USTR Lies: Says TPP Is No Different Than US Law

from the except-it-does dept

Soon after the TPP IP chapter was leaked via Wikileaks, we predicted that the USTR would claim that it doesn't require legal changes in the US and was just about harmonizing norms. It took all of a day for that prediction to come true. In US Trade Rep Michael Froman's interview with Variety, he said exactly that:
“what we have in there are things that are already in U.S. law about making sure, whether it is copyright or other protections, are fully enforced around the world.”
That is a lie. It's fundamentally untrue. For example, in just the copyright section alone, Margot Kaminski from the Information Society Project at Yale has outlined eight things that differ from US law in the text proposed or supported by the US, some of them rather substantial, including the standards for criminal liability as well as the standards allowed for reverse engineering exemptions for DRM. Jamie Love, over at KEI, pointed out early on that many of the US proposals "are more restrictive than U.S. laws." Also, as we expected, the language on the "three step test," which the USTR pretended was about supporting fair use, actually would massively limit fair use.

Of course, as we pointed out with ACTA and again with TPP, even if it was just about taking things that are in US law and making sure they're "fully enforced around the world" (which is not actually what TPP is about), it would ridiculously lock in a bunch of bad things that are in US law, which pretty much everyone not under the full-time sway of Hollywood already knows has been really bad for the US economy and creativity. The very fact that this agreement would effectively block many of the suggestions made by the head of the US Copyright Office to Congress in terms of copyright reform should show why the USTR has no business doing anything around copyright.

Who in their right mind would try to export US law and lock us into it at the very same time that the experts in the field of law they're talking about have admitted that it's outdated and a mess and in need of a major rewrite? Apparently, the USTR is so clueless that it thinks existing copyright law is settled law and that it's so great we should lock it in and force everyone else to do the same, at the very same time Congress, the head of the Copyright Office, and a lot of other people have admitted it's time for a change.

So why is the USTR blindly pushing ahead with it?

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  1. identicon
    hunar, 19 Nov 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Yeah, the Kaminski post raises an interesting point: how can the TPP possibly contradict the Kirtsaeng decision? It's one thing to push through TPP and then get Congress to change the laws, but what can they do to nullify a Supreme Court ruling?

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