Looking Beyond TPP: US & EU Planning More Bad IP Rules In 'US-EU Free Trade Agreement'

from the it-never-stops dept

Just a reminder: when you think you get past an attempt by certain legacy industries to shove through bad laws with questionable international trade agreements, there’s always at least one (and probably more) such agreements lurking. So, from ACTA we went straight into TPP… and following TPP, it looks like the US and the EU are already discussing a new US-EU Free Trade Agreement to be worked out soon. A “working group” to get the process started put out a report about what the agreement would include… and, of course, there will be a section on “intellectual property.” The USTR has made it clear over the past few years that it thinks free trade agreements are the perfect vehicle for intellectual property maximalism. This makes little sense, since intellectual property is the exact opposite of “free trade.” It’s whole purpose is to be a trade barrier and a monopoly. But…

Both the EU and the United States are committed to a high level of intellectual property protection, including enforcement, and cooperate extensively through the Transatlantic IPR Working Group. Both sides agree that it would not be feasible in negotiations to seek to reconcile across the board differences in the IPR obligations that each typically includes in its comprehensive trade agreements. Before the launch of any negotiations, both sides would further consult on possible approaches to deal with IPR matters in a mutually satisfactory manner.

So, at the very least, there would be some limits on what such an agreement would get into, given existing “differences,” but they still seem to want to include something about “dealing with IPR matters,” which can only mean ratcheting things up. It’s still early, but you can bet that the legacy industry lobbyists are already well aware of this and involved in the process — so it needs to be on everyone else’s radar as well.

Oh, and both Obama and Romney have indicated they support such an agreement, so it’s not like either one is better than the other going into next year.

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Comments on “Looking Beyond TPP: US & EU Planning More Bad IP Rules In 'US-EU Free Trade Agreement'”

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30 Comments
Zakida Paul says:

And people wonder why young people are so apathetic about politics. They see things like this were elected representatives shape their policies so that they favour multinational corporations to the detriment of the general public, and they know that they are powerless to get any real and meaningful political change.

I will leave you with the words of John Mayer.

“Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could

Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it”

DannyB (profile) says:

We must win every time -- they must win only once

In order to keep these bad laws away, we have to fight them constantly. They only have to keep trying. It doesn’t matter if they succeed on the 3rd, 8th, 14th time. They don’t even need a full win. They can win in bits and pieces.

It’s not only laws but definitions and length of protection. Copyright lifetimes keep getting longer. The definition of copyright, and even what the right is keep expanding. Eventually you’ll hear them saying that they have a constitutional right, as originally seen by the founders, to have absolute control over the internet and all publications.

It’s no surprise they just keep trying. They win simply by getting what they want in bits. It’s like trying to fend off an attack of rodents.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: We must win every time -- they must win only once

That is why we have to stop being reasonable and saying things like “copyright is OK in principle but the terms are too long” or “patents would be alright if there were limitations on what could be patented”.

We have to say. “Copyrights and patents are evil and must be stamped out altogether.”

The problem is that the existence of patent or copyright implies the existence of people who benefit from it and have time and money spare to lobby for more. Whilst there might be a case for a limited form of either thing provided it stayed limited in practice it will NOT stay limited for long. It is like a deadly disease – eradication is the only possible strategy.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: We must win every time -- they must win only once

It’s about time we went to the offensive. We need some sort of crowdfunded lobbying to tackle those morons. So far we have been defending only. As you said, while they haven’t won and will lose in the long term they’ve scored numerous small wins that created all sorts of horrific scenarios (Tenebaum, James, O’Dwyer, TPB, Surf the Channel etc). If you can only keep the fire at bay you are not extinguishing it, you are just preventing it from spreading but it’s destroying important stuff anyways.

jameshogg says:

IP law is a funny thing to truly revolt against, because everybody thinks that they need to support it in order to protect their potential at monopolised profits. But they don’t stop and think that doing so makes them prisoners of their own actions because they deny themselves the right to derive from the works and discoveries of others, which is also just as huge a market. The fashion industry has achieved a state where the introduction of IP laws to this sector would seriously harm several jobs, companies, instate a culture of fear, etc (and I have read about some fools who regardless try and push for such legislation). The only real argument for IP is the free-rider problem, but it can be solved as long as you make conditions that prevent this problem from existing.

It’s the same argument for why we need to be strict on free speech and not police opinions of any kind, even hateful ones. Because once you allow policing based on something as slippery as subjective offensiveness, people will gradually erode what is meant by “offensive” until oppressors have the ability to shoot at anything that moves. The founding fathers of the U.S. got this spot on and threw in the separation of church and state to boot, another cornerstone of civilisation, but unfortunately did not have enough historical context to make the same call in regards to the “exclusive rights” clause. Can anyone picture these enlightened people putting this clause in if they even glanced at something as gigantic as the internet?

