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Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (mfat.govt.nz)
755 points by cdubzzz on Nov 5, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 348 comments

According to 18.37.3 and 4, microorganisms cannot be excluded from patentability. I assume this is to allow patenting of things like probiotics. However, all humans rely their skin, mouth, and gut floras to be healthy. If the bacteria and yeast in that flora can't be excluded from patentability, are they considered not a part of the human animal? I understand that probiotics should be protected, but I wonder if someone could take advantage of this and claim patent on any naturally occurring microorganism by just isolating it and showing that it has some use.

Something else not specified in this section are viruses. Viruses are not strictly microorganisms, and no mention is made of them, but yet they can be manufactured and used for treatments- recently even for cancer:



If viruses could be excluded from patentability since they aren't mentioned, then any research or manufacturing done would not be patentable, and therefore some companies may hesitate to invest too heavily in research.

I think the spirit of this to allow for drastically modified yeast that produce, say, anti-cancer drug X to be patented. To make the biological equivalent of an industrial methods patent. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to protect your IP even though significant effort has gone into creating a chimeric yeast, because its just a collection of natural products (natural product's are currently not patentable).

Still, seems a little odd / slippery slope-y to me. On the one hand, I understand and, to some extent, agree with the need to protect / profit off what you've developed. On the otherhand, USPTO is pretty bad at biological patent screening and I can see a huge landrush to patent bacteria for no good reason.

(Full disclosure, I am in the process of patenting a modified natural product made by a bacteria)

I've never understood why people patent organisms. That's not an ethical thing --- I understand why people want IP protection.

It just seems like the wrong mechanism. Isn't the goal of restricting copying of your engineered organism better suited to the copyright system, rather than the patent system? Patents are for processes, right? But an organism is a thing, not a process. Isn't making an illegal copy of that thing a copyright violation?

Patenting an organism that you've tweaked, tuned and bent to your will is, in the end, no different than patenting a unique alloying mix or manufacturing machine.

They aren't patenting the organism per se, they're patenting the processes they've developed that make use of the organisms as the scaffold/factory. In the case I outlined previously of a yeast making a drug, you would want the patent on the cellular machinery that you've built to make the drug, which is the process.

No, they're patenting the organism, or the end result. If you come up with an entirely different process to tweak the same organism by happenstance it's still covered by the patent.

This is pretty much the definition of how patents differ from copyright law, if I word-for-word write come up with the same work as you and I can prove that I didn't copy yours, it's not covered by copyright law.

With patents it doesn't matter that I came up with it on my own, you own the rights to the end result.

That's an argument against patents existing at all. It's not really relevant to a discussion of what counts as patentable, because such a discussion assumes that patents are a valid mechanism.

Patents aim to trade a temporary bad result (monopoly) for a permanent good result (incentives to invent stuff).

Discussing exactly how bad the temporary bad result is informs discussion of when that trade-off is worthwhile. And this is true whether or not your conclusion is that patents are never OK or only sometimes OK.

When discussing whether X should be patented, it is appropriate to discuss the trade-offs specific to X.

It is a poor time to discuss trade-off generic to all patents. Focusing on them shifts the discussion away from the issue at hand, and toward a political stance that people have already heard.

avar's post does the latter.

Just like in a topic about whether to vote for a specific tax levy, it's inappropriate to talk about whether property taxes as a whole should be abolished.

>Just like in a topic about whether to vote for a specific tax levy, it's inappropriate to talk about whether property taxes as a whole should be abolished.

Making the argument that a given problem is recurrent is very constructive: consideration of the generic problem can provide arguments for prioritizing your problem as it relates to X. This is especially true when present instances of a problem affect future probability of the same problem occurring.

This is notably the case in law where jurisprudence makes laws progressively more difficult to repeal.

    > That's an argument against patents existing at all.
No it's not.

It's not an argument for or against patents, I'm pointing out that @aroch is wrong about them "patenting the processes".

That's not true for most of these patents, they're patenting isolated organisms, compounds or genes. I.e. the end result, not the process.

What incentives we should give individuals and corporations to advance biotechnology is another matter.

>That's not true for most of these patents, they're patenting isolated organisms, compounds or genes. I.e. the end result, not the process.

Organisms and genes are machines. There's nothing new about patenting specific machines.

Could they really get a patent on "bacteria that secretes X" that would stop you from doing it in a completely different manner?

But if you insert the same gene into the same bacteria using different equipment, that's no better than making the same patented gear with a different manufacturing method.

There's nothing stopping you from doing that, even with a patent in place, so long as your mechanism for secreting X (such as using a different base organism) is different.

To give an analogy, if somebody invented and patented the reciprocating piston engine, and then somebody else came along and invented a rotary engine, such as the wankel engine, the inventor of the former wouldn't have a claim against the latter because, while the result is the same (a drive shaft gets turned), the mechanism is different. Sure, it's possible that the inventor of the former could threaten the inventor of the former, as many patent trolls do, but legally they wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Now, if the gene itself is the critical part of the 'invention', and not the organism, then taking that same gene and inserting it into a different organism still leaves you open to patent infringement. But that assumes the gene itself has been engineered, as opposed to having been found in an existing organism.

Exactly. It's why we tried to fight that crap back when they first tried it.

I'm not so sure, how is the end result any different than patenting a better manufacturing technique? That happens all the time in the macro-world.

Again, I'm not sure how I feel on whether it should be patentable or not. But, at least as I understand it, their intent is protection for something they've spent millions/billions developing -- no different than the process patents we have now.

Except it gets really interesting down the line once we create a new intelligent life form.

How would you feel if your body, consciousness, and everything you were was patented?

I guess I'd prefer it to a situation where anyone at all could make a clone of me on their 3D printer slash uterus.

There are an awful lot of ethical and legal considerations when custom-designed intelligent organisms become possible, I'm not sure if IP is high on the list.

If you want to copyright an organism, you had damned well better remove its ability to copy itself without your permission first.

As much of the utility in modified organisms is that they do copy themselves without your help, it seems as though the patent system would be much better suited, because there the enforcement burden is to prevent a human from using the organism to accomplish a specific purpose.

People sometimes forget that laws are pointless if they are not enforceable.

> People sometimes forget that laws are pointless if they are not enforceable.

Or worse than pointless; actively harmful.

Since copyright terms often exceed 150 years, I think we're better off with patents, which last for 20 years.

In seeking to patent an organism, they are treating the novel organism as an invention. Copyright doesn't protect purely functional elements, only creative ones, which is why we have the idea of patenting inventions — so patent seems like the right system in this case.

Patents are for inventions. For mechanisms. It's only in the last few decades that it has been otherwise.

This alone is a strike against humanity: Now local patent laws that are widely criticized are even protected by international contracts (and thus have to be implemented by all signers -- and can not be changed, even the US can not change it's laws or regulations, when the top courts want to change patent ability regulations, they can't.).

Is this about "free trade" or about profit-maximizing and guaranteeing for some big corporations?

The latter, of course. Novartis and other pharma giants are heavily behind the TPP because it would send their profits through the roof relative to currently.

That is, IMHO, just the opposite of a "free market". "Chained market" fits it better.

Also, the drug market and ISP market in the US are explicitly exempt from the free market and ISDS policy – meaning, in the US, you can still have monopolies, but in the rest of the world, protectionism becomes impossible.

Very dangerous, and sounds more like "Empire – Colonies" than "Equal partners in trade"

That is exactly the impression I got from the TTIP negotiations. The EU "partners" where supposed to sacrifice any of their positions, but the US (and US-corporation-) side always insisted in theirs.

Unbelievable, that the EU does really accept all this! Only explanation: Those politicians are already bought.

To quote Obama:

> The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century.


It very much sounds like they’re treating the rest of the world as colonies.

What confuses the hell out of me regarding the TPP - and maybe it's just because I'm in the HN/Reddit echo chamber on this - but if the TPP is so damn important to reigning in China in the 21st century or whatever, then why did they load it up with a bunch of unrelated antagonizing bullshit?

It doesn't seem to me that the intellectual property provisions of the agreement are all that important to the overall stated goals of the TPP. Yet they are so fucking regressive and antagonistic that there is some chance (I guess? Again, echo chamber...) that they will sabotage the rest of the agreement. After SOPA, etc., if it were me and I wanted to be sure that the TPP passed in enough Pacific Rim countries to make it effective, I would keep anything remotely like SOPA as far away from my precious treaty as I possibly could.

Instead, the IP portions of the agreement are basically the language that was in SOPA all over again, which pissed a whole lot of people off last time. It's really hard to take seriously the claim that the TPP is so important, when the people drafting it are including language that is pretty much guaranteed to stoke vigorous opposition, for reasons that are mostly orthogonal to their goals.

To me it seams that they just don't care.

Either they know, that the other countries will follow anyway (because the politicians are (select one or multiple): incompetent, bought, blackmailed, Pro-US, incompetent, ignoring their own countries interests) -- or the things told about the importance of the treaties are not true, but it is just a vehicle to transport the antagonizing bullshit, because some big corporations want this to be installed.

In the EU (TTIP), my impression is, that at least at the high levels of politicians, the list above just must be applied. Many leading politicians are just hitting so hard to get this installed, that it seems they are mad, when I see what negatives they are ready to swallow. They let the US dictate the treaty and just don't seem to recognize, how the EU is hornswoggled.

Only the rest of the worlds did not recognize it!

What happens to colonies can be seen in the plenty of former colonies that still struggle to get out of poverty.

>Is this about "free trade" or about profit-maximizing and guaranteeing for some big corporations?

If the West is moving towards an information economy and is going to let the developing world take over manufacturing, the West wants to protect the information economy. The idea is we want to sell information for goods/services.

Of course, some types of protection for own inventions is necessary ... but what here shall be protected, are the building blocks of life!

This is not about protecting own inventions, but about land-grabbing things that we did not invent, but nature!

The same thing, corporations try again and again. For example, once they copied cures of traditional Indian medicine, patented them in the USA and tried to forbid the free usage.

When this goes on this way, we all will soon have to pay a life-tax for having some type of DNA or bacteria in our bodies. Already, many cures are not invented, because to many patents on life building blocks make the creation to financially risky.

Can you support your claim that indian medicine cures were patented in the US?

Can't EDIT, so here is this:


"In the first step by a developing country to stop multinational companies patenting traditional remedies from local plants and animals, the Indian government has effectively licensed 200,000 local treatments as "public property" free for anyone to use but no one to sell as a "brand"."

Just use Google and you can yourself easily find enough references. Maybe I should add, that also European corporations did such things in Europe.

