The TPP Is an Attempt to Bring in Already Defeated Legislation Through the Back Door
The U.S. has long held a policy of net neutrality. Recently though, some have sought to change that, including large multinational corporations seeking to reap even larger profits on the backs of the American people. In 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate, which would have drastically changed this policy.
Fight for the Future, Google, Wikipedia and other entities rallied opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, culminating in the defeat of the legislation in January 2012. Since then, SOPA has become a potent symbol of copyright excesses, and copyright reformers routinely invoke it to rally opposition to policies they oppose.
Now it seems all is about to change as information from negotiations of the TPP show corporate lobbyists are getting what they wanted: stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights, and harsher discipline for violators.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a “free trade” agreement that will bridge together a handful of countries – Australia, The United States, Japan, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada.
Last year WikiLeaks leaked a copy of a draft TPP agreement on intellectual property. Trade experts agree the leaked document shows U.S. negotiators appear to have been heavily influenced by the lobbying of large multinational corporations trying to protect and expand their patent monopolies on drugs and other intellectual property rather than promote open trade. The draft trade deal, for example, contains protections for patented drugs the pharmaceutical industry has been unable to get through Congress.
It would also force internet service providers to enforce intellectual property laws and could even force them to deny service if an individual accidentally violates them. The TPP will include some of the worst aspects of U.S. copyright law, including extending extremely long copyright terms, and the criminalization of non-commercial file sharing.
The worst part is we only know a portion of what is written in the TPP because it has been veiled in secrecy from the beginning, even for lawmakers whose Constitutional duty it is to oversee trade agreements.
This veil of secrecy is even more alarming because only 5 of the 29 sections of TPP have to do with trade. They also include provisions that deal with food safety, environmental protections, and as we have discussed, dramatic changes to intellectual property.
What these multinational corporations are seeking to accomplish is to get SOPA-like regulations put into place to ensure their profit margin stays high. The TPP must be stopped.