The full text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal has been released, and longtime critics of the TPP are finding little to change their opinions about the multinational agreement that protects corporations.
“We now have concrete evidence that the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our families, our communities, and our environment,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, writes in an analysis. “It’s no surprise that the deal is rife with polluter giveaways that would undermine decades of environmental progress, threaten our climate, and fail to adequately protect wildlife because big polluters helped write the deal.”
The agreement — drawn up in secret between its 12 member countries — was kept under wraps until Canada could finish its October 19 election. Supporters claim it will lower trade barriers and help create common standards. However, rumored common standards for intellectual property and environmental laws mixed with its shadowy inception has attracted scrutiny from critics like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton who’ve both said they’ll oppose the deal. Obama has tried to sell Americans on the plan by highlighting that it eliminates 18,000 taxes countries now impose on U.S. exports and that it ensures workers in member countries have the right to form unions.
One long-anticipated section discussing Intellectual Property rights explains how internet service providers could be forced to provide customer names and data if a copyright holder thinks you’re infringing.
Here’s the breakdown of Legal Remedies and Safe Harbours of the chapter detailing Intellectual Property rights. Section 7 is where it gets sticky:
Article 18.82: Legal Remedies and Safe Harbours
- The Parties recognise the importance of facilitating the continued development of legitimate online services operating as intermediaries and, in a manner consistent with Article 41 of the TRIPS Agreement, providing enforcement procedures that permit effective action by right holders against copyright infringement covered under this Chapter that occurs in the online environment. Accordingly, each Party shall ensure that legal remedies are available for right holders to address such copyright infringement and shall establish or maintain appropriate safe harbours in respect of online services that are Internet Service Providers. This framework of legal remedies and safe harbours shall include:
(a) legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorised storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorised storage and transmission of copyrighted materials; and
(b) limitations in its law that have the effect of precluding monetary relief against Internet Service Providers for copyright infringements that they do not control, initiate or direct, and that take place through systems or networks controlled or operated by them or on their behalf.
- The limitations described in paragraph 1(b) shall include limitations in respect of the following functions:
(a) transmitting, routing or providing connections for material without modification of its content or the intermediate and transient storage of that material done automatically in the course of such a technical process;
(b) caching carried out through an automated process;
(c) storage, at the direction of a user, of material residing on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the Internet Service Provider; and
(d) referring or linking users to an online location by using information location tools, including hyperlinks and directories.
- To facilitate effective action to address infringement, each Party shall prescribe in its law conditions for Internet Service Providers to qualify for the limitations described in paragraph 1(b), or, alternatively, shall provide for circumstances under which Internet Service Providers do not qualify for the limitations described in paragraph 1(b):,
(a) With respect to the functions referred to in paragraph 2(c) and paragraph 2(d), these conditions shall include a requirement for Internet Service Providers to expeditiously remove or disable access to material residing on their networks or systems upon obtaining actual knowledge of the copyright infringement or becoming aware of facts or circumstances from which the infringement is apparent, such as through receiving a notice of alleged infringement from the right holder or a person authorised to act on its behalf,
(b) An Internet Service Provider that removes or disables access to material in good faith under subparagraph (a) shall be exempt from any liability for having done so, provided that it takes reasonable steps in advance or promptly after to notify the person whose material is removed or disabled.
- If a system for counter-notices is provided under a Party’s law, and if material has been removed or access has been disabled in accordance with paragraph 3, that Party shall require that the Internet Service Provider restores the material subject to a counter-notice, unless the person giving the original notice seeks judicial relief within a reasonable period of time.
- Each Party shall ensure that monetary remedies are available in its legal system against any person that makes a knowing material misrepresentation in a notice or counter-notice that causes injury to any interested party as a result of an Internet Service Provider relying on the misrepresentation.
- Eligibility for the limitations in paragraph 1 shall not be conditioned on the Internet Service Provider monitoring its service or affirmatively seeking facts indicating infringing activity.
- Each Party shall provide procedures, whether judicial or administrative, in accordance with that Party’s legal system, and consistent with principles of due process and privacy, that enable a copyright owner that has made a legally sufficient claim of copyright infringement to obtain expeditiously from an Internet Service Provider information in the provider’s possession identifying the alleged infringer, in cases in which that information is sought for the purpose of protecting or enforcing that copyright.
- The Parties understand that the failure of an Internet Service Provider to qualify for the limitations in paragraph 1(b) does not itself result in liability. Further, this Article is without prejudice to the availability of other limitations and exceptions to copyright, or any other defences under a Party’s legal system.
- The Parties recognise the importance, in implementing their obligations under this Article, of taking into account the impacts on right holders and Internet Service Providers.
The entire massive text could take weeks and a sharp legal mind to parse through, though Redditors are already giving it their best shot.
Another contentious point is establishing a minimum copyright term of the life of the creator plus another 70 years. Current international standards are lifetime plus 50 years.
“What possible argument could be made for such a absolutely restrictive and backwards copyright extension?” one Redditor wrote of proposed copyright laws. (One answer: Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which made its first appearance back in 1928. Creator Walt Disney died 49 years ago, which would protect Mickey for another26 years.)
Obama has to let the public be able to read the agreement a minimum of 60 days before signing it and must alert Congress 90 days before setting pen to paper. He’s expected to announce his intention to sign Thursday. In the meantime, his administration has posted the full text with an FAQ and chapter explanations to Medium.
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