Re: "I wonder if someone could take advantage of this"

I believe that microorganisms patentability would indeed introduce a whole lot of problems for any human being. Starting with what's apparently already happening with plant patents -- see e.g. the story at:


Probably more important than probiotics are patents for biologically engineered bacteria, like those made by Ginkgo Bioworks. A lot of work goes into engineering bugs to execute specific chemical synthesis pathways, and it's trivial to reverse engineer.

But what about prior art? I understand newly created microorganisms being patentable, but how can you patent something that was already there?

Entire sections of the Human Genome are patented, so unlikely.

Human Genome patents are no longer recognized in the United States of America. https://www.genomeweb.com/clinical-genomics/us-supreme-court...

What does that mean? If I have a child with part of that patented code, the "patent owner" could legally extract the DNA?

Human Genome patents are no longer recognized in the US[0], but my understanding is that they were used to protect genetic tests and treatments. For example, Myriad Genomics held patents against the BRCA genes (which can indicate breast cancer risk) which they used to prevent competitors from creating BRCA-based panels.

[0]: https://www.genomeweb.com/clinical-genomics/us-supreme-court...

Wild-type micro-organisms are not currently patentable, while genetically engineered ones already are. And 18.37.2 requires a new use, method or process involving any "known products", so it would be the use not the organism that is patentable.


> most fuckups that ever happened

How about not blatantly ignoring all the human misery caused by failed extreme free market experiments, such as Pinochet's Chile and 1990's Russia?

Deaths under Pinochet: 3000, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship_of_Chile.... Deaths under Mao: 20,000,000 - 70,000,000, according to http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Mao. Deaths under Stalin: 20,000,000 - 50,000,000 according to http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Stalin. Deaths in 1990s Russia: I can't even find a source.

So if 1990s Russia and Pinochet's Chile are examples of extreme free market experiments, I'd take the human misery they cause over the human misery of extreme no-market experiments any day.

> So if 1990s Russia and Pinochet's Chile are examples of extreme free market experiments

You're confused. They're examples of free market experiments, however the Pinochet's deaths had nothing to do with the free market and all with his political power.

If you want to see deaths caused by free market, look at e.g. homeless people who freeze on the street during winter.

The statistic you want for russia is the life expectancy. Russians are dying very young. The situation got worse after 1990s.

Why is this relevant? The proximate cause for the decreasing life expectancy is massive alcohol consumption. You could assign the blame by drawing long, tenuous chains of social causation from policies you don't like. Or, not unreasonably, you could just fault those destroying their bodies through substance abuse.

Indirect harm is no less harm than direct harm. If life expectancy plummets after capitalism takes effect then yeah, capitalism is probably to blame.

Anyway, I don't think anyone excuses dictatorships in this thread.

I wouldn't say that's the main cause. It's more about the collapse of the previous infrastructure than the particulars of what came after.

why the need to narrow complex set of factors affecting each other into a single bullet point? it doesn't work, not only in this scenario. General Russian mentality is a prime example of one f*ed up beyond repair, for quite a few generations to come unless some miracle happens (and Putin is making sure it won't happen during his reign).

"General Russian mentality is a prime example of one f*ed up beyond repair"

What do you mean?

Well, my first hypothesis for rampant alcoholism - cultural background nonwithstanding - would be the lack of options in the social environment.

> Why is this relevant? The proximate cause for the decreasing life expectancy is massive alcohol consumption.

IIRC, this is not true. It's a contributor, certainly, but Russian life expectancy is substantially lower than other nations with similar alcohol consumption.

Has any philosophy in human history caused more death and suffering than collectivism and its offshoots? ... and its adherents take the free-marketeers to task for their "cruelty" and "heartlessness"!

You have presented a logical tautology. Killing another human being is always collectivist according to your definition.

However, that doesn't say anything about validity of ideas of free market or communism. What does say a lot though is that some free market proponents have the need to advocate Pinochet.

> You have presented a logical tautology. Killing another human being is always collectivist according to your definition.

That's not what ctlby said. Nor is it a reasonable interpretation of his/her words.

OK, consider this. Every (moral) philosophy exists to motivate other people, as a code to follow (if it didn't you wouldn't have reason to tell anyone!). This means there is a group, or a collective, which supposedly holds these values and is to be protected. If fulfilling this philosophy (or its protection) requires killing other humans, then this is (ostensibly) done in the interest of the group.

In other words, if someone is killing for individual reasons, he is not following any philosophy, because he doesn't need any; he's just crazy or psychopath. Killing for philosophical reasons always happens to protect some social order (albeit sometimes fictional).

If you don't agree, there is a simple solution. Just provide an example of philosophy that causes killing of people and is not in fact collectivist (by any definition you choose, it doesn't matter very much, and that's why I was able to do the bold claim I did).

Or to put it even simpler, it's contradictory to kill another human to fulfil any philosophy of individual freedom.

Hitler killed because he wanted to protect Germans from Jews, Pinochet killed because communists were danger to his social order, and so on. Even Winston Smith from 1984 was willing to kill in order to replace the social system (which is the passage in the book I really like, because it's one of the places that makes it actually morally ambiguous, just like real world).

You said, "Killing another human being is always collectivist according to your [ctlby's] definition."

Now you argue that killing another human being for philosophical reasons is always collectivist according to your [asgard1024's] definition. That does nothing whatsoever to make the quoted statement true.

[Edit: For that matter, I see nowhere where ctlby gave his/her definition of "collectivist", nor where he/she assented to yours definition.]

To your point in this post:

You are kind of arguing a tautology. If someone expresses a moral philosophy (no matter how twisted), but they are the only one who believes it or adheres to it, they're collectivist, because they're trying to motivate other people to follow their code. But if someone doesn't express their reasons as a moral philosophy, "he's just crazy or a psychopath". You dismiss any possibility that such a person is following an inexpressed philosophy. In fact, you have pretty much defined out the possibility of there even being such a thing. From that starting point, you argue that your position is correct, but in fact it was contained in your starting assumptions, so your argument is of no value.

> Now you argue that killing another human being for philosophical reasons is always collectivist according to your [asgard1024's] definition. That does nothing whatsoever to make the quoted statement true.

What I said is true of (almost) any definition of "collectivist", including ctlby's.

> You dismiss any possibility that such a person is following an inexpressed philosophy.

Yes, because any inexpressed philosophies were not subject of the discussion; we can't assign killings due to inexpressed philosophies to any philosophy, since we don't know which one.

I mean, show me one non-collectivist philosophy according to which is OK to kill human (except in unavoidable self-defense). There is no such thing - all of them are collectivist.

> What I said is true of (almost) any definition of "collectivist", including ctlby's.

No, your definition of collectivist is so expansive, everything fits. My reply is trying to communicate something to you, therefore my reply is collectivist (or else I don't understand your definition). But presuming I do understand, I reject your definition as being so broad as to be meaningless.

> I mean, show me one non-collectivist philosophy according to which is OK to kill human (except in unavoidable self-defense). There is no such thing - all of them are collectivist.

The Marquis de Sade had a philosophy. Since there is no God, whatever is, is right. And, hey, nature made man stronger than woman. Therefore man has the right to do to woman whatever he wants. I can't find any sane way to describe that philosophy as "collectivist", but de Sade lived out his philosophy to the extent of torturing women. (To my knowledge, he did not actually kill any, but certainly he was free to do so, according to his philosophy.)

Now, I will agree with you that collectivist philosophies (conventionally defined) are much more likely to say that it is OK to kill an individual, because those philosophies start from the group being important, and the individual not. (That's kind of the definition of collective.) From that starting point, it's really hard to find a way to stop short of "It's OK to kill an individual if it's for the good of the group."

> I mean, show me one non-collectivist philosophy according to which is OK to kill human (except in unavoidable self-defense).

Individualistic (as opposed to ethical or utilitarian) hedonism: if it brings the holder of that philosophy net pleasure to do a thing, it is right to do it.

Pretty much the most anti-collectivist philosophy possible.

Yes, but it is also kind of trivial. I mean isn't this philosophy something that every agent ultimately follows?

I would like to see an example that would be useful to classify social systems, as ctlby attempted to do. But I don't see it. Once you put "social system" into it, killing happens for collectivist reason.

So your argument is "Stalin and Mao were monsters, therefore fuck the poor"?

Life is not black and white. The hardline communists were awful. That doesn't mean that hardline capitalists can't also be awful. Maybe they're less awful, in a "rather be kicked in the face than shot in the head" kind of way, but that's not a positive recommendation.

Dude, you cannot compare a country the size of Chile (8m in the '60s) with a country the size of Russia (120m in the '60s) or China (600m in the '60s).

But we can divide 3000 / 8M and 20M / 120M to get ratios, no?

No, because you also have to account for duration and for a number or other factors (e.g. Chilean population was concentrated in very few cities, so the effect of one death was relatively higher than in a place like Russia, where things often happen "at very long distance"; and so on and so forth).

This is not a rational historical comparison (if such a thing can really exist), these are just random numbers shouted in a pub argument, "My guy killed less people than your guy!"...

There's a distinction to be made between rapid neoliberal deregulation policies which naively attempt for a full "shock therapy" solution in an economy already devastated by accumulated allocative inefficiency from central planning and oil shocks (in the case of the USSR), and the general concept of laissez-faire which is separate from a particular national policy and can emerge by counter-economic means (e.g. crypto-anarchism), or others.

Chile and the Chicago Boys is a bit disingenuous to regard as outright failure, it's a controversial subject. Keep in mind that the Chicago School are a unique economic position, but they've been oversimplified to "free market" in common discourse.

What makes the Chicago Boys unique, to a large degree, is that they seem to have made a choice to trade analysis for position advocacy. A lot of them are better thought of as taking part in politics rather than academics.

If you want sources, just scan Brad Delong's blog; there's a decent chance he's making this point at any given time. There was a wonderful example I can't take time time to dig up right now in which an (Chicago-aligned) economist published a paper with outright deceptive priors and when confronted, explained that his goal was to promote an argument, and it was the reader's problem to make counter arguments. You can call that a lot of things, but academic inquiry isn't one of them.

Anytime a government exists, you can find a way to blame anything that happens on the government rather than the deer market, since the government certainly intervened in there market in some way, and that always influences market conditions and decisions. Free market fundamentalism isn't falsifiable, it's an axiomatic quasi-religious article if faith.

Of course, the exact opposite dynamic also exists in full bloom - when did you last see an advocate for government action invite falsification?

Mariana Mazzucato's work on The Entrepreneurial State makes frequent appearances in these parts, typically in the shape of references to internet startups not really being innovative, because the internet/GPS/touch screens/Siri have roots in government research programs.

