By Justin King
Originally published in The Digital Journal
For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system.
Activists hold a very different opinion of the trade deal, which has only been available for public scrutiny through leaks hosted on the Wikileaks website or other whistleblower pages. It should be noted that none of the disclosures so far have anything to do with job creation. An activist intimately involved with tonight’s operation, Emily Laincz said
I think it’s really important for everyone to realize that this is a corporate bill, benefiting corporations while harming individuals– There is no benefit in it for us. It will affect each and every one of us personally.
As far as the worst part of the TPP; it is circumstantial because everyone has their own concerns, be it Internet regulations, lack of food labeling rights, etcetera.
But, I feel the largest issue is that it will replace the citizen’s bill of rights with a corporate bill of rights which will allow corporations to sue an entire nation for not complying with new found laws under the “trade treaty.”
The secrecy surrounding the trade deal has raised eyebrows across the globe. Activists and lawmakers alike have expressed concern over the lack of transparency in what is being advertised as a simple trade deal to bring jobs to nations that agree to the principals of the TPP. Laincz advised citizens to call their representatives.
What people need to stress is for their representative to call Rep. Miller and insist they sign the DeLauro-Miller letter.
The Delauro-Miller letter is a letter signed by over 150 Congressional Representatives that expresses their deep concern over the secrecy and methods being used by the executive to push the trade deal through Congress without giving the body the ability to amend the deal.
The Japan Times recently published an Op-Ed by William Pesek advising against Asia’s participation in the TPP. TPP is also being opposed by US Agricultural associations, as well. The watchdog group Electronic Frontier Foundation has voiced its opposition to the deal in a detailed summary found here.
Alex Freeman, another activist participating in tonight’s operation had this to say:
There are too many problems with the TPP and TAFTA, or whatever new name they have for it. I’ve seen them change it several times since this summer to keep it guarded. Ultimately, they are egregious corporate power grabs that are eroding constitutional process in their passage and will erode multiple states’ sovereignty in their implementation. The Constitution sets forth for the Senate to debate and negotiate treaties, yet many senators are unaware of the contents of TPP.
The treaty has been written by corporations and negotiated through a series of clandestine meetings. Without Wikileaks, we may not have known about them. What we do know of the contents of TPP shocks the conscience and chills free speech. Where Citizens United redefined money as speech for election purposes, TPP redefines it again to further alienate the voting populace in favor of world trade, corporate greed, and profits over people.
While large portions of the TPP are secret, leaks have given voters a glimpse at a small fraction of the deal. This draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter is one of those few glimpses. The 38 page document is summarized below, and lends some credibility to the claims of those in opposition to the deal.
Intellectual Property Rights Chapter Summary:
Article 1: Requires that member nations adhere to a series of previously established copyright treaties, and requires foreign corporations to receive the same copyright privileges as domestic companies in court proceedings.
Article 2: Provides a system for allowing and organizing trademarks of corporations in order to protect their brand name.
Article 3: Eliminates the ability of an individual to maintain privacy while holding ownership of an internet domain. Requires member nations to maintain a database of owners and contact information.
Article 4: Extends the number of years a work is considered protected by copyright law. Requires member nations to establish criminal penalties for violating copyrights.
Article 5: Leaves exhibition of copyrighted works at the sole discretion of the copyright holder.
Article 6: Establishes a timeline for when a work is considered copyrighted after exhibition or publication.
Article 7: Bans the production of certain types of decryption equipment.
Article 8: Requires member nations to make patents available for any kind of process or technology, including plants and animals. Bars member nations from not providing a patent simply because the exploitation of that patent would be against the law.
Article 9: Provides a monopoly for ten years once a chemical agricultural product is approved by stopping a government from approving a similar product.
Article 10: Removes the presumption of innocence from copyright related civil, administrative, or criminal cases.
Article 11: Requires member nations to issue copyright rulings in writing and keep statistical data in order to combat copyright infringement.
Article 12: Establishes procedures for member nations to abide by in the event of civil copyright infringement.
Article 13: Requires except in exceptional circumstances that an injunction within ten days of complaint of alleged copyright infringement.
Article 14: Makes it easier for corporations to stop suspected copyright infringement or use of trademarks that are confusingly similar.
Article 15: Requires member nations to establish minimum criminal codes to combat infringement of copyright infringement.
Article 16: Provides a list of measures to combat digital piracy.
The overall language of the treaty makes it clear that it overrides national law.