I’ve said this before: arts and science (copyrights and patents) can be best expressed when you treat multimedia as a stage and not a market for selling dirt (where do you think the phrase “dirt-cheap” comes from?), and when you treat education as a social issue where everybody should contribute their fair share to humanity in regards to their relative fields, respectively. So crowdfunded virtual tickets and socialised R and D, in other words.

Next time you bump into a copyright maximalist, ask the question “what evidence would disprove copyright?” If they fail to answer this question, dodge it, or try to insist through circular logic that copyright is the only way to achieve incentives, politely say that their claim must be weak if it is an unfalsifiable one. I am from a background that values skepticism and science quite highly: I can definitely say that this is the right approach to take.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You can vote for someone who does a good job campaigning if you want. I’d rather vote for someone who’d do a good job governing.
I don’t pay attention to political ads. I look up the political and personal history of every candidate, and vote for the one that I think would best represent me if elected. I research my votes, rather than blindly believing in something as fallible as a “party”.

Anonymous Coward says:

in other words, the entertainment industries, via the US government are going to demand even more ridiculous fucking draconian laws be introduced and the EU, in true ‘we are your bitch, USA. we’ll do whatever you want, regardless of the harm it will do to are citizens.’ fashion, will be falling over themselves to comply. i still dont understand why the various governments, the US in particular, dont just ban everyone from using the net and keep it completely ‘people free’, using it only for themselves. at least it would keep a lot of prisons free for real criminals instead of file sharers

out_of_the_blue says:

"from the it-never-stops dept"

The only important part of this piece is “it-never-stops”.

Mike and his blithe band of “libertarians” haven’t thought that through (and likely won’t: upsets all their notions). But gov’t or corporations or individuals will NEVER stop grasping for unearned money and power, so it’s THE primary purpose of civilization to prevent such gathering and accumulation. Note carefully the “unearned” descriptor, and that it largely includes inheritance.

That’s really all you need to muse on, then you’re near certain to convert from “laissez-faire”, “free-market”, corporatism to the view that the only hope is to set one gang of crooks and thugs (called gov’t) against other gangs of crooks and thugs (variously corporations, cartels, and more literally violent gangs), with the intent of preventing any gang from becoming too large and powerful.

In this particular piece, note how Mike is casually against copyright as “monopoly”. But he doesn’t seem to at all worry about corporations holding more literal monopolies in a “free market”. — Mike is inconsistent because at best favors a gang he calls “innovators” (mainly Internet grifters), and disparages copyright holders. While this particular piece is cautionary, it’s usually Mike who wants to pick winners and losers, adjusting policy, overturning fairly clear law, actually increase the amount technology “disrupts”, with goal of helping the grifters and advertising spies whom he favors. And he almost always ignores farmers and manufacturers of physical goods: they’re “industrial”, and we’re supposedly past that stage.

RD says:

Re: "from the it-never-stops dept"

Cant hit the “report” button fast enough. There was an actual point in there that started to form, but then as usual, it degenerated into “MIKE! MIKE! MIKE! GRIFTERS! RAH RAH COPYRIGHT! THE LAW IS THE LAW!” ranting and my instincts were right again.

You really have a hard-on for Mike and this site. It’s like an out-of-control addiction for you. Oh wait, thats right, you are getting paid to spew this nonsense.

Anonymous Coward says:

What is disturbing is that they are saying that they do not see it as feasible to agree on what obligations are to be enforced, meaning: They have so many trade agreements that they cannot really get to a common standpoint as to how IPR should be protected. Or in other words: They do not find it feasible to back down on the level of IPR-protection, because of their separate agreements.

That will mean that any upcoming IPR-protection agreement will have to carve a new way for IPR. That can mean inclusion of specific provisions protecting privacy and free speech, but most likely it is more innovative ways of reducing these.

CAPT CANADA says:

vote this way

eithe rdont vote….
or vote for whom won’t bend over and it aint republican or democrats.

romney isnt worse …..obama as he said brought more trade suits then any other us president and its true
after ripping canada’s softwood lumber people off 5 billion , gave back 4 billion got sued and then appealed and had our bend over pm allow them to keep 1 billion canada won in court.

THEN a few years later obuma comes back for more blood suing for 100 million more off our guys….
ya know its crap like that i hope your country burns in the hell you created

Anonymous Coward says:

I’d happily vote for a 3rd party candidate if the electoral collage was abolished. Let’s not forget the electoral collage was setup as a safeguard, because politicians don’t believe the American People are smart enough to vote on their own.

Remember the 2004 election where Al Gore won the popular vote, but G. W. Bush won the election? That’s the electoral collage over ruling people’s votes.

So vote for a 3rd party candidate if you wish. The people in the electoral will go, “Bwaaahahahaha” and then vote either Democrat or Republican.

“Proud… to be an Americaaaan… Cuz they let me think I’m freeeeee…”

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