> when did you last see an advocate for government action invite falsification?

All the time: very often advocates of government action tend to predict an association between specific government actions and specific results, rather than ascribing bad results to "government" generally and good results to "the market", drawing both bad and good results from scenarios where government regulation shapes the market; while anti-government advocates like to pretend that there is a symmetry between their non-specific advocacy against government and some opposing advocacy for government, that's not actually the case.

Well, all right, but how often do you see the loop closed? "We predicted results X from this government program (with these error bars), actual results were Y, which were/were not withing the error bars."

I have literally never seen that kind of analysis of a government program, still less a group of them. But it's essential, so that we can tell whether the predictions of what the next program will do have any basis in reality.

While this isn't necessarily the exact kind of analysis you're talking about, it's very close to what the Government Accountability Office was set up to report on -- and from what I can tell, they do their job pretty well. We don't hear about them very often in large part because what they do isn't very "sexy," politics-wise.

> "the deer market"

I know this was a typo and you meant "free market", but it was a hilarious typo.

Playing the deer market is a great way to earn a few bucks.

I could use some extra doe!

What if someone tries to game the system?

The misery Russians suffered after the collapse of the USSR, was from the collapse of the USSR. There was an immense price paid for the failure of the Soviet Union.

The notion of blaming the ills of 1991-1999 on free markets is absurd. Were free markets going to magically turn the nation of Stalin right around into a bastion of prosperity? Impossible.

You know what turned Russia's condition around? A debased US dollar and the high oil prices it caused. It wasn't Putin or central planning.

And as for Pinochet: a 17 year, violent military dictatorship in a free market. If that's your political system, what you inherently cannot have is a free market. The two are mutually exclusive.

Yeah, me too! Any time anything bad happens under my econo-political regime of choice, it's not really my regime, since my regime ensures bad things can never happen. So any example that makes my regime look bad is by definition not an example. The two are mutually exclusive.

It was Putin's planning to keep all money in the country. And it was well-executed.

How many of these are the government's fault?


The very first (more deaths than all the rest combined) one in the list (Bhopal disaster[1])...

"Government-controlled banks and the Indian public holding a 49.1 percent stake."

The government and public quite literally owned half of Union Carbide company at the time of the disaster. Fault can't really get more directly placed than that.

The hopes of private industry are that an entirely private corporation, in order to protect its brand's value, needs to avoid this sort of thing. Add government funding to the mix, and everything is up in the air. Lockheed's F-35 project is another example of a disaster, but of the financial sort instead. If funded by another private company, rather than the government, this project would have been shut down and Lockheed would have already been sued into bankruptcy. Instead, Lockheed continues to be paid billions, while their treasonous corporation holds our national security hostage.

Note: All content in this comment is my opinion only.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster

> The hopes of private industry are that an entirely private corporation, in order to protect its brand's value, needs to avoid this sort of thing.

It's 2015, no-one believes this anymore.

Now let's talk about asbetos and tobacco if you please.

c'mon... your glasses are so rosy it's not even funny.

I'd argue that most of them are the government's fault, but in favor of more regulation (and bigger teeth), not less.

Note the ex officio statement in the IP chapter: even if a copyright holder does not want to initiate border measures (e.g. destroy fanzines), this can be enforced by governments, http://www.mfat.govt.nz/downloads/trade-agreement/transpacif.... In 2013, Japanese lawyers warned about the fair use implications, http://japanitlaw.blogspot.com/2013/01/tpps-effect-on-fanzin... & http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Course_Pages/IP_Theor...

  Article 18.76: Special Requirements related to Border Measures 

  5. Each Party shall provide that its competent authorities 
  may initiate border measures ex officio [118] with respect 
  to goods under customs control that are:  

    (a) imported; (b) destined for export; (c) in transit,

  and that are suspected of being counterfeit trademark 
  goods or pirated copyright goods. 

  [118]  For greater certainty, ex officio action does 
         not require a formal complaint from a third party 
         or right holder.

> For greater certainty of abuse


And are there any accountability or requirements for being familiar with the thing it is claimed to infringe? Should everything have to carry copyright notice signed by all copyright holders?

    For greater certainty, ex officio action does
    not require a formal complaint from a third party
    or right holder
I wonder if it's possible for a "third party or right holder" to explicitly state that they don't wish to start border measures.

They could just grant the fan site a license. Or had a broad license that fan materials can use.

It isn't unheard of.

The text quoted in the original comment says "suspected of", though. So that may not help.

I suspect it will take a while for all of this text to be digested and for people much smarter than me to find a lot of nasty stuff in there.

Meanwhile, I found the New Zealand and US side letter amusing:

>To the extent contemplated in the Code, New Zealand shall not permit the sale of any product as Bourbon Whiskey or Tennessee Whiskey, unless it has been manufactured in the United States according to the laws of the United States governing the manufacture of Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey and the product complies with all applicable regulations of the United States for the sale or export as Bourbon Whiskey or Tennessee Whiskey.

I assume this must be quite prevalent in New Zealand if they wrote a letter specific to this one issue. I didn't see a similar letter with France regarding cognac or champagne.

There's a way of thinking about things like "Tennessee Whiskey" and "champagne" that makes good business sense: They're basically shared regional brands.

In Europe, many traditional kinds of cheese, alcohol and meat are covered by a system known in various countries as AOC (France, Appellation d'origine contrôlée) or DOC (Italy, Denominazione di origine controllata). Conceptually speaking, the idea goes something like:

1. Large-scale producers can always just create a trademark and market it. Customers will be able to recognize the product and evaluate it based on its reputation.

2. Small-scale producers, however, lack the reach to advertise and be recognized on their own. But what if they're making a traditional, high-end product for which their region is famous? Well, we could set up a shared "brand", where anybody from the right region can agree to follow traditional recipes and have their quality judged. And eventually, customers will realize that Parmigiano-Reggiano means "a certain kind of really good traditional Parmesan cheese from Italy."

Under this system, the right way to think of things like "champagne" and "Tennessee Whiskey" is to treat them as a particular kind of brand. Any company can sell products under this brand, provided (a) they come from the right region, and (b) they meet a certain set of quality standards.

The system of AOC/DOC seems to work well for both "foodie" customers (who want to be able to recognize a high-quality traditional product), and small- to mid-size producers (who get to pool their branding efforts). The only cost of this system is that names like "Tennessee Whiskey" essentially become international trademarks under the control of a regional organization.

The only problem with that is that there might be producers outside these regions who produce better quality products, these producers will be penalized for not being able to use the actual product name and may give up on it, leaving the market worse off, with lower quality products. The other problem is that producers who benefit from the regional brand name have very little reason to improve or even maintain the quality of their product as they have a monopoly on it.

> The only problem with that is that there might be producers outside these regions who produce better quality products, these producers will be penalized for not being able to use the actual product name and may give up on it

Not being allowed to lie isn't a penalty. E.g. if you are raising pigs in Texas you shouldn't be allowed to label your product as being "Ham from Italy." Whether or not it tastes better is completely irrelevant.

> E.g. if you are raising pigs in Texas you shouldn't be allowed to label your product as being "Ham from Italy."

What happens when the name of the product _is_ the name of the region though. For example, Champagne or Parmesan? Giving your product another name clearly disadvantages you.

Let's consider a US buyer of Parmesan: I have a choice between regular "Parmesan cheese", which is held to no particular standards in the US, and "Parmigiano-Reggiano", which is both expensive and (IMO) predictably delicious. Parmigiano-Reggiano is good because there are regional standards. As a customer, I know what I'm buying. This is the whole idea of a brand: It provides useful information to customers.

In the case of champagne, I'm usually unwilling to pay for the regional "brand." Instead, I often buy "cava," which is another regional AOC for sparkling wine, this one run by producers in Catalonia (and elsewhere in Spain). It's a bit cheaper, which is probably less than ideal for the producers, but I still know more or less what I'm getting.

You could argue that one or the other of these two situations is less than optimal. But as a customer, I find that AOCs and DOCs generally help me buy products I'll like. And since it would be hard for the producers of "Tennessee Whiskey" to enforce their agreed-upon quality standards on a company in New Zealand, it does make a certain amount of sense to limit participation geographically.

> I have a choice between regular "Parmesan cheese", which is held to no particular standards in the US, and "Parmigiano-Reggiano"

What if nobody bothers making quality "Parmigiano-Reggiano" in the US because they know it is close to impossible to compete against the brand name and the margin are not worth it to even try? Maybe, if Americans were allowed to call theirs "Parmigiano-Reggiano" they'd put a lot more effort into making it high quality given that they'd have a much bigger chance of making a profit.

It already happens, and new names change, or a different region creates their own regional name.

Champagne is already limited to a region in Europe, but that hasn't stopped, say, Catalonia from making Cava: their own regional brand for what is, in essence, the same thing. If anything, this also allowed local producers to band against the old name, which now indicates it's a product made in France.

So in practice, its not a big deal for good competitors.

You just need to get creative with your marketing. "ImProsciutto--it's not Prosciutto, it's improved", "I Can't Believe It's Not Champagne (tm)", "Parmigiano-Texicano", etc. :)

You either call it Parmesan-style cheese, or else you invent a new name for it, e.g. Meritage wine. Or else work out a deal with the AOC to get certified with some sort of appelation for products made in the style of the region.

For the same reason you can't start making adhesive bandages and selling them as Band-Aids, even though many people call them that: Both are proper names for a specific regional brand of sparkling wine and grana, or hard cheese, respectively.

The EU does recognize genericization of regional names in some cases, so I'm not sure it's in principle different from the U.S. on this, it just draws the line much further to one side, with a stronger presumption in favor of regional name protection. Two examples of regionally named cheeses now legally generic in the EU are "cheddar" and "emmental". These are the names of cheeses traditionally produced in the vicinity of Cheddar (in Somerset, England) and Emmental (in Bern, Switzerland), respectively, but have since become names for cheese style rather than cheese origin. There's an argument that "parmesan" should be similar, especially when used with a lowercase "p" in a manner analogous to the way "cheddar" is used, but the decision came out the other way on that one.

One that's currently being litigated in the EU is whether labeling products not from Greece as "Greek yogurt" is misleading. I personally think yes, especially given the capital 'G' and the parallels with other clear origin-designating terms like "Greek wine" and "Greek olive oil" (and mixed origin/style terms like "Scotch whisky"), but it could end up going either way.

"adhesive bandage" actually means the same thing. "hard cheese" is an enormous category. How do you refer to the specific type of cheese?


That’s what’s done here. You see that it is not the exact original product (sometimes you don’t even want the original product, but a specific fake of it), and you see still what it’s similar to.

