thing, so please enlighten me on what you know.

Yes, it’s not my job to sit at meetings so pointless we shouldn’t be having at all. But again, it’ll be nice to know what is going on so that way we can have some input into what TPP is all about?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

This is exactly what I believed. Copyright opponents see TPP as a vehicle to roll back existing copyright protections. So you attack “secrecy” to mask the true agenda of rolling back current protections. It’s never been about concerns that copyright would grow, because there’s no suggestion that would happen. It’s all about trying to roll it back.

Suggesting that there are problems with today’s copyright law that the TPP will lock in (and force upon other countries) is not about using the TPP to roll back copyright protections. No one has suggested that at all.

That said, I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that we would like to try to improve copyright law from its current broken situation. But I don’t think anyone believes the TPP is the vehicle to do that.

Why do you make stuff up the second anyone calls you on your bullshit?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

All of the groups named on the infamous Google shill list were there. Are you seriously suggesting that EFF represents the entire point of view of the American public? […] It is impossible for any named group to represent the totality of the public. EFF has an agenda just like MPAA has one. And like EFF and MPAA, any member of the public is free to individually comment and raise his concerns to the USTR.

Let me start by stating that I don’t believe any sane discussion can be conducted with some1 that thinks Google is the master of universe and all those groups somewhat represent it. You grossly and possibly intentionally misinterpreted the list and the context the list was delivered and you are using this to attack every single group regardless of their intent. But I’m still gonna comment for the sake of discussion with TD community, enlightenment and my own development.

I’m not suggesting EFF represents every1. As you wisely said there are MANY groups that represents quite the slice of the public. And it’s pretty interesting when you say EFF has their agenda just like the MPAA so I’m gonna ask you: why is the MPAA allowed in the process but EFF is not? (same question is valid to the other groups questioning TPP secrecy).

What is your purpose in making negotiations public? I’d suggest it is not for the purpose of informing but to provide an opportunity for political pressure to be brought to bear on the IP chapter.

It is not MY purpose. It’s the obvious and proper thing to do with something that affects everyone. If public pressure mounts then it’s because the thing is broken as SOPA was. And please, Mr Google-hater, Google itself joined much later in the process. The whole thing started in Reddit. So unless you are telling me that Reddit dozen employees have that much power then we should be discussing the Reddit shill list, not Google.

Masnick attacks secrecy…

This paragraph is so fucked up I won’t reproduce it. But you see, the point is WHO is negotiating? Countries (possibly) but based on WHAT the countries are having this negotiation? How were the points of the negotiation built up? That’s the problem, we know by now that the MAFIAA and the big Pharmaceuticals(for instance) had their input. Why not the public?

When the deal is done, final drafts will be released and it will be voted on…

Again, with all the input from the MAFIAA etc and no input from the public. Wouldn’t you expect a huge ACTA style protest when the deal proves to be absurdly imbalanced towards the only ones that had their say?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

You acknowledge that the TPP’s IP chapter could affect the domestic copyright laws and state that no one has suggested it at all?

Have you not read any of the advocacy on the IP chapter by anti-copyright groups? If adopted, it would-exactly as you admit- lock in IP protection roll backs.

But I don’t think anyone believes the TPP is the vehicle to do that.

Why then are changes being advocated by piracy apologist groups that would use TPP to do precisely that?

You’re a smart guy Masnick. But this is a lot of double talk and you know it. And I don’t understand why you won’t admit it. This is exactly what I’d be doing if I were on your side- using a trade agreement to force changes I wanted in domestic law that would not otherwise be possible. Your side has lots of very smart, politically-savvy people and they’re advancing their agenda using every means available. I don’t see what you gain by pretending, it’s a good move. I just don’t think it will work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Bullshit. And you know it or you’re really clueless. Lots of international agreements have the negotiating positions discussed publicly. That’s not “crowdsourcing” so drop that silly claim. It’s about government actually letting people know what it’s doing in their name.

I think the problem you have is where on the timeline that disclosure happens. You want it now, so you can bring political pressure to bear on specific provisions and specific language. The negotiators want to disclose down the road when consensus on all chapters is reached and it is time for countries to ratify the package.

That’s the problem. I have no problem with USTR hearing from special interests. My problem is that the public does not appear to be a “special interest” at all and they don’t get to be heard from. The only people who the USTR hears from are corporate interests.

