Leaked TPP IP Chapter Would Lead To Much Greater Online Surveillance… Because Hollywood Still Hates The Internet

from the shameful dept

We already wrote a big piece about the latest leaked copy of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement text. However, there were a few additional areas in the leaked text that deserve further scrutiny, so we’ll be having a few more posts. One significant concern is how the TPP is likely to lead to much greater surveillance by ISPs on your online surfing habits — all in the name of “copyright” of course:

Draft rules under negotiation would impose on Internet service providers a legal obligation to fight against online copyright infringement. This obligation is embodied in several provisions, which would require, for example, ISPs to communicate to their users any supposed infringement committed through their accounts, take down from the Internet information that supposedly infringes on copyright, and collect information that allows identification of users that supposedly have infringed the law.

While the text of the actual agreement sounds like it’s just internationalizing the DMCA (already problematic), it’s actually worse. Subtle language choices make a big, big difference.

First, the TPP includes provisions that would extend spying obligations not only to entities that provide Internet services, but to ?any person,? thus, not only Internet-related companies would be required to enforce the law, but ?any person,? whether human or otherwise. Rights holders would likely interpret this obligation as applying to the manager of a free-wifi zone at Starbucks or your favorite neighborhood cafe, to public libraries and schools, as well as to that neighbor of yours who shares her wifi by keeping it accessible and open.

Second, TPP provisions do not seem to limit this spying to the Internet. Instead they refer to online providers, which may extend the scope of the law to other digital networks, such as intranets and private networks. What does this mean? It means that not only ISPs would be spying on you by collecting user data to protect Hollywood?s copyrights, but also other providers of online services, like the private network you use at your workplace, at your university, or even at your kid?s school, even if those networks do not provide actual access to or from the Internet.

Although the TPP states that Internet service providers would not be required by law to ?monitor? users, it encourages this practice. Therefore, the TPP would leave open the door for private agreements between copyright holders (such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America) and Internet companies for enforcing the law against Internet users (for example, see the Center for Copyright Information). This raises concerns about powerful content industry players working together to promote abusive practices to enforce their interests against supposed infringers, since, in order to prevent any liability, online service providers may collaborate with rights holders to enforce copyrights beyond what is required by the law.

It’s that last part that is the most troubling. Over the last few years, after Hollywood lost the SOPA fight and realized that legislation was more difficult, it’s now seeking these so-called “voluntary” agreements — even when they’re really done by the government with the threat of regulations if an agreement isn’t reached. These kinds of campaigns are hardly “voluntary” in reality, and are generally designed to get Hollywood everything it wants without having to through any sort of democratic process. Kind of like trade agreements.

Is it any wonder why the USTR has been so adamant about keeping the details of this agreement a secret?

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Comments on “Leaked TPP IP Chapter Would Lead To Much Greater Online Surveillance… Because Hollywood Still Hates The Internet”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Baffling

You are correct that increasing enforcement will just drive “illegal” activity farther underground and the net effect will be zero.

For instance, file sharing in Japan has always been criminal, not just civil copyright infringement, as it is in the US and Europe. It’s no surprise, then, that most file sharers in Japan have always used “anonymous” P2P networks such as Winny, Share, and Perfect Dark.

The end result of Japan’s draconian copyright enforcement is that file sharing in Japan has always been just as popular as it is in countries with more liberal laws and lax enforcement. Japanese P2P users just protect themselves better, whether they realize it or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve always hated the way that vague ideas are so often thrown out in laws and such without stating exactly how the process is supposed to work. It’s the exact opposite of any EULA or TOS contract that a comsumer is likely to face, that lays down strict, detailed rules and effectively closes off all possible loopholes or alternative arguments.

It’s funny that although rules aimed at consumers generally leave no wiggle room for legal interpretation, rules aimed at companies leave a great deal of wiggle room for legal interpretation.

Then it’s only natural that the corporate interests with the biggest legal weaponry will argue for the most extreme interpretation of those rules that suits their needs … and win.

Anonymous Coward says:

These trade agreements have become the give-a-ways to corporate interests so that they will continue their generosity towards the political machine (legal bribes). Everything must be accounted for so that every penny can be squeezed. That means spying with a capital S.

This is the same direction that Germany went when it turned into Hitler’s Germany. You can see many of the same things happening. It leads to the same sort of atmosphere and conditions. So how many years do we have till the government decides that ovens to cook the bodies are in the interest of national security? It’s the proverbial frog in hot water. What isn’t acceptable today will probably be acceptable sometime in the future.

Before you think that all crazy talk, how many of you twenty years ago would have believed what we are hearing today with privacy issues and copyright morphing into what they are today.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“how many of you twenty years ago would have believed what we are hearing today with privacy issues and copyright morphing into what they are today.”