It looks like regional brands in Europe are a feta accompli.

That's not really what happens with alcohol products, though. Bourbon, for example, has specific requirements on the proportion of corn used, the barrels it's aged in, what proof it's distilled to, etc. There's a wide range of Bourbon and most of it is good, and that doesn't mean other parts of the world can't compete in the liquor market.

I don't think that's the real problem. I have my doubts that "better quality products" is really a thing beyond a point. Most of people can't distinguish so subtle details and they really don't care. Just want "the better".

The problem we see, if it is a problem, is that regions with big demand buy the product to regions with worst brand and then sell it as their our.

A lot of the Italian olive oil comes from Spain. A lot of wine get the grape from other regions.. things like that. Not really a problem, I suppose, just a lie.

So why wouldn't that high quality provider simply create their own brand identity at that point. Brand X, an interpretation of Region Ys cheese or wine or whatever...

That's probably true given it already happens with brand names in general.

Exactly, except it's even more unfair in this case because when Apple or Google release software, at least they wrote the source code. In this case we're talking about recipes that have existed since centuries and are in the public domain yet only people who happen to live there can call them what they are.

As long as they aren't prevented from saying that they are distilling a Tennessee style whiskey, someone making such an amazing product shouldn't have any trouble.

Nods to tradition can certainly go too far, but I like allowing the regional names to be a little exclusive.

This is what Jack Daniels does and it doesn't seem to hurt them any.

I agree. Your point is supported by the fact that the only reason it's there is to make money for groups who paid politicians to be represented in the negotiation that the rest of us couldn't participate in.

<jokingly tone> The most amusing part to me is the glorification of Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey. IMO, They don't stand a chance in front a good Scotch or even a Rye. </jokingly tone>

I know this is purely subjective, but personally I genuinely haven't found a bourbon I like, while I love plenty of single malts (not just from Scotland but also Irish/Japanese). Maybe someday that'll change for me or maybe I'm just destined to not be a fan of Bourbons - I have plenty of friends who love them. Haven't tried Tennessee.

(But as a Brit I completely approve of your joking, too)

The problem with Tennessee Whiskey is that the style is almost extinct. Until recently, in the TN state constitution, only three counties were allowed to have distilleries. Therefore, we have Jack Daniels (which is honestly awful), Dickle (which is quite good, i.m.o., and #12 is a good example of TN whiskey, albeit cheap), and the other county had no active distilleries. Now there are a couple of others on the market, which are very good, but a touch pricey for what they are.

In practice, most TN whiskey is home distilled, and not barrel-aged. (and also, never sold) Instead, you "char" the whiskey by putting charred birch, maple, or oak sticks inside a bottle and then aging for a relatively short time. Commercially-produced TN whiskey is always barrel aged, though.

Process-wise, the key difference is charcoal filtering before aging (Search for "Lincon County Process"). Taste-wise, it varies, but TN whiskey is usually less sweet than bourbon. It's still corn whiskey, so it's relatively sweet and has a hint of that distinct sour mash taste. However, I've never had one that's as "sticky-sweet" as Makers Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, or the other really sweet bourbons.

Try a Buffalo Trace antique collection and you'll see why bourbon is a respected spirit among connoisseurs.

The problem is, making real bourbon is very difficult because you have to let so much evaporate off that producers lose a lot of product. E.g. 84% of the Buffalo Trace 2015 George T. Stagg evaporated off. That's a lot of lost product -- so they're opening these 53 gallon barrels and pulling out about 8 gallons of product. Producers don't like those numbers, but that's how you make real bourbon. So it leaves most people thinking they dislike Bourbon before ever having drank a real classic bourbon.

By comparison, Scotch is a very simple, cloying beverage. Scotch's complexity all comes from the peat, it's all show. If you pour enough peat in any whiskey it will taste roughly like Lagavulin. Bourbon is a more honest beverage, you're not covering anything up, which means a bad Bourbon is very bad and a good Bourbon is very, very good.

Scotch is the IPA of whiskey. It's criminal if you ask me.

Scotch's complexity all comes from the peat, it's all show

This isn't even close to true; the entire Speyside region (which produces more Scotch, and more popular Scotch, than any other region) refutes it --- most Speysides have little if any peat.

The Speysides are artificially evaporated because the North Scottish climate doesn't allow the barrels to adequately breathe -- it kills the whiskey. By comparison, the heavy temperature swings in Kentucky open and close the barrels every season, so you see a much larger angel's share, and thus a much more complex whiskey.

Drinking an 18 year Bourbon is like drinking a 40 year barrel-aged Speyside. Sure, if you can get your hands on a 40 year old barrel-aged Speyside Scotch, I misspoke. But that's rather outside the budget of even the most die-hard Whiskey fans.

As a result, most Speysides fall roughly into that same category as the shite bourbons. Once you stop covering up their failings, you're left with a boring, watery, lifeless whiskey.

It's like if we were talking beer and I said "Americans just cover up their beer with flavorants so you don't realize they're watery garbage. German and Belgian beers are superior." and you fired back "That's not true! Coors Lite doesn't do that!" No, you're right, Coors Lite doesn't do that.

I am having trouble with the idea that a bourbon-casked Glenrothes, with no peat and practically no other flavors other than the malt, has been "covered up" with flavoring, while a "serious" Scotch like Laphroiag, which has so much peat it tastes like unsweetened cough medicine filtered through a swamp bog, is standing on the true quality of the whiskey itself.

Is there more crappy Speyside than crappy Islay? Yes, of course: there is more Speyside period, the world's most popular Scotch whiskey comes from Speyside, and most blended Scotch is built from Speyside distilleries.

What any of this has to do with the idea that Scotch is all about peat is past me. Once again: the most popular Scotch in the world has minimal peat, and lots of Speysides have no peat at all. Ergo: it cannot be the case that Scotch is simply peat-flavored whiskey.

People who talk enthusiastically about American beer don't generally think about Coors Lite, let alone talk about it.

The age comment you made about bourbon and Scotch is also weird, since most bourbon is aged less than 12 years to begin with. At 18 years, you're asking me to compare a cask-strength Pappy or Buffalo antique --- bourbons that were built to be aged past the point where most bourbon would suffer for it --- to Scotch. That's a pretty apples/oranges comparison.

Glenrothes is a great example.

To pick up a 40 year barrel-aged Glenrothes you're looking at paying about €4500 a bottle, and that gets you about 90% evaporation. That's only 6% more angel-share than a $70 dollar bottle of BT Antique Collection.

If you can afford that, more power to you, but that's not really in the realm of what I'm talking about. The Scottish climate is just inappropriate for the making of proper whiskey in a timely and cost-effective fashion.

You said, "At 18 years, you're asking me to compare a cask-strength Pappy or Buffalo antique --- bourbons that were built to be aged past the point where most bourbon would suffer for it --- to Scotch."

I've been talking about BT/Pappy, etc. the whole time. Did you read my first comment?

"The problem is, making real bourbon is very difficult because you have to let so much evaporate off that producers lose a lot of product. E.g. 84% of the Buffalo Trace 2015 George T. Stagg evaporated off. That's a lot of lost product -- so they're opening these 53 gallon barrels and pulling out about 8 gallons of product. Producers don't like those numbers, but that's how you make real bourbon. So it leaves most people thinking they dislike bourbon before ever having drank a real classic bourbon."

First: it's weird to me that you qualify bourbon by how much evaporates off.

Second: if you're going to talk about "how you make real bourbon", you're probably better off not bringing a Veblen NDP like Pappy into the discussion.

Third: there is plenty of amazing bourbon to be had that isn't a Buffalo antique at $120 a bottle, so I object to the "real bourbon" notion you're putting forward. 84% of Weller didn't evaporate, it's not aged 18 years, costs $30, and it's the same juice as Pappy, just handled more competently so it doesn't taste like grass clippings.

Fourth: who the hell drinks 40 year old Glenrothes? I'm talking about the Glenrothes you buy at the liquor store.

Fifth: once again, what does any of this have to do with whether Scotch is defined by peat flavor? I'm pretty sure you were just wrong about that.

I'm talking evaporation because evaporation is first and foremost what matters in aging. Great whiskey is thick whiskey.

Why would you throw around NDP like that's a bad thing? NDPs are no better or worse. Pappy, if you're talking Stitzel-Weller Pappy, is one of the best Bourbons you can/could buy, period.

Yes, Weller 12 is great (like Pappy 12). It's not syrupy enough, but that aside, it's a quality Bourbon at a competitive price. Is it as good as a 23 year SW Pappy? You're kidding yourself -- they're in completely different leagues.

What's more, with a Weller 12 you're still looking at 42% angel-share. Considerably higher than anything you'll see out of Scotland.

I'm sorry my peat comment upset you. Maybe it's a regional thing, by and large when we say Scotch we mean Islay or High-land. Either way, it's a lot of watery garbage, peat or no.

Strong disagree on pretty much all of this. The idea that US whiskey is more viscous than Scotch sounded so batty to me that I just checked, with a Willett, a TH Saz, and a GlenDronach 18; the Dronach is the leggiest of the three. (The Dronach is obviously not the best of those three whiskies.)

I think I don't believe you that viscosity is a simple function of evaporation.

Think about it: in both US and Scottish whiskey, the spirit going into the barrel is much higher proof than what's in the bottle, or what you should reasonably drink it at if you've got a cask-strength bottle. If "good whiskey" is "thick whiskey", where "thickness" is the amount of water the distillate had lost relative to alcohol, then we'd all just be buying the highest proof spirit; you could treat the ABV like a point score for quality. Both US and Scottish whiskey is diluted to a place the distiller wants it to be at.

We also wouldn't need tasting notes describing the legs, because if it's just about evaporation, then it's purely a function of ABV, and that's printed on the bottle!

Certainly the idea that one should evaluate a whiskey based solely on its legginess finds support in zero whiskey sources I can find.

I don't just think Pappy is overpriced Veblen whiskey that people overpay for because it's the only brand they've heard of --- although people absolutely do that, and secondary market prices, which are the only place you can reliably buy the stuff, make it one of the major rip-offs in all of spirits. I also think Pappy is inferior to Weller. Maybe I've just been given flawed bottles; the 20 literally tastes like grass clippings, and I'd take a FR SB over any of the other Pappies any day.

At any rate: Scotch is not "all about the peat". You have to not drink a lot of Scotch to think that. Which is fine! Just moderate your stridency a bit. :)

You ought not compare a forcibly evaporated Scotch in an overly active cask, to a true SBM that is naturally viscous due to aging in a living breathing cask.