The public is free to provide input, just like special interest groups. By definition no special interest group truly speaks for the public. You may believe that EFF represents the “public” but I don’t and they don’t speak for me. So for the “public” to be involved, they need to contact USTR directly and have had that opportunity.

nasch says:

Re:

But this is a lot of double talk and you know it. And I don’t understand why you won’t admit it. This is exactly what I’d be doing if I were on your side- using a trade agreement to force changes I wanted in domestic law that would not otherwise be possible. Your side has lots of very smart, politically-savvy people and they’re advancing their agenda using every means available.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. And the EFF is manipulating the TPP negotiations to scale back copyright law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And what gives the USTR the authority to negotiate copyright at all, right now? I don’t believe congress has extended the executive any permission to negotiate these sort of agreements within the last 5 years.
And to not even show and consult with congress regarding the IP sections shows a complete lack of respect for bounds of authority.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And what gives the USTR the authority to negotiate copyright at all, right now? I don’t believe congress has extended the executive any permission to negotiate these sort of agreements within the last 5 years.
And to not even show and consult with congress regarding the IP sections shows a complete lack of respect for bounds of authority.

They’re not negotiating domestic copyright law per se. Once the treaty is negotiated, depending on the country and provisions- the legislative branch may have to amend their laws to comply with the requirements of the treaty. This only happens if they first believe that there’s enough “good” in the agreement to benefit their country and ratify it.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

This is exactly what I’d be doing if I were on your side- using a trade agreement to force changes I wanted in domestic law that would not otherwise be possible.

Wait.

Fact: One of the big suspicions over TPP is that it is a secretive trade agreement to push through unpopular changes to copyright law.

Fact: You’re accusing Mike of wanting to use TPP to get changes to domestic law that would not be possible to get passed (they would get killed off by lobbying groups).

Fact: You admitted that you would use the TPP in just such a way.

So basically you’ve confirmed the suspicions over TPP. Way to go. You’ve surely eased the suspicions.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re:

You want it now, so you can bring political pressure to bear on specific provisions and specific language. The negotiators want to disclose down the road when consensus on all chapters is reached and it is time for countries to ratify the package.

And once they do ratify it, it’ll be too late to make any changes and we’re stuck with a bill with chapters and guidelines the public will hate. There are plenty of reasons why we need to have it now so that we can discuss what we want and how it will benefit the public, instead of these interest groups deciding what’s best for us.

And I’ll be willing to call the USTR… do you have Ron Kirk’s personal number so I can call him?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

I think the problem you have is where on the timeline that disclosure happens. You want it now, so you can bring political pressure to bear on specific provisions and specific language.

Isn’t that EXACTLY what the “industry representatives” are ALREADY doing? They have access to the current text of the treaty, and are exerting political pressure on the USTR to make changes favorable to them.

Either its fine for them to do so – and should be fine for the public and other special interests – or its not okay for the public to know whats going on, and industry reps shouldn’t either. Pick one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“All of the groups named on the infamous Google shill list were there. Are you seriously suggesting that EFF represents the entire point of view of the American public? […] It is impossible for any named group to represent the totality of the public. EFF has an agenda just like MPAA has one. And like EFF and MPAA, any member of the public is free to individually comment and raise his concerns to the USTR.”

Let me start by stating that I don’t believe any sane discussion can be conducted with some1 that thinks Google is the master of universe and all those groups somewhat represent it. You grossly and possibly intentionally misinterpreted the list and the context the list was delivered and you are using this to attack every single group regardless of their intent. But I’m still gonna comment for the sake of discussion with TD community, enlightenment and my own development.

They are all tainted by Google’s money. Your mancrush as well. But carry on.

I’m not suggesting EFF represents every1. As you wisely said there are MANY groups that represents quite the slice of the public. And it’s pretty interesting when you say EFF has their agenda just like the MPAA so I’m gonna ask you: why is the MPAA allowed in the process but EFF is not? (same question is valid to the other groups questioning TPP secrecy).

My guess is that as these are international trade-focused talks, the USTR seeks out industry advisors that are expert in international trade. It appears that they rely on the public/special interest input to account for related considerations. There is also another public “check” on the process when the member countries vote whether or not to ratify.