I actually predicted that things would be worse, something like China’s “Whitelist” internet. But it’s slowly happening, as many countries in Europe have now banned the entire website of The Pirate Bay (was it those printable guns?). Now the slippery slope begins, and eventually China’s internet model will no longer seem so strange to the rest of the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

how many times have i said that the entertainment industries wont be content until they are running the internet? the scary thing is governments are helping as much as possible to get them to that goal. can you imagine what sort of world we are going to have (heading fast towards already) if it is controlled by an industry that lives in the imagination? that earns money by inventing make believe? that makes a living from selling what is made up and from exploiting its own artists?
we are gonna be in deep shit people and those who are in charge, supposedly looking after the people who elected them, are gonna be returned to the dark ages where they and their lives mean absolutely nothing because ‘their sole purpose for living is to support the upper class’!!

David says:

The obvious answer is to stop consuming their content

It’s not really a boycott. It’s just expanding your entertainment options to other things that leave no room for Hollywood content.

Even on YouTube, there’s lots of original content. There’s lots of independent artists. You can read books, go to live shows, take a walk in the park, anything buy sit in a darkened theater passively feeding them.

Commenter234 says:

Re: Buy! Buy! Buy!

To me, it seems foolish for anyone who can afford $50/year or so NOT to use using the internet through a VPN.

There are too many sleezy scam outfits able to use a mostly-fixed IP address to track and identify personal information.

An ISP simply cannot be trusted with access to personal activity, since they are easy targets for extortion and coersion, and have mostly-captive customers. A VPN has no captive customers, and depends entirely on customer confidence for its income.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Buy! Buy! Buy!

“To me, it seems foolish for anyone who can afford $50/year or so NOT to use using the internet through a VPN.”

But many web sites block out VPN IP numbers. I ended up being banned from a forum that I was an active member of for years shortly after I started using a free VPN (and no, I didn’t even bother trying to beg my way back in). There are many downsides to using shared IP addresses, and VPNs are especially hard hit.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

While the text of the actual agreement sounds like it’s just internationalizing the DMCA (already problematic),

I’m seriously having trouble understanding Techdirt’s position here. It would be problematic to take the DMCA and export it to the rest of the world? I thought it was something we want to keep around, because of the so-called “safe harbors” it provides, that it just wouldn’t do to get rid of.

Are the folks at Techdirt finally beginning to understand what I’ve been saying for years, that there is no such thing as DMCA safe harbors in the first place, that they are nothing but tools of extortion, and therefore exporting the DMCA to the rest of the world would be problematic?

We can only hope…

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It would be problematic to take the DMCA and export it to the rest of the world? I thought it was something we want to keep around, because of the so-called “safe harbors” it provides”

Personally, I think it would be incredibly problematic. I want the DMCA to go away — it’s filled with so much bad stuff, it needs to be eliminated. The safe harbors provision is not enough to keep it around, and would largely be unnecessary if the rest of the DMCA didn’t exist.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Exactly. And we really need to stop talking about DMCA safe harbors, because they don’t exist. It’s not a safe harbor if there are strings attached.

CDA 230 is a safe harbor. It tells the bad guys “no, you can’t harm this site.” But a mechanism by which the bad guys can say “remove this thing we don’t want and we won’t sue you” IS NOT A SAFE HARBOR; it is a tool of extortion. Threatening a negative action against someone unless they comply with your wishes is extortion, plain and simple, and the DMCA Takedown system enables it. It needs to go; the entire DMCA needs to go.

Rob McMillin (profile) says:

IP "Biz" and government have common interests here

Years ago, before the DMCA, I observed that the real danger was a conjoining of private interests dependent on copyright (the **AA), and the government. The former wants a broad police power on the Internet for commercial reasons, the latter for political reasons. It is all too easy to see, for example, a system whereby you must register reading materials with some central repository — which will allow revocation at any time. Such a system would be invaluable for the suppression of leaks.

That is what is being proposed here.

Anonymous Coward says:

They have run out of excuses. Their belief that the world revolves around them will only lead them to failure. They are deluded into thinking that harsh laws would boost their profits when all it would lead to is implosion and/or a “Disco Demolition Night” on an entire industry.

I refuse to abide. I will not give up my principles just because the dinosaur media could make a few more dollars. They should just accept defeat instead of trying to destroy what made them obsolete. If I have to lose what’s left of my freedom to garbage with inflated budgets, then I will push for the day when they and their bad laws perish once and for all a global holiday.

Whoever said the people have to choose between being able to have a private conversation and the next Transformers movie being funded in the same way was right.

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