It's not just the water loss that matters, but the total evaporation that increases your protein ppm, and the length of time those proteins have had to break down in solution, that provides the complexity to a proper whiskey.

You don't detect that by legs, but by mouth-feel -- surface tension and viscosity are not the same thing.

I find this conversation fascinating, even though I know nothing about whiskey.

I'm glad, I enjoyed having it. I would note that I was taking a very extreme position for hyperbole's sake, which Ptacek took quite literally, and I was in the mood to argue.

Scotch is a fine beverage, it's just not Bourbon.

No True Scotch has only a little peat.

The guidelines don't prohibit that horrible pun, but I'm going to lobby to see that they do in the future, so none of us will have to suffer like this again.

Some folks advocate for a collapse-comments feature on HN.

I would like to advocate for a explode-to-frontpage comments feature ... so we could have a new front page item for "that great scotch vs. bourbon argument we had in the TPP comments".

It's why I come here.

Oh yes. I second that strongly. Some of the best things I ever saw on HN, and that I sometimes bookmark, are those random off-topic subthreads that spawn in the middle of another discussion. A way to cross-link comment threads like this would be really useful.

'dang, any thoughts?

Well you could always just make a new submission linking to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10512999 and see if it got upvoted enough - but maybe would be better if the new submission could incorporate the previous comments rather than just link to them

I agree. I don't know anything about either of these but this has been interesting to read.

It's a different flavor. Sweet, instead of smoky. It's completely okay in my opinion to like scotch and not bourbon, or the other way around. I like scotch, but I prefer bourbon. The smoky flavor turns me off a bit.

Everyone has a personal choice, but I'm of the opinion that if you don't like Maker's Mark, you probably won't like bourbon.

Only Islay malts are typically smokey, and it is certainly an acquired taste.

Malts from other regions of Scotland vary a lot, and as a point of interest, many are matured in bourbon casks because it imparts sweet notes.

They're virtually all matured in bourbon or wine/sherry casks, and more in bourbon casks than any other kind of cask. If you ask at the distilleries, they'll tell you it's because the bourbon casks are simply cheaper.

Scotch generally doesn't age in new oak. But all bourbon does, by law. So there's a pipeline of used barrels for Scottish distilleries to use.

If you get a chance to try to Woodford Reserve new/old wood rye sample, you'll see why Scots use our barrels: the first aging in whiskey in a new barrel extracts huge phenolic flavors. Those woody flavors would compete with Scotch, especially since Scotch generally ages much longer than bourbon. Meanwhile, sherry barrels are much more expensive and contribute their own distinctive flavors. So bourbon casks are they way you go when you want a neutral aging environment.

I was moved to nerd out about this because you suggested Scotch is aged in ex-bourbon casks because of the sweet notes they impart. I don't think this is true. I am a fiend for ex-sherry Scotch, and the sweetness generated by an ex-sherry casks is usually unmistakable, club-you-over-the-head powerful.

You'll notice that lots of Scotch releases make a big deal out of the wine casks they age in --- what kind of sherry, what age the barrel --- but few ex-bourbon Scotches will say anything but "aged in bourbon casks".

That's because bourbon casks are boring. :)

I too like sherry-cask scotch--which are your favorite expressions?

(Also, good lord, thank you for tilting at this windmill...Really blocked on Stockfighter?)

Bottles I've really liked: Dailuane, GlenDronach, Aberlour (single sherry cask), Mortlach, Craigellachie. I had a sherried Highland Park that I liked somewhat, but smoke and sherry don't go well together for me.

I want to like Balvenie more than I do, if only because they're so fussy about barrels. Also from what I understand a more end-to-end vertically integrated operation than most of the other distilleries, which share malt processors and other inputs through their corporate ownership.

The Dailuane is, I think, mediocre as a whisky, but possibly the most drinkable carrier for sherry flavor on my shelf. I run out of and re-buy Dailuane and GlenDronach more than anything else.

I am just a major dork about liquor is all.

I tried an Islay malt recently (https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/caol-ila-12-year-old-w...) that was matured in bourbon casks which softened the smoky flavour somewhat - very nice

Caol Ila is probably the 'lightest' of all the peaty Islay malts (from memory, I think it proclaims this on the bottle too).

Yes it's certainly lighter than others I've tasted (Laphroaig and Lagavulin). I do like the smoky taste - what smaller distilleries are there that are heavier on the smoky taste?

I'd recommend Ardbeg. I also love Talisker, from the Isle of Skye, which can be a bit sweeter but still quite smokey.

Got a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask as a house warming gift and it was very interesting. The most smokey and peaty drink I have tried. Very good and unique.

Blantons is worth trying if you've never had it: https://www.blantonsbourbon.com/original_single_barrel

Also, it's not Bourbon or single malt, but Templeton Rye is one of my favorite whiskeys (and reasonably priced): http://www.templetonrye.com/

Templeton Rye is Midwest Grain Products commodity rye with flavorants added. They recently lost a lawsuit over it! I'm not going to say it's bad (I used to drink it too), but you can (a) do better than MGPI rye at the same price point and (b) do better for relabeled MGPI.

Bulleit Rye, Dickel Rye, Redemption, Whistlepig, High West --- there's like 100 more, but those are the big names --- are all MGPI. You can buy whichever's cheapest; of the MGPIs, Templeton is the one I'd avoid, now that they've confirmed that they're not only quietly relabeling MGP, but also adulterating it.

Thanks for the tip. I knew a number of "craft" whiskeys were from MGP, but I didn't realize that Templeton was as well - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Rye

Now I'm really curious about the "alcohol flavoring agent" from Clarendon Flavor Engineers. I've had Bulleit Rye and High West as well and did not enjoy them.

Two really good off-the-beaten-path ryes: Old Potrero (a high-proof "single malt" rye from San Francisco) and Few, a craft distillate from Chicago.

Not being a bourbon fan either I once, randomly, picked up a bottle of https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanton%27s as a gift (mostly due to the little horse guy on top). Was rather pleasantly surprised when I got to taste it later. Maybe you'll find it to Your liking too.

Blasphemy! For me a scotch is something totally different than a good Bourbon or whiskey.

A good bourbon like Pappy's shouldnt be compared to a smokey peaty scotch like the Laphroaig quater cask I have in my cabinet. For me Bourdons are a daily drink and Scotch is for a celebration.

Anyways Japan and now Taiwan have been winning the most recent awards.

Global Whisky awards are pretty much based on who lobbies the hardest and with the largest brown envelope - in Scotland we view the whisky industries global awards to be about as reputable as FIFA and Sepp Blatter

wil421 has the right idea: different types of whiskey for different people. Your Scotch and Rye barely stand a chance in Tennessee because people grew up drinking "real" whiskey that tasted different. And over there, the "real" stuff they grew up around tastes nothing like ours. Discussion is really apples to oranges.

I do like how what I hear about Scotch matches what I know of Tennessee: the best stuff is brewed for locals with the exports being knockoffs. Except a few things like Jack Daniels where the standard brews are widely available. Best stuff comes from the moonshiners, though. :)

I don't think this is true of Scotch either. Go there sometime (it's an amazingly beautiful place for a road trip) and bounce from distillery to distillery. Some things you'll notice:

* Go to where the locals shop and they're selling the same brands the whiskey specialty stores sell.

* The gas stations have better Scotch selections than most US liquor stores.

* The expensive distillery-only products are generally the most interesting whiskies, and they're the stuff least likely to sell to the locals.

* Virtually all of the distilleries, and most of the best distilleries, are owned by gigantic corporations that own portfolios of distilleries.

The entire Scotch industry is an export industry. No doubt there's quite a lot of bad Scotch exported, but it seems to me like more or less all the good Scotch is exported too.

That's a trip. Especially about the gas stations: didn't see that coming haha. I'll try to remember if I make a trip out there.

Well, given the fact that Jack Daniels can't sell to the locals (they distill in a dry county - sucks to be them ;) they're by default widely available.

I was saying local to Tennessee but you maybe onto something haha. I've never toured the facility because it's a dry county and they just give you lemonade. The offices and distributors closer to where I lived were a different story. ;)

France is not part of TPP.

France is part of TTIP negotiations which probably will cover the same stipulations.

France has a deal with the US and other countries that protects the name "champagne". In the US, you can't call your sparkling white wine "champagne" unless A) it's from Champagne, France, or B) you were selling it under the same label before 2006.

> I didn't see a similar letter with France regarding cognac or champagne.

France is not a signatory to the TPP, so you wouldn't.

I believe NZ allows legal home-distilling, maybe it's related to that? Similar to home brewers making Belgian beers by using the correct yeast and methods, people could be mini-batching TN/KY bourbon & whiskey using the style and methods.

We allow distilling, but only for personal use (you can't legally sell it), so I doubt this is related.

My home state doesn't play around about their Whiskey. The best stuff isn't for export, though: homebrewed as moonshine, mixed with custom recipes, and distributed to family and friends. Jack n Coke is still a favorite drink.

Where do I start the rum thread? specifically spiced rum...yum!

NAFTA contains language that strictly defines bourbon as well.

This is the clause demanded by some of the alcoholic beverage manufacturers, which is to say they paid for that specific clause to be implemented even though it has no real global benefit and may harm smaller local groups in NZ producing similar goods. This should not be seen as a surprise to anyone.

What problem is it going to cause NZ locals?

Why would they want to brand their whiskey as Tennessee whiskey or Bourbon?

Bourbon is widely recognized as a US whiskey, probably from Kentucky, using that name for something made in NZ is more likely to piss customers off than anything else (Tennessee whiskey has a somewhat more obvious geographic meaning).

I agree for Tennessee whiskey, which is clearly tied to production in Tennessee. But "bourbon" is increasingly seen as a just style of barrel-aged corn-mash whiskey. It's already in the process of losing its geographical specificity within the U.S., with producers in places like California and Illinois [1]. Once you have California whiskey producers making bourbon, it's not that big a stretch to imagine that one of the Japanese whiskey companies might want to come out with a bourbon.

I think it would be more principled to either let anyone produce it (subject to style requirements), or to geographically restrict it to only the vicinity of Kentucky. But the U.S.'s position seems to be to want to make it a specifically American brand, but otherwise not regionally restricted. Which I understand the trade motivations for, but honestly I don't see bourbon from Tokyo as any less authentic than bourbon from San Francisco, assuming it's made correctly.

[1] http://www.nonkentuckybourbon.com/non-kentucky-bourbon-list

I'm not arguing that the distinction is particularly important to maintain (I think it's nice to maintain it, I called it a nod to tradition in another comment).

I'm specifically asking if it is going to matter to the distillers outside the US if they can use it in their product names or not (I'm opposed to preventing the use of blah-style to describe foods).