“What is your purpose in making negotiations public? I’d suggest it is not for the purpose of informing but to provide an opportunity for political pressure to be brought to bear on the IP chapter.”

It is not MY purpose. It’s the obvious and proper thing to do with something that affects everyone. If public pressure mounts then it’s because the thing is broken as SOPA was. And please, Mr Google-hater, Google itself joined much later in the process. The whole thing started in Reddit. So unless you are telling me that Reddit dozen employees have that much power then we should be discussing the Reddit shill list, not Google.

Maybe it’s not your purpose, but I doubt it. What is so critical that you see it now instead of when it is a part of the finished package? It still has to be ratified. We both know that you want to see the language today to bring political pressure to bear. Because you are rightly concerned that your issue is of diminished importance when it is part of a package. Why is that so hard to admit? It makes perfect sense.

“Masnick attacks secrecy…”

This paragraph is so fucked up I won’t reproduce it. But you see, the point is WHO is negotiating? Countries (possibly) but based on WHAT the countries are having this negotiation? How were the points of the negotiation built up? That’s the problem, we know by now that the MAFIAA and the big Pharmaceuticals(for instance) had their input. Why not the public?

The negotiators come from member countries. I don’t know who put together the agenda but presume that a sample agenda based on other FTA’s went out and the parties jointly settled on a final agenda. The public and special interests have all had ample opportunity to make their concerns known. Have you written to the USTR?

“When the deal is done, final drafts will be released and it will be voted on…”

Again, with all the input from the MAFIAA etc and no input from the public. Wouldn’t you expect a huge ACTA style protest when the deal proves to be absurdly imbalanced towards the only ones that had their say?

There has been no limit on public input. Letters, e-mails, petitions, protests, advertisements, stakeholder meetings have all been incorporated into the procedure. What you really want is a louder voice. Problem is, IP law is but a small portion of this FTA. It’s not the main event. Trust me, it is getting far more consideration than it is due- largely because of the excellent job the piracy apologist groups are doing in keeping it on center stage.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

Problem is, IP law is but a small portion of this FTA.

How many more trade agreements are going to get killed (like ACTA) over such a tiny portion of the treaty, pushed for by such a tiny dying industry with undue influence? Maybe the industry representatives from industries that make real products (instead of the imaginary property kind) should get them booted off the access list, so the grownups can negotiate trade agreements that affect the jobs of millions of people.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re:

There are a shitload of advisors from a variety of industries, many of whom could care less about copyright relative to their own industry concerns. And even the movie/music/software guys have concerns beyond copyright. Only your side is 100% absorbed on the copyright issue.

Been enjoying all of your posts. Thanks for keeping it real. Clearly Mike won’t be happy with anything copyright-related unless it involves abolition thereof.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

-10 internets for not responding to the point.

Direct question:

Is it ok for all of those industry reps and the public to have access to the current text of the treaty, or should no one but the government negotiators have access to it?

Pick one. Give a direct answer, or AJ gets to attack you for the rest of the week.

Sorry, I reject your premise. The process is such that the USTR uses industry advisors. They have to be vetted and sign a bunch of non-disclosure stuff. I think that those people should be the ones doing the negotiating. The problem with adding public advocacy groups is that no single group speaks for the public. And again, the focus is on trade. I don’t know what these piracy apologist groups bring in terms of expertise. Their agenda is weakening IP protection. That sentiment can easily be accounted for with the various forms of advocacy they are engaged in surrounding the treaty.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

Thank you for making a clear statement that you think one group of lobbyists should be given preferential treatment because they represent large corporations, while other groups of lobbyists represting civil rights and public interests should be shut out.

While I respect your right to that opinion, I find the opinion disgusting. I think that opinion should be given no weight in a modern democracy, but what would I know? I’m just one of the little people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Representatives will see TPP when it’s near final form and ready for countries to vote on. At that point the public will have yet another opportunity to have their voices heard.”

In other words, by the time the text is revealed, it’s too late to fix all the crap you and your friends put in there, because it will already be the “final” text and you won’t allow them to reopen negotiations.

Wow, the negotiators won’t reopen negotiations because a single, narrow segment of the constituency won’t allow it? Don’t you think that’s a wildly paranoid exaggeration?

