At this stage the only thing we can say for sure about the Trans Pacific Partnership is that fact the negotiations have been conducted in secret is horrifically undemocratic and in the interests of nobody apart from maybe a very small number of vested interests. I say maybe because while several powerful lobby groups (the entertainment industry, drug companies, telcos) have pushed for laws that definitely hurt everyone apart from them, I seriously think they’re too stupid to see how their short term thinking will ravages entire economies and they’ll be caught up in the collateral damage.
Any honest person who has worked in the corporate world (and I have) knows that these big companies are wracked by internal power struggles and most are incapable of seeing past their next six monthly profit reports.Asking them to think long term is like asking a cat to not dig its claws into you when it sits on your lap because it fucking hurts. They don’t understand your point and they don’t give a shit.
Technically, we don’t know for sure anything at all that is being proposed in the TPP agreement as the negotiations are being done so secretly, but we have a pretty good idea because details have been leaked every step of the way. I’ve always assumed this has been because some of the people involved in the negotiations (particularly from the smaller countries) have gone “Oh my fucking god, I don’t believe what they’re trying to get away with in secret – we have to let the world know!”
Wikileaks have published what they call the “most controversial chapter” which focuses on intellectual property and proposed controls over activity on the internet. Apparently they provisions that would limit the ability of smaller and poorer countries to manufacture generic medication aren’t controversial. Because, you know, fuck poor people.
Unsurprisingly, all the worst aspects of every acronym you’ve ever heard (SOPA, PIPA, ACTA) are still in play. Continuing the insane extensions of copyright limits. Restricting the ability to introduce even slightly saner copyright laws. Kill fair use/ fair dealing conventions. Criminalising everyday activity (like choosing on which of your own devices you play media you have legally purchased). Expecting ISPs to police your internet activity and restricting your internet access based on the say-so of “rights holders” – they don’t have to prove in a court that you broke the law, they simply have to assert you broke the law.
It’s bad enough that the US is trying to force this on their weaker trading partners but the weird part is it’s also being forced on the US. The Obama administration are pushing for “fast track authority” which means it would be signed into law without congress even getting to debate it. And he wants congress to agree to this without even seeing the proposal. If you think this is crazy, you’re not alone. Several prominent Tea Party types think it’s crazy. And the really crazy part is I agree with them.
The US is pushing this and US citizens are in the driver’s seat with this. It looks bleak but lobbying your congress-creatures and senators really works. Call them. Join/support someone like the EFF who lobbies lawmakers. It isn’t to late to inject a bit of sanity into this.