When teenagers here drink cheap liquor, they might drink 'bourbon' or a 'bourbon and coke' - anything they can get for less than $20. Accordingly, there are a number of brands targeted at that market, and I would not be surprised if some of them have nothing do with the US original.

Sure, I wouldn't be surprised if they are using it as a brand.

But I'm pretty skeptical that those teenagers care that their cheap whiskey be called Bourbon.

Its worse than that. I remember being surprised when I got older and found out that Bourbon is the same thing as Whiskey.

The common conception was that they were distinct drinks, and that Whiskey was too expensive.

Haviung a home still is not illegal in NZ - you can make your own "Whiskey" in your garage - there's probably some little guy, making something for his friends, who's just been sat on by the US

New Zealand copyright laws extended from 50 to 70 years with grandfather clause. While it aligns with the Mickey Mouse clause used by other countries, it goes against the original intent to benefit society as people can't extend or make use of copyright works for an extra 20 years.

There is also provision to unlock DVDs purchased overseas that is still retained.

I could not see provision to restrict tax free havens or to curb tax avoidance by multinational corporations.

From the "Legal and Institutional" section, http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/assets/docs/TPP_factsheet_Legal-...

  Any Party may withdraw from TPP by providing 
  six months notice of withdrawal.
How many ISDS lawsuits (http://isdscorporateattacks.org) and World Bank fines (https://youtube.com/watch?v=M4-mlGRPmkU) would it take for a country to withdraw from TPP?

Depends on how successful (ie valuable to the participants) the trade agreement is.

>Article 14.17: No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.

Does this make GPL unenforceable, or am I reading too much into this?

INAL but I think it has more to do with deals like where China requires the source code of certain products before they're allowed to be imported or used by the Chinese government.

It doesn't read like it would prevent an individual from applying the GPL to their software but it might prevent the government from doing the same... Which would be exceptionally strange and problematic.

It could mean that government agencies would be prohibited from contributing to GPL-styled open source software or even using said software since they would be required to distribute it to anyone that asks for the code.

I think you missed a piece of the article: "by a person of another Party".

So for example the Japanese government cannot force a US company to release source code as a condition to allow its use/import/sell in Japan. But the Japanese government can write/finance as much GPL software as it wants, and can import as much GPL software as it wants. The Japanese government can even mandate all software for its own procurements to be GPL-only.

What Japan cannot do is outlaw the sell or use of closed source foreign (by a person of another Party) software on its territory. So say if Ford wants to sell cars in Japan, the Japanese government cannot force them to release the source code for a mandatory code-audit as a condition for import...

I really don't think it's a good article.

(IANAL, of course)

> So say if Ford wants to sell cars in Japan, the Japanese government cannot force them to release the source code for a mandatory code-audit as a condition for import

It has a bunch of vague hooey about the clause being limited to "mass market software" which I think is designed to deal with that. Of course, it's pathetically poorly defined (if a car is sold to a "mass market" then it's software is too, right?). To me this clause was pretty much written by Microsoft and of course, the negotiators at the TPP table are far to clueless to understand any of the subtlety involved in software licensing and distribution.

It seems that this particular article is more about creating equal conditions for domestic vs foreign producers – see "as a condition of import". Japan can still require ALL cars sold in Japan to release their source code. They just can't single out foreign made cars for this. (IANAL)

I would think it is more to prevent the theft of sensible source-code (cg drivers, etc.) that would "magically" end up on the desk of local competitors...

Imagine that Google launches a self driving car in Japan, but the Japanese government ask access to its source code... How many hours before Toyota gets it and start "auditing" it?

> How many hours before Toyota gets it and start "auditing" it?

Why would that be a problem? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me as long as everyone has the right to audit the code. There's a huge public interest in disclosure of source code for things like self-driving cars.

If Toyota, Mitsubishi, and other Japanese companies were given the code but no one else then there would be a problem.

I don't think that last interpretation would be valid; this specifically says it prohibits territorial requirements. ie if you required that all software imported to your country be GPL, that would fall under this section.

It's not intended to, but it seems to me like a worst case interpretation could cast some doubt about the scenario where a government agency (perhaps a university) contributes to GPL software. Now when another TPP member wants to distribute that software, the government of the first country is exactly "requiring" transfer / access to the source code as a condition of distribution by the second TPP member.

The big problem is the use of "require", because it's a very loose general term. It doesn't matter what basis the "requirement" comes, so even just ordinary old copyright law seems to come into scope there.

I don't think it's a real problem but I do think it is close enough to one that it's a horrible thing to have in the agreement.

EDIT: further to those thoughts, the result would not be that the GPL is unenforceable, rather, the result would be that people would lose the right to distribute GPL software in the country. A working GPL is the only thing that gives them the right to do that in the first place. I doubt there is any nation left on earth that can actually now operate without access to GPL software, this is unlikely to play out even if there is a way to interpret it that seems to violate the GPL.

Can you still be convicted on evidence coming from an imported, computer-controlled device, if a treaty prevents your examining it?


Probably not. But I do see it as preventing a government from requiring a code audit. And we've seen how well black-box software has worked in voting machines.

That's also how I understand this article, and it is scary: many industries (car manufacturers, for example) should have mandatory code audits.

You can still sell a black box voting machine, but that doesn't mean that the government has to buy it.

Another question: would this also have the effect of banning "open source only" policies for government procurement?

IANAL, but I don't think so.

Governments are not territories: "No Party shall require [...] access to source code [...] as a condition for the import [...] in its territory.". Because a given closed-source software cannot be bought in a specific procurement doesn't mean that it cannot be sold/used in the territory, so the text doesn't apply.

Um... the question would be what the definition of "Party" is in the agreement. If a Party is a signatory country, than it wouldn't affect the GPL. If a "Party" is just "anyone", then it might?

Party = country here.

so it might make it impossible for a court (a govt entity) from enforcing the GPL

> 2. No Party shall require a covered person to use or locate computing facilities in that Party’s territory as a condition for conducting business in that territory.

No Russian server situations


National data sovereignty would be restricted by TPP, if enacted into law, http://www.zdnet.com/article/tpp-moves-toward-killing-off-go... & https://blog.ffii.org/a-license-to-spy-cross-border-data-flo...

"Governments ... will be unable to force companies from those countries to store government data in local datacentres ... governments will not only be prevented from mandating data sovereignty provision, they will also be unable to demand access to source code from companies incorporated in TPP territories."

Wow. So this would mean that it is illegal to even require something like a safe haven for your own data?

TPP is an agreement between governments and corporations. Corporations could make individual agreements with their supplier corporations, where they could impose privacy conditions for data storage and jurisdiction. But this would be difficult for small businesses to negotiate. In Europe, the proposed TISA trade treaty text on data sovereignty is in conflict with EU law, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141217/09013129465/new-t...

"For the European Union, that's a hugely sensitive issue. Under data protection laws there, personal data cannot be sent outside the EU unless companies sign up to the self-certification scheme known as the Safe Harbor framework.

  TISA Article X.4: Movement of Information 

  No Party may prevent a service supplier of another Party 
  from transferring, accessing, processing or storing 
  information, including personal information, within or 
  outside the Party's territory, where such activity is 
  carried out in connection with the conduct of the service 
  supplier's business."
http://www.euractiv.com/sections/infosociety/dont-forget-big..., "It is one thing to have free data flows in the EU, where our own institutions make the rules for data protection and we can develop our technological sovereignty, but quite another to have free data flows across the Atlantic without adequate US rules for the treatment of European data ... Data about our condition and behaviour are assets ... they constitute a new asset class, which Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance assets.”

> TPP is an agreement between governments and corporations.

Since when are corporations party to a treaty? While the TPP is a huge push toward corporate sovereignty by diluting the power of governments, this is a trade agreement between nations. Just because the treaty is effectively governments hading power over to corporations (sorry, "investors"[1]) doesn't mean those corporations ratify the TPP.

[1] Investor-State Dispute Settlement? Just investors, not corporations in geneal or "other non-state actors"? This isn't even trying to hide that it's all about free movement of capital. Get ready to watch even more money flow out of the country.

While corporations may not officially ratify TPP, corporate lawyers (a) helped draft the treaty text, (b) had online access to drafts, while elected US government representatives had to read in a locked room, without taking notes, without their trade/legal staff, without a phone, (c) will be the people staffing future World Bank ISDS "courts" that can force governments to pay fines to corporations, https://youtube.com/watch?v=AABOIcXZZwg

The only force that can now stop ratification are the many corporations who did not receive TPP handouts and special TPP privileges for their legacy business models. Since citizens cannot effectively lobby government, the only recourse left is for citizen employees to lobby corporations who can lobby government. If you work in a technology company, ask your company to take a public stand on TPP. Ask Wikipedia to go dark in alternating 30 minute slots, to raise awareness about TPP. Look at examples where SOPA was brought to public attention.

Remember that the lead TPP negotiator is ex-Citibank, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/28/us-trade-rep-wal..., "Noting deep ties between the country's top trade negotiator and Wall Street banks, ten groups representing millions of Americans are calling on the White House to make public all communications between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the massive financial institutions that stand to benefit from proposed trade deals."

For more on lobbyists, http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/06/05/confidential-ustr-emails-..., ".. Many of the industry representatives are themselves former USTR officials ... Jim DeLisi of Fanwood Chemical said he had just seen the text on rules of origin, and remarked, “Someone owes USTR a royalty payment. These are our rules … This is a very pleasant surprise."

> Wow. So this would mean that it is illegal to even require something like a safe haven for your own data?

But safe haven is silly. I'm French and I don't care about my data being stored in the US. Why should the government force me to store my data in France? People who want to store their data in France only should be free to do so of course but why bring the government into the equation? Besides, safe haven is incompatible with reality where data is being live replicated across the world to make access to it faster depending on who is accessing it and what timezone they're in.

>I don't care about my data being stored in the US

Because uninformed consent is not consent and most people do not give informed consent to their data being stored overseas as they are not aware of all the laws and regulations that apply to it.

Unless we do want to say that uninformed consent is still consent, but what kind of problems does that create?

What would you consider informed content? Is specifying in the T&C that your data will travel worldwide enough? Should you get an email everytime your data is stored abroad or if you have a friend in Russia and he wants to see your profile, should he get very slow page load because data can't be replicated in Russia? That sounds like turning user experience into a horrible mess to me. Surprised people on HN would advocate that.

Caveat emptor.

Is a shining example of a failed economic principle which has caused unmitigated disaster whenever it is employed and is immediately rolled back by any group of human beings who care at all about what's good for anyone in the group.