You know that’s how the game is played because your bosses have played that game for decades.

I’m the first to admit that the focus on a single chapter is diminished when it becomes part of a package. Not unlike a plank in a political party’s platform.

You’re just upset that the public is on to you.

Upset? This isn’t a life-or-death issue to me. A noisy bunch of malcontents bantering stupid slogans and attacking process as a surrogate for engaging on the issue is pretty meaningless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Thanks for putting words in my mouth. The industry advisor process is well established. And I don’t think it is the “lobbyists” exactly, it is more like people with international trade expertise. I don’t know that the piracy apologist groups have international trade experts.

Do yourself a favor, stop this crying about no public input. Ask for what you really want- an EFF type group as an industry advisor. I’m sure the Earth First would like to be on the advisors list for environmental issues and plenty of other public interest groups would love to be advisors on other treaty components. But realize that doesn’t bring transparency (not that you really want that) as those advisors have to sign confidentiality agreements and by law cannot discuss internal matters.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

The industry advisor process is well established.

Just because it’s always been like that doesn’t mean it should always remain like that. Maybe it even worked well decades ago – I don’t care. I care what works now, and it doesn’t anymore.

I use lobbyist in the general sense, not some inside the beltway bullshit over who is a registered lobbyist or not. If they are trying to influence the negotiators in some sort of official capacity for a company or group, they’re a lobbyist. And I don’t think you need to be an approved expert in international trade to see clear problems with a treaty – since this treaty is about more than just trade.

And no, I’m not going to stop commenting on the lack of transparency and public input. I want radical transparency on nearly everything the government does. Short of a few extremely senstive areas involving military, espionage, and diplomacy (and no, this doesn’t make the cut in this category) matters, everything the government does should be completely transparent with as much speed as is practically possible. There should not be special classes of who is an official advisor and gets a more powerful say at the bargaining table – the government is supposed to work for the people. I’m fine with Earth First getting to see and comment on environmental issues. I’m fine with the KKK or al Queda being able to see any make comments on issues they think are important. In a true democracy the extremist views are going to be marginalized. But that’s a problem for you, isn’t it? Your extremist views on copyright expansion would get just as marginalized, eh?

average_joe (profile) says:

Re:

Looks like you, me and Bob against the entire lunatic asylum. Most of them are kneejerk idiots who don’t know anything past what they read here. Some are pretty smart and make good points. I’ve learned a ton of useful stuff and have actually changed my opinion on a couple of things.

Indeed. Many here just follow the leader, but sometimes someone makes a good point. I only wish Mike were more engaging and forthright with dissenters. The supercilious sloganism gets old.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Honestly, I think Masnick is one of the most knowledgable and articulate people on the other side of the debate. That’s why I like engaging him. To use an analogy, he’s the copyright equivilant of a Teabagger or Glenn Beck. But it’s useful to engage with him because it helps understand the other side. That has value because ultimately these issues have to be reconciled. Endless war serves no one’s interests. For instance, he convinced me that the tool to combat was a robust expansion of online content choices by the providers who shit is being looted. My major criticism of him is that he never gives an inch and seldom acknowledges the virtue of a position on the other side. That’s unfortunate as he will continue to be regarded as a anti-copyright jihadist and his input will be discounted accordingly.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

That’s more of your goofy crowd source government nonsense. That shit doesn’t even work in hippie communes, much less a government of 300 million.

We’ve never seen a modern government that is even remotely close to the radically transparent one I want – how can you say it doesn’t work? And even if it ends badly, I’d rather have tried it than the route we’re going down now.

A quick review of the laws and policies of this nation indicate that I’m neither extremist nor minority. And my views have little if anything to do with expansion. I’m in favor of enforcing existing protections.

You’re operating under the assumption that the current laws are not extremely lopsided. I think a large and diverse number of people would disagree, as we’ve seen with the SOPA and ACTA protests.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Good luck with your commune Josh. I think the only ones nutty enough to follow you to your ersatz utopia might be Marcus and Gorehound. Maybe one of the failed artists around here can make you a statue of the Lord High Piracy Apologists for your town square. I think it should be crafted in cow manure as a further tribute to your inspirational leader.

