Five Reasons to Kick the TPP’s Teeth In

-- Yesterday, we dove into the broad view of the TPP. Today, we dig into the specifics.

I promised that I would show you five HUGE reasons the TPP is terrible for you.

And a few ways you can fight back.

We have lots to cover.

Let’s begin…

Kiss Internet Freedom of Expression Bye-Bye

It’s SOPA all over again.

Under the TPP, ISPs will be forced to become Internet police. They will waste massive amounts of resources taking down Internet content and banning user access to the Internet for breaking the rules.

“Mandatory fines would be imposed for individuals’ non-commercial copies of copyrighted material,” ExposetheTPP.org reports. “So, downloading some music could be treated the same as large-scale, for-profit copyright violations.

“Innovation would be stifled as the creation and sharing of user-generated content would face new barriers, and as monopoly copyrights would be extended. The TPP proposes to impose copyright protections for a minimum of 120 years for corporate-created content.”

In all nations under TPP purview, citizens who have infringed upon copyright law, once caught, will be forced to pay ‘civil damages.’

But it gets worse…

White Hat Hackers… And Regular Users… Would Have Their Devices Destroyed

“Car hackers, farmers fixing their high-tech tractors, and teenage DVD rippers; all over the world,” says Vice, “these digital tinkerers could have their devices seized and destroyed by the authorities thanks to provisions in the newly-minted Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.”

If you weren’t aware, WikiLeaks leaked the TPP’s finalized Intellectual Property chapter last week.

Under the agreement, it says, “judicial authorities shall, at least, have the authority to […] order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in” activities that bypass the controls put in place by manufacturers.

The controls are Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies that attempt to limit what you do with legally purchased media and hardware.

DRM is the reason when you buy an ebook on Amazon, you can only read it on a select few ebook readers. It’s also the reason you can’t use certain applications or service providers on your smartphone. And it’s also why, when you buy a DVD, you can’t copy the video to store and watch on a mobile device.

“Corporations claim that DRM is necessary to fight copyright infringement online and keep consumers safe from viruses,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes. “But there’s no evidence that DRM helps fight either of those. Instead DRM helps big business stifle innovation and competition by making it easy to quash “unauthorized” uses of media and technology.”

Worst part is, under the new rules laid out by the TPP, anyone can have their devices confiscated and destroyed, whether they accidentally or intentionally do something that a corporation deems copyright infringement.

“As a result,” Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Vice, “those who are tinkering with their own legally-purchased digital products will be at risk not only of financial penalties, but also having their equipment seized and perhaps destroyed.”

This puts security researchers and white hat hackers — people who test for vulnerabilities in systems — in a weird spot.

These people are the white blood cells of the Internet and Internet-dependent devices. If they are prohibited from doing their jobs, the baddies will quickly gain the upper hand. If they do their jobs to protect the Internet from being overrun by scammers and thieves, they’ll be at risk of getting raided by other baddies with guns.

“The leaked chapter states that TPP countries may include some exceptions to this rule for hacking and tinkering that circumvents DRM,” says Vice, “but doesn’t violate copyright law. These exceptions aren’t mandatory, but the prescribed punishment — taking and destroying your devices — is.”

TPP Trashes American Jobs and Sovereignty

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Curtis Ellis last week, “is more than a trade agreement — it creates a supranational governing body along the lines of the European Union. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan has said under the TPP “people, goods and money will flow freely.” The free flow of people, goods and capital is the founding principle of the European Union. Japan’s chief negotiator repeated the mantra today when he announced a final deal had been reached. People as well as goods and investment would move wherever the bosses choose, from Malaysia to Maryland.

“In addition to erasing our borders, TPP surrenders U.S. sovereignty over lawmaking. Enforcement of the TPP falls to an international authority that will be able to write regulations and re-write American law. It creates a mini-U.N. — but one where the U.S. does not have veto power. The TPP is billed as a “living agreement” that can change its rules and even add more members over time. Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Singapore could decide to admit China to the club even if the U.S. objects.

“Along with trashing our Constitution, the TPP wrecks our economy. Americans will see their jobs outsourced to cheap foreign labor in places like Vietnam and China. Auto parts once made in the U.S. will be crushed beneath a flood of imports from China and Southeast Asia. The deal’s failure to address currency manipulation by countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and China puts U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage they will never overcome. Ford Motor Company has already called on Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership for precisely this reason.

“After five years of back-room negotiations and an all-night session of horse-trading in Atlanta this weekend,” Ellis wrote, “Obama’s negotiators decided which industries to sacrifice and which ones to reward. The bailed-out bankers and health insurance companies made out well. The American people and small businesses were not at the table. And if you weren’t at the table, you were on the menu.”

Has Big Effects On Drug Prices

Provisions in the deal will extend the IP rights for certain pharmaceutical drugs and shut out generics for extended periods of time.

“… the premium pharmaceutical companies don’t like generics,” the Consumerist reports, “because then they do not get to print money. So they do anything they can to interfere with that process. Including lobbying hard to have their interests protected in international trade agreements.

“The end result, across the board, would likely be significant increases in (already-high) drug prices, especially facing the poorest consumers who can least afford it.”

TPP Will Try to Limit the Freedom of the Press

The TPP is also going after journalists or whistleblowers who gain “unauthorized, willful access to a trade secret held in a computer system”.

It is mandatory for each national signatory to enforce “criminal procedures and penalties” against anyone who accesses any said trade secrets.

Australian newspaper The Age puts it this way…

The draft text provides that TPP countries will introduce criminal penalties for unauthorized access to, misappropriation or disclosure of trade secrets, defined as information that has commercial value because it is secret, by any person using a computer system.

“Under the terms of the text,” BoingBoing reports, “countries in the TPP can force each other to suspend legal proceedings if the trial would cause embarrassing information — information ‘detrimental to a party’s economic interests, international relations, or national defense or national security’ — would come to light. That would be the Wikileaks/Snowden clause.”

Also, upcoming copyright laws could outlaw people like yours truly from linking to news stories.

Last week, Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report said this in an interview with InfoWars: “I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me. ‘They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.’

“To have a Supreme Court Justice say to me it’s over, they’ve got the votes, which means time is limited. That will end it for me — fine — I’ve had a hell of a run.”

Now, we’re sure you want to know how to fight back.

And we’ll get to that tomorrow.

Until then,

Chris Campbell

Banner image credit: arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com

Chris Campbell

Written By Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell is the Managing editor of Laissez Faire Today. Before joining Agora Financial, he was a researcher and contributor to SilverDoctors.com.