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The TPP: A Time Bomb That Could Blow Up a Free Internet

(Marcelo Graciolli / CC BY 2.0)

The copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership could curtail Internet users’ basic access to information and right of self-expression on the Web, criminalizing common online activities and enforcing widespread Internet censorship, writes digital rights campaigner Evan Greer at The Guardian.

Greer continues:

To fully grasp the impending trainwreck here, it’s important to understand that copyright laws have a profound effect on what internet users can see and do online. The US regime of copyright enforcement has been repeatedly co-opted by special interests to censor legitimate content from the web. Copyright laws have been used to attack LGBTQ websites, censor investigative journalism and scrub homemade videos from the net just because of the music in the background.

Many of the scariest scenes in the TPP script take place in the intellectual property chapter. This section exports the most draconian aspects of the United States’ broken copyright system and forces them onto the rest of the world, without requiring “fair use” provisions that are necessary to protect free speech.

One provision demands that TPP member countries enforce copyright terms 70 years after the death of the creator. This will keep an immeasurable amount of information, art and creativity locked away from the public domain for decades longer than necessary, and allow for governments and corporations to abuse copyright laws and censor content at will, since so much of what’s online will be subject to copyright for decades.

TPP even prescribes a mechanism for that censorship to occur. A section that can best be described as “Zombie-Sopa”, due to its similarity to the failed Stop Online Piracy Act, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to play “copyright cops” and create systems for hastily taking down internet content upon a copyright holder’s request, even without a court order.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Alexander Reed Kelly
Former Associate Editor
In December 2010, Alex was arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House alongside Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, healthcare activist Margaret Flowers and…
Alexander Reed Kelly

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