Most people either don’t give a shit about copyright or ignore it because they can.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re:

Honestly, I think Masnick is one of the most knowledgable and articulate people on the other side of the debate. That’s why I like engaging him. To use an analogy, he’s the copyright equivilant of a Teabagger or Glenn Beck. But it’s useful to engage with him because it helps understand the other side. That has value because ultimately these issues have to be reconciled. Endless war serves no one’s interests. For instance, he convinced me that the tool to combat was a robust expansion of online content choices by the providers who shit is being looted. My major criticism of him is that he never gives an inch and seldom acknowledges the virtue of a position on the other side. That’s unfortunate as he will continue to be regarded as a anti-copyright jihadist and his input will be discounted accordingly.

He has some good ideas from time to time, but at bottom he’s a biased, zealous, and arrogant demagogue who jumps to conclusions and works backwards while tearing down everyone and everything that dares challenge his views.

Case in point. Check out his article from later today: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120917/12441420408/local-district-attorneys-sell-their-letterhead-threats-jailtime-to-debt-collectors.shtml

He claims that over 300 district attorneys “likely are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in a very, very big way…” Mike based that claim on a post from a guy who admits that he only did 10 minutes of research on Google before coming to that conclusion.

That was good enough for Mike.

In Mike’s zealous world, hundreds of DAs are violating federal debt collection law by “selling their letterhead” in some crazy, illegal kickback scheme. It apparently never occurred to Mike that maybe these DAs, whose job in life is to know the law and to hold others responsible for it, might know what they’re doing.

Why bring silly logic into it when you can impugn the reputation of hundreds of DAs based on someone else’s 10 minutes of research on Google?

It took me 30 seconds of research to discover that there is an exception in the FDCPA for “bad check enforcement programs. 15 U.S.C. ? 1692p. Crazily enough, maybe these DAs actually spent a few seconds researching the law before allowing collection agencies to use their letterhead. Maybe, just maybe, they’re on the up-and-up.

It’s stupid stuff like that makes me lose practically all respect for him. He really is a smart guy. It’s a shame his zeal and bias get the best of him.

I don’t know how he thinks anyone will take him seriously when he’s claiming that hundreds of DAs are violating federal law with practically nothing to back it up. He doesn’t appear to care about getting things right. He’s just mindlessly lashing out 24/7.

It’s sad, really.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

Keep throwing the insults, I couldn’t care less. All it shows how weak your arguments are. You do not understand my viewpoints, so do yourself a favor and stop trying to attach incorrect labels to them, all it does is show how myopic you are.

Most people can ignore copyright, yep. I have never claimed otherwise. Doesn’t mean they are in favor of it either generally, or the insane version of it we have. In the very few cases where portions of the public has gotten involved in copyright issues, however, there has been overwhelming protest against the agenda you’re pushing. This is undisputed fact.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

I’d ask you to read it but you have your nose deeply buried into the MAFIAA arses. Sickening.

The whole thing (TPP) is secret and you claim public input was accepted but ignore the fact that you can’t input anything if the text is damn secret.

Go ahead, move on. When it’s finished and possibly (or probably) broken it’s gonna meet wide resistance like ACTA. Even if what you say (that only the finished thing should be open for scrutiny) was right, isn’t it quite counterproductive to hear only 1 side of the “special interests” to then meet widespread resistance and rejection and have months of work die out because no1 is gonna ratify it.

Trust me, it is getting far more consideration than it is due- largely because of the excellent job the piracy apologist groups are doing in keeping it on center stage.

Are you an insider? Enlighten us.

JMT says:

Re:

“It’s a trade agreement. The focus is on trade and it’s not illogical that the position of US companies engaged in trade are emphasized.”

It’s a trade agreement that’s supposed to benefit each country as a whole, not just a few companies. It’s completely illogical to try so hard to prevent the public being involved.

“What if I told you that no US copyright law would change? Would that shut you up?”

No, because (a) I’m not subject to US copyright law and (b) I never mentioned copyright.

techflaws (profile) says:

Re:

Shockingly, the US Trade Representative has industry advisors from companies involved in international trade.
Shockingly no other stakeholders. How come?

Maybe it would be illuminating if you told us how you think the leaked draft of the IP chapter would force changes in existing US law.
I will as soon as you explain credibly why their support is needed if you think it will have no impact on what’s decided in the end.

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