Not so true. With the internet it's easier to learn about the reputation of a vendor, so much so that many vendors are confident enough to offer return policies that go beyond what the law requires and most people rely more on these reviews than whatever refund policy vendors offer anyway.

I'm sure that you will be greatly comforted by a return policy or the fact that a company had to spend a few dollars to hire an Internet PR consulting firm or buy off yelp to smooth over any temporary loss in brand loyalty that occurs when they, say, don't properly care for their meat and people die from eating it. Or when they put poison in their children's toys because it's cheaper to make them that way and kids die.

It as a method generally works when consumers are aware of all of their options, do their research and stay informed about every single economic purchase they make throughout every moment of their lives, and the consequences of a bad choice are not serious. So nowhere in the real world.

And it's not so horrible when the choices don't matter: when none of them are harmful, and we're simply deciding based on quality. It's still bad, but we tolerate it because nobody dies from it.

You're implying that businesses only care about absolute profit with absolute no care for the customer experience whatsoever to the point of poisoning their kids and killing them on the spot. You either have never run a business or must be a horrible business person.

I'm implying that businesses do what is most profitable. If a certain business leader has an inconvenient moral compass they will, eventually be replaced or undercut by those willing to get their hands dirty. This is unfettered 'caveat emptor' capitalism. I'm not advocating it or saying it's good (the opposite, rather).

But you are acting like this is some mustache-twirling unrealistic liberal fantasy of an evil business person who does this -- not so. This happens ALL THE TIME in real life. People build cars that explode because it's too expensive to build them correctly. The poison on kids toys is not something I invented it is literally a real example from a number of years ago. This behavior is the inevitable consequence of 'caveat emptor' -- thank god we don't employ this awful principle anymore.

In a relationship, it's important to keep the power and the culpability/responsibility divvied up in equal proportions. If you're the powerful one in the relationship, you're also the responsible one. When you are a consumer you have zero power and zero information. You are a consumer of so many things coming from so many different industries you cannot be informed about them. You cannot become an expert on the toilet paper industry, you can simply watch ads and go to the store and pick based on garbage information fed to you by PR firms. Compared to the company selling it, staffed with hundreds of experts who live and breathe the toilet paper industry you are an infant. If they use this asymmetry to abuse or exploit you the culpability lies with THEM not with you. Caveat vendor.

But we aren't talking about just buying something, but consenting to the partial sell of your own information. Think of it like a child not being allowed to sell some object of great value they posses without parental approval because of how easily they can be misled about its value and uses.

Because governments have national security interests and need to be realistic about allowing their citizens to keep sensitive information in the hands of potential adversaries. If the US or Russian government can blackmail a computer technician into "accidentally" leaving a back door open because the technician is secretly gay and they know this because of an analysis of his Facebook messages, then this is a threat that the state may want to minimize.

That's true if you consider individual liberties to be less important State interests I guess, which is not my opinion.

Remember you are often storing data which concerns other people e.g. messages, address books and other PID

If people are storing data online that could be a risk to their lives or the life of their loved ones, then they should either not upload this data at all or strongly encrypt it before uploading such data. Whether it's stored in their own countries or abroad, criminal hackers don't care about borders.

It's not that simple at all - for example the recent finding that even using your own mailservers, half your mail would be going through google. As networking increases, data is becoming little more compartmentalised than the air we breathe - and we reasonably require pollution safeguards which everyone needs to adhere to

Governments have different privacy protections. A company choosing to operate in Country A should obey the laws of that country. Operating in Country A, but sending the data to Country B which has much less strict data protection laws means people in Country A suffer.

What was the point of the government of Country A making their data protection law if there's no way of enforcing those laws?

So if I have a friend in Country B and I'm in country A on facebook, she will not be able to access my profile info without downloading the info from across the world because the data can't be replicated to her country leaving her with a horrible slow user experience? Sounds like turning the internet into a UX horror story and inefficient mess to me.

A lot of major web companies already cache at different geolocations, to lower latency.

What? No, safe harbour means the data can be replicated to different countries.

Then what's to prevent Country B to access data replicated in its borders?

That would be one way to look at it. The other way is that companies can put their data wherever they like.

> their data

That’s the issue. User data always is the users data, the company merely has the license to store and access it.

Retroactive more permissible licenses are also not okay.

They mostly can, except for certain sensitive information. Some things should be regulated - I'm glad there are safety standards, and this is a (very basic) safety standard for data.

No, if I read right, it would mean that the government cannot require you to store your data within your government's jurisdiction.

That clause is just to undermine the European Union data directives.

Which is, funnily, not possible, because the EU original treaties (which are not really changeable) contradict these treaties.

Meaning, the treaty could not be ratified as long as the clause is valid. The question is now if the clause is null and void, or the whole treaty will be null and void (as in the case of Safe Harbor)

And it's an agreement for countries in the Pacific. Not for any countries in the EU.

Sort of, but you would still be required (I believe) to have a worker in Europe to look at any personally identifiable information of any European, even if the data is actually in the US.

In 19.1 on labour, party nations are required to "adopt and maintain in its statutes and regulations" certain rights, including

- "freedom of association"

- "a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour"

- "the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation"

- "acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health."

Sounds nice, but there is absolutely no guidance on what types of regulations these incredibly subjective "rights" would require, and I imagine every party will interpret them differently (and probably conclude that their existing regulations already provide all of these guarantees.)

> - "a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour"

Just the worst. A little child labour, that's OK. I'd love to see the circles any lawyer would have to run to give a legal definition of the "worst" forms of child labour.

> A little child labour, that's OK

This may be an unpopular opinion, but what's wrong with child labor under proper conditions? Only 50 years ago and even today in the country side children have been working the land alongside their parents.

And even though I don't agree with exploited children and this rule sounds good, there is such a thing as the sovereignty of a country, so I'm surprised that such rules made it into a trade agreement at all.

Its a first-world response. We can have all the morals we can afford.

Child labor is legal in the U.S. if it's your son or daughter working on the commercial farm that you own.

It still provides a legitimate means to hold countries accountable. For example if you were holding children in literal slavery working 100hr/wk absolutely no one would believe that this constitutes "acceptable conditions." You can only get so ridiculous with vague language before people will draw the line.

EFF has published their initial analysis of the final text, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/11/release-full-tpp-text-...

"The most shocking revelation from today’s release is how the TPP's Investment chapter defines "intellectual property" as an asset that can be subject to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process. What this means is that companies could sue any of the TPP nations for introducing rules that they allege harm their right to exploit their copyright interests—such as new rights to use copyrighted works for some public interest purpose. A good example of this might be a country wishing to limit civil penalties for copyright infringement of orphan works ...

... the E-Commerce chapter has the next most serious ramifications for users ... it restricts the use of data localization laws, which are laws that require companies to host servers within a country’s borders, or prohibit them from transferring certain data overseas ... The E-Commerce chapter ... imposes a strict test that such measures must not amount to “arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade”—a test that would be applied by an investment court, not by a data protection authority or human rights tribunal."

EFF wrote previously about conflict between TPP and US Copyright Office efforts to improve the situation with Orphan Works, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/08/users-ustr-dont-sign-a..., "... the Register of Copyrights acknowledges a need to do something about the fact that "orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace." The report includes a discussion of several proposals that could expand access to orphan works. One proposal is to put limits on the legal consequences for those who do anything technically infringing, in order to make it less daunting to take a chance and use them."

In Soviet Russia trade agreement protects you from company.

In America trade agreement protects company from you!


I'm curious- has anybody compared this official text with the leaks to see how close they were or what they may have changed in the last few weeks?

Article 13.6: International Mobile Roaming

1. The Parties shall endeavour to cooperate on promoting transparent and reasonable rates for international mobile roaming services that can help promote the growth of trade among the Parties and enhance consumer welfare.

That sounds... great!

I propose the following addition:

1 (b) Seeing as consumer welfare is not limited to cross-border scenarios, the Parties shall also promote fair and reasonable telecom pricing and access in their home territories. The standard for pricing and access shall be calculated by the Parties using the following 'Lossless Commute' formula:

AvgDailyCommuteTimeInMinutes * 11MB * 30DAYS * PerMBCost = .05 * AnnualFederalPovertyLevel / 12

This would allow people in the United States, with average commute times, the ability to obtain the bandwidth necessary for streaming CD Quality Music during their commute for $45 per month. The .05 of the Monthly Federal Poverty Level is set based on the current mandate requiring employers to offer healthcare with the employee contribution not exceeding .095 of the Monthly Federal Poverty Level. In 2015, if it is reasonable to believe that an individual can obtain quality health insurance coverage for ~$93 per month, it is very reasonable to believe an individual can receive 18GB of bandwidth for half of that.

"shall endeavour to cooperate" means this provision will never be the reason why this happens, if it does.

I would suggest that while reading this and forming an opinion, you take all the consequences of the treaty into account.

In something this large there will definitely be points that are objectionable, but that doesn't mean TPP as a whole isn't good for the parties involved.

Reaching agreement between governments that span the globe and govern hundreds of millions of citizens requires a lot of horse-trading and compromise. The final agreement can still be good for the world, even if there are objectionable provisions.

The agreement is, as you say, between governments, not between the hundreds of millions of citizens they govern, and was negotiated in secret. So, as a whole, it may be good for "the parties involved", but I would suggest that it is absolutely right for any citizen to criticise any part of this they want to, as vociferously as they desire.

You could equally make the opposite point: In something this large there will be points that are good, but that doesn't mean that the TPP as a whole isn't bad for the average citizen.

No treaties are negotiated between citizens, and mosttreaties are negotiated in secret. We usually don't hear see intermediate drafts of agreements until well after they've either passed or failed.

This is a good thing. We want negotiators to have freedom to throw out unpopular ideas, and the only part where public scrutiny is important is the actual final text that our governments might sign.

Straw man. I didn't suggest that the treaty should be between citizens or negotiated publicly, but I rejected the claim that it should only be criticised by citizens as a whole.

Huge, all-encompassing all-or-nothing deals like the TPP are not good. They're merely easier to negotiate.

What's the point of post-factum public scrunity if the deal can not be modified at this point? It's just a farce.

Because it can be rejected.

But that will not happen regardless of how good or bad the individual provisions are.

I've heard many folks complain about TPP on the premise that it will destroy and/or degrade American jobs. I believe there is lots of truth to that--people in other countries are usually willing to work for less than Americans.

Even so, TPP will help job-hungry people in other countries (at least slightly) by dumping more jobs into their job markets. So, if we're going to help Americans by ditching TPP, we're going to do so at the expense of people in other countries.

Is that the right trade? Helping Americans by hurting others? Maybe it is.

