TPP IP Chapter Available For Discussion And Annotation At RapGenius
from the get-busy dept
If we had a truly transparent USTR (hahah, I know, stop laughing), it might have done something like what CCIA’s Matt Schruers just did: posting the latest known version of the IP Chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to the annotation site RapGenius to allow for annotation and discussion over the document. Schruers notes, correctly, that the claims that TPP is “SOPA 2.0” are greatly exaggerated, but that there are still plenty of significant reasons to be quite concerned about the TPP — and that’s why there should be a real discussion about the actual text — something the USTR has steadfastly avoided for years.
U.S. experts may have concerns about the extent to which TPP accurately reflects U.S. law, and — assuming it does — whether locking in some provisions (and not others) via agreement is sound policy. Similarly, experts from other TPP countries may question whether adopting various provisions of U.S. law is desirable in their national legal system. Several already have. This is a question more complex than “is this SOPA 2?”, however, and it requires careful study of various provisions.
To that end, we want to enable experts and interested parties to edit/mark up the leaked TPP text, which is where Rap Genius comes in. Rap Genius is very effective for this purpose: it enables user-friendly, HTML-enabled crowd-sourced annotation to anyone online. Users may add their own annotations, comment on mine, or add suggestions to improve the text.
Of course, it should also be noted that some ridiculously believe that RapGenius itself is a “pirate” site. And, some others might point out that RapGenius itself is a bit of a closed system, whereas it might be nicer to use an open annotation system like Hypothes.is (though that organization has indicated it may do something similar). But, given the fact that RapGenius works now and is fairly easy to use, it seems like a good choice for today’s situation. And, indeed, as you go through the annotations already up on the site, there’s plenty of insightful content, looking at the various proposals and provisions in this leaked copy of the document, allowing for a real discussion about what’s being negotiated, rather than blanket platitudes that the USTR and its defenders have been pushing out about the agreement.
The really sad thing, of course, is that the USTR would never think to do something like this itself. Indeed, it would argue heavily against such a move, highlighting the simple fact that the USTR has, and continues to be, totally against transparency in what it’s doing with the TPP and other trade agreements.