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EFF.org: Trans-Pacific Partnership is trading away our digital rights

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is about to get a bit more crowded, with Canada formally joining as 'second-tier' negotiators at next month's talks. These closed-door meetings will include discussions that could censor, criminalize and apply fines to everyday Internet users. Let the lobbyists and bureaucrats behind the TPP know that citizens worldwide rightfully deserve a seat at the table. Send your message through OpenTheTPP.net – we'll be sharing what you have to say at next month's negotiations. Article by Maira Sutton for EFF.org The next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations will take place from December 3-12 in Auckland, New Zealand, and it will be done with the same level of secrecy as the last 14 rounds. And like all of the previous rounds of talks, it will take place in a luxury venue, only this time in a high-end casino, that itself is embroiled in its own controversy over corrupt dealings.

As TPP talks trudge along with ever more Pacific nations participating in the meetings, our alarm over its intellectual property (IP) provisions has only grown. The IP language in this intricate trade agreement would harm users’ digital rights in profound ways, such as pressuring ISPs to become Internet cops and criminalizing the distribution of DRM-circumvention tools even for fair uses. It also attempts to protect temporary copies, against the logic of how the Internet works. The U.S. content industry has lobbied for this language just as they did with the SOPA and PIPA bills early this year. In doing so, they continue to demonstrate the same significant disregard for consumers as they did when they cooked up harmful provisions within those U.S. bills.

The TPP is one of many venues that powerful content groups like the MPAA and RIAA use to pressure governments into legally institutionalizing their unbalanced control over culture, art, and information at the expense of the public. The text remains under tight wraps and all we know about its contents come from leaked drafts. But public interest groups are continuing to fight the secrecy. Several local and international organizations will be at the negotiations putting on events for civil society groups and trade delegates. InternetNZ is putting on an music festival and EFF, along with InternetNZ and KEI, is hosting a Digital Rights Camp for Asian-Pacific organizations. Read more »

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