Stop selling out our free expression online in TPP talks, urges Trade Minister

Secretive, industry-driven copyright proposals could wreck Canada’s digital economy, restrict our open Internet, and undermine our fundamental rights

May 28, 2013 – Led by Canadian Internet freedom group, members of a diverse international coalition have written to Trade Ministers in several countries to demand a ‘Fair Deal’ on provisions that would restrict internet use in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

The letter sent to Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast strongly criticizes the imbalance in the TPP talks between the interests of old industry conglomerates and those of citizens and innovative businesses. It urges the minister to reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity, and Canadians’ fundamental rights.

The letter was sent by as a member of the Fair Deal coalition, which includes digital rights advocates, academics, businesses and human rights organizations from seven countries across the Trans-Pacific region. It expresses concern that international agreements like the TPP can be a vehicle through which big media conglomerates can pursue new Internet censorship powers in an effort to protect their content assets.

The TPP is a secretive trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. According to leaked drafts of the agreement obtained by public interest organizations, changes to copyright required by the TPP would reduce access to information and restrict the ability to innovate, both on and offline.

“Canadians are deeply concerned about what has leaked out to date from the highly-secretive TPP talks process,” says Executive Director Steve Anderson. “The TPP would force Canada to make changes to our copyright law that would take a major toll on our society and stifle our innovative digital economy. We are determined to safeguard Canada’s ability to develop a flexible digital policy in our national interest.”

“ is working closely with our international partners in the Fair Deal coalition to seek appropriately-balanced intellectual property laws that enable many different sectors of society to conduct business, access information, educate, and innovate. Our coalition has already raised these concerns directly with TPP negotiators in Peru.”

The Fair Deal coalition believes that if the TPP were a Fair Deal, then:

  • Countries would be encouraged to promote a rich public domain, not required to shrink it.
  • Copyright works would be part of an open market.
  • Fair and genuine uses of copyright works would not be blocked by digital locks.
  • Access to the internet would be promoted as fundamental to participating in 21st century society.

The Fair Deal Coalition invites citizens to join the campaign by signing onto a statement of principle at:

The full letter can be found here:

About is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy..

Through campaigns such as and, has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

About the Our Fair Deal International coalition

Starting at first in New Zealand and then connecting with organizations and people internationally, a group of individuals from the fields of Internet policy, art, information technology and law got together to discuss a TPP campaign with a copyright focus. What resulted was the idea of a fair deal, one that opens up trade opportunities for TPP member states but doesn’t force copyright and other IP-related changes on us that could damage our future. If you represent an organization that would like to join the Fair Deal coalition fill in the form here.

Founding members of the Fair Deal coalition include:

Affinity Bridge, Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Library & Information Association, Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Internet NZ, BCFIPA, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Consumers International, Council of Canadians, Creative Freedom, Demand Progress, Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), Fight for the Future, GenWhy Media, Hiperderecho, Library & Information Society of New Zealand, NZRise, NZOSS,, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Scoop, TechDirt, Tech Liberty NZ, Tuanz, TradeMe



David Christopher
Communications Coordinator,

More Information

  • Large petition against TPP’s Internet trap hand-delivered to negotiations in San Diego -
  • Find OpenMedia's backgrounder on the TPP here:
  • Toronto Star (16 May) article by Les Whittington on how Canadians are being kept in the dark on free trade talks:
  • OpenMedia report back on the Auckland round of TPP negotiations:
  • Public interest groups have obtained the February 2011 draft of the TPP's Intellectual Property Rights Chapter: - In it, we can see that the TPP would drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media's Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.
  • See the Electronic Frontier Foundation's analysis to learn more about the ways the TPP increases the threat of litigation from Big Media. Under the TPP, Big Media could come after you in court even "without the need for a formal complaint by a private party or right holder":
  • See's list of the TPP's effects on the intellectual property law in Canada and Mexico for more information on privacy implications: