Thursday, December 5, 2013

TPP Trade Agreement will Raise Internet Costs

The 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations will hold a ministerial meeting in Singapore between December 7th and 9th with the aim of concluding a deal by year’s end, official sources said.

The TPP countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Recently WikiLeaks released a draft of the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Like many such trade agreements, the TPP has been negotiated secretly, with access to draft texts provided only to lobbyists and the like. Even Congress feels like it’s been left out.

There are a number of excellent analyses at the Washington Post of the leaked text.

Canada opposes many U.S. proposals, but nowhere is that more evident than in the section on Internet service provider liability. In fact, ISP liability in the TPP is shaping up to be a battle between Canada and the U.S. with countries lining up --- either in favor of a general notification obligation (Canada) --- or a notice-and-takedown system with the prospect of terminating subscriber Internet access and content blocking (U.S.).

If American Big Media lobbyists succeed, your ISP will have no choice but to begin monitoring your Internet use, and removing the content of those merely suspected of wrongdoing. Specifically the TPP may force ISPs to:

  • ‘filter’ all their internet communications, prowling through all our online interactions on the hunt for any possible copyright infringement
  • hand over the identity of alleged "infringers" – not to the police – but to the copyright holders (usually the movie or music companies)
  • censor sites that could possibly be engaged in copyright infringement

And the TPP trade pact would also make internet services more expensive:

"The TPP is the latest in a long line of heavy-handed maneuvering by US companies. Before this was the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the much reviled SOPA. The revelations of just how draconian the TPP's provisions are have caused an uproar, generating this damning editorial. In the US, citizens groups are vocally objecting because the TPP does not benefit Americans so much as a handful of American companies at the cost of American citizens.

Check out Open Media for more details, a petition, etc.

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