Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

As government announces costly new copyright terms, leading experts send letter to Industry Minister urging him to fix existing loopholes that are exposing Canadians to threats and abuse

For months, foreign media giants have abused Canada’s copyright system by threatening Canadians with penalties that are impossible under Canadian law, in order to intimidate them into paying extortionate charges

April 23, 2015Leading Canadian copyright experts and organizations are urging Industry Minister James Moore to fix dangerous loopholes in Canada’s copyright rules. In a joint letter to Minister Moore, 17 organizations and experts set out in detail what needs to be done to safeguard Canadians from media giants trying to abuse the system. The letter comes just days after the government quietly announced in Tuesday’s budget that it will extend copyright terms on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years, a move that will cost customers millions.

As a result of a loophole in Canada’s new copyright rules, Canadians have been inundated by threatening and misleading notices from U.S.-based rights-holders. The notices threaten recipients with penalties that are impossible under Canadian law - such as $150,000 lawsuits and disconnection from the Internet. Experts want James Moore to act fast to close the loophole, which he was warned about but chose to ignore, before the new rules came into force in January.

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Link blocking threatens journalism, full stop.

Modern Journalism couldn’t happen without the power to link freely. And here’s just one example to show us the gravity of the situation:

Last year, U.S. journalist and privacy activist Barrett Brown was sentenced to over five years in jail. He had initially been indicted in 2012 on charges stemming from links he posted online. The links he posted–which he was later proven never even to have opened–pointed to material sourced from a hack on StratFor, a shady intelligence contractor with close ties to the U.S. government and many large corporations.

Those charges were later dropped, but Brown was eventually sent to jail for obstructing the FBI investigation into the links he’d posted online. Ironically, he wouldn’t have felt a need to hide his laptop when the FBI came knocking had they not come knocking in the first place.

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EFF: This secretive agreement could undermine user safeguards

More bad news about the TPP.

Article by Maira Sutton for the EFF

A newly leaked chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement from Wikileaks has confirmed some of our worst fears about the agreement. The latest provisions would enable multinational corporations to undermine public interest rules through an international tribunal process called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS). Under this process, foreign companies can challenge any new law or government action at the federal, state, or local level, in a country that is a signatory to the agreement. Companies can file such lawsuits based upon their claim that the law or action harms their present or future profits. If they win, there are no monetary limits to the potential award.

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Meet the man who can stop the TPP’s Internet censorship plan

A huge leak just revealed that the TPP would establish a secretive, shadowy international court that could be used by Big Media giants to kick Internet users around the world offline.

To make this nightmare a reality, anti-Internet lobbyists are pushing harder than ever to “fast track” the TPP. If they succeed, the Internet you love will be policed and censored for generations.

But there’s hope. Groups fighting this plan have found the one person who can stop it. Meet U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and tell him right now: Do not Fast Track Internet censorship.

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TechDirt: The TPP has set its sights on free speech and fair use

Fair use - the building block of remix art - is under threat. 

Article by Mike Masnick via TechDirt

We've been writing a lot about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past few years. There are many, many problems with it, but the two key ones are the intellectual property chapter and the investment chapter. Unlike some who are protesting TPP, we actually think that free trade is generally a good thing and important for the economy -- but neither the intellectual property section nor the investment chapter are really about free trade. In many ways, they're about the opposite: trying to put in place protectionist/mercantilist policies that benefit the interests of a few large legacy industries over the public and actual competition and trade. We've already discussed many of the problems of the intellectual property chapter -- which is still being fought over -- including that it would block the US from reforming copyright to lower copyright term lengths (as even the head of the Copyright Office, Maria Pallante has argued for).  Read more »

Globe and Mail: The TPP deal may be going south

The Prime Minister is gambling a lot on an agreement that could censor your Internet. Now it's looking like that gamble will not pay off.

Article by Barrie McKenna for The Globe and Mail

Stephen Harper was in high spirits when the U.S. and the other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership invited Canada to join the trade deal in mid-2012.

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