Or maybe I'm missing something... Thanks for your thoughts!

I work in global trade - jobs generally go to where labor/costs are most efficient. Apparel and shoes will probably never be produced in the US again because the manufacturing process is rather low tech / low skill and countries with lower labor costs have a comparative advantage here.

Some economists believe that ultra cheap container shipping has had more to do with globalization than any FTAs have... if you haven't read "The Box" by Levinson it's worth a checking out.

TPP is actually projected by industry to be a net income to US companies of around 8 billion - a lot of this will be coming from lower import tariffs on shoes and apparel from vietnam.

* TPP is actually projected by industry to be a net income to US companies of around 8 billion - a lot of this will be coming from lower import tariffs on shoes and apparel from vietnam. *

How much of these 8 billions will go to US workers, though? Last few decades suggest that very little, if any.

Probably little directly but it will help US companies remain cost competitive in the global marketplace (and remain profitable) which does mean that a lot of the high level jobs (marketing, supply chain, design, etc) are still in the states.

It is obviously true that it is easy for powerful few to make laws and rules that only they benefit from. The question is whether it's right and just.

As much as HN wants to believe, TPP is not just a giant conspiracy.

Sure there are some questionable copyright/IP details, but there are a lot of benefits here for US manufacturers as well - historically import tariffs in SE asia have been quite high which makes it difficult for US exporters to be competitive there.

The deck is stacked against US manufacturing in several major economies. If you don't believe me, look at import tariffs in china and brazil (and most of south america and asia). It's quite prohibitive to import many finished goods into these countries as they've been very diligent about protecting their manufacturing base.

What your comment is implying is that these $8 billion will be gained at the expense of the workers in Chinese and Brazilian manufacturing base.

I don't see TPP as conspiracy. It is perfectly clear what is going on.

TPP doesn't involve China or Brazil.

I mentioned China and Brazil because these are countries with high tariffs on imported finished goods which encourages manufacturing in-country.

I'm generally in favor of open trade. To the extent that particular American jobs disappear, American consumers are usually better off, which broadly allows the creation of other jobs.

However, I think there are a lot of good concerns raised when these things come up. E.g., why should you lose your career just so I can get mildly cheaper stuff? Thus the common solution of trade adjustment assistance, where tax money is used to pay to retrain you.

Another legitimate concern is the value of those jobs in other countries. Even in countries that are net receivers of existing jobs, those jobs may not be particularly great ones, in that they may harm traditional industries. Or be controlled by (and mainly benefit) foreign capital. Or be jobs that only exist for a while until wages rise a little and jobs shift to yet poorer countries. Or that the external capital flows may increase opportunities for corruption, worsening local governmental problems.

So although I'd agree that some trade opponents feel (or at least play on) American nativism and isolationism, I don't think that's the only motivation for trade limitations, and it's definitely not the most interesting one.

The U.S. approach to TPP negotiation was to try to attempt to protect the American jobs that are seen as high-value "jobs of the future," by exporting strong IP protections to our trading partners.

IP-heavy jobs in the U.S. tend to have higher salaries and better benefits. Think: software, pharmaceuticals, recorded entertainment, and complex machinery like cars, trucks, airplanes, turbines, etc. We hold competitive advantages in those industries, and export a lot of those things.

In industries with less IP, like textiles, hardware, food, and oil, the U.S. attempted to export some of its labor and environmental standards to other TPP nations. This was the right thing to do, but it also helps the U.S. competitive position because these are non-negotiable costs to U.S. companies.

Software jobs probably don't benefit from "intellectual property" all that much. If you risk treble damages for "willful" patent infringement (or whatever the extra damages are), you're not going to look at software patents. You're going to invent that wheel for yourself. There's also some evidence that Silicon Valley works better than the Boston area because programmers only produce company's "intellectual property" on the clock. After hours, whatever you do in California is yours. Also California doesn't enforce non-compete agreements.

So I don't think the situation is as simple as strong "IP" protections are thought to benefit the USA economy. Unless you're a big faith-based believer in "IP".

The concept of "owning what you do" in software is what IP laws enable.

I think Bernie Sanders elucidates well on this issue in this video. It's about immigration but essentially the same situation:


Basically whether it is morally right or wrong is irrelevant because the US government has a duty to put the American people first.

This isn't quite zero-sum. There is also the aspect that any trade deal that removes existing tariffs represents a tax reduction for any businesses that do international trade, and a corresponding reduction in government revenue for participating countries. On both sides, it represents a wealth transfer away from government and towards business. You may interpret that as good or bad depending on your point of view, but either way it's a policy change.

Another side of this is that free trade allows businesses to move production to whatever country has the weakest labour laws and environmental protections. In effect, it rewards countries economically for having lax regulations, and encourages a "race to the bottom". In the short term, it may be good for workers who now have jobs, but in the long term we don't want employment to only be economically competitive if it's indistinguishable from slavery.

The concept you are referring to is called "nationalism". Jury is still out on whether it is a good thing or not. Ultimately every human should be equal but at the same time we don't want to feel the pain equality will bring.

The problem is that equality in the working class, internationally, means wages will become lower - because textile manufacturing in China is so cheap, for example. But it wouldn't mean equality across the board - i.e. the rich / higher management / 1% having to share their wealth with the bottom 99%. Another commenter mentioned 8 billion in less expenses for the US due to lower income tax, but those savings wouldn't end up at the working class, it'd be a benefit for companies and their higher management and shareholders.

Better financial results rarely / never mean higher income or conditions for employees.

Your username is highly relevant here. We need to price arbitrage around standards of living and especially environmental regulation into our tariffs. Right now we aren't doing that at all, and it means that everyone suffers.

Imagine people in foreign countries made us a bunch of stuff for free. Wouldn't that be awesome for us?

Why is it bad if they make us a bunch of stuff for cheap?

Also, I think it's pretty clear that "everyone suffers" isn't an accurate reflection of what's going on in the world: http://bit.ly/1MBTFzC

>Why is it bad if they make us a bunch of stuff for cheap?

For the same reason that US food aid destroys agriculture industry in Africa.

"Is that the right trade?"

For whom? I would say a nation, or should I say a national government, particularly one that is a constitutional republic (republic in this case meaning representative democracy) eg a constitutional representative democracy, which only has power by way of the people (say what you will about the realpolitik current situation, the governments mandate comes from the people and can be revoked by the people, as matter of principle, law, and natural rights), should work to serve the interests of those people. If those peoples interests are so self-sacrificing as to limit their own benefit to help others, then that is what the people say, then sacrifice for the "greater good".

In my opinion the problem is that the Constitution of America has been gutted, the people are no longer properly represented, because corporations, particularly supranational corporations, have gamed the system into a fine art of semi-legal but oft im/amoral bribery, corruption, blackmail, quid-pro-quo, and legal and financial arbitrage.

I knew the TPP was probably going to pass, when I saw my representative, a rep in what is considered the most conservative district in the US, answered concerns about the unconstitutionality of the fast-track with a single line: "I have heard from many constituents who are concerned that TPA would equate to Congress turning over its Constitutional authority to the President. This is untrue."... he continued:

"President Obama and the Administration have currently been negotiating TPP without TPA and can continue to do so as Article II of the Constitution grants President’s that authority—you can read more on this from the Heritage Foundation. If Presidents can and do have the authority on their own to negotiate trade agreements, why is TPA needed? Basically, it’s a tradeoff. Congress gets an enhanced role in the process of approving trade agreements and Presidents get a quicker process to have the agreement approved. Thus, the name “Fast Track”."

...and that was that. No more discussion about the fundamental passing of power from congress to the executive, no nuanced analysis or explanation. Just a half-assed justification that free-trade is good for America (I think NAFTA and similar have disproved this), and that the POTUS would be held accountable (while failing to mention the 150 objectives of POTUS are optional!).

What this is, is the fundamental question about national sovereignty and an ever increasing threat of world government. I understand many will balk at this statement, consider me a conspiracy theorist, or otherwise dismiss the notion, but I think the facts support the idea that the world is increasingly edging towards such a system. At the very least an increase in centralization as we return to a tri-polar world (hello neo-cold war!).

In truth, I have talked to an alarming amount of people who are supportive of such broad supranational government schemes on both sides of the spectrum, and I understand their reasoning. I simply disagree with it.

For the neoconservative, in reality they think that free trade is just a smoke screen for us throwing around our financial, political, legal, and finally military might to get a better deal for ourselves while pretending to be egalitarian to other nations.

For the leftist, they think tend to focus on the abuses and inequality of the world, and think that a world government is what could level that playing field out more, and make life more "fair", primarily economically.

The problem with the first is that when the neocon thinks "America wins", who really wins are the owners and board members of the supranational oligarchy, not the American people. The problem with the second is that centralization of power for altruistic front-purposes almost always leads to easier corruption and eventually abuse... but this time it will be on a global scale! The problem with both is that they ignore the fundamental principles that if they agree to basically accept the end of national sovereignty, the the nations government is technically, NO LONGER LEGITIMATE!

Lot's of people, especially Europeans want to rail on about how American exceptionalism is a myth and a product of jingoistic nationalism and indoctrination, and in many ways it is, but this ignores the fundamental exceptionalism of America that isn't those things: Our bill of rights, our constitution, and our declaration of independence.

I am an Iraq combat vet, and I, like other military members, congress, the president, and some police departments, all swear an oath to the Constitution. Not to the queen, not to the president, not to the United States government, but to the Constitution for which it stands. What I think is that we have forgotten about our "domestic enemies", enemies of the Constitution, and allowed them to take too much power and control inside our own institutions, and the real threats to the constitution are certainly not Islamic, indeed they are generally members of the old-boys-club and wear suits and ties, and reside in the the beltway and on wallstreet. In the foreign realm, I would consider the City of London to be their other haven.

I for one think that we have been exporting war for far too long, and that the best way America could bring more equality and freedom, economically and politically, to the world, would by leading by example. We need to fix our own shit first, before falsely exporting revolutions of power disguised under pretty narratives about democracy.

What the world needs is a constitutional representative democracy, and one that actually works and represents the people. We have the best theoretical structure in place, the only question is if the people will recognize the threat in time to prevent the slip into a totalitarian dystopian future or not.

Honestly, I'm skeptical, but given that I think oaths actually mean something, and perhaps because I was so thoroughly indoctrinated, I will fight the good fight while it is still there to be had. I mean this in a concrete way too, as I am currently exploring my options for running for congress.

>all swear an oath to the Constitution. Not to the queen, not to the president, not to the United States government, but to the Constitution for which it stands.

Technically the United States Armed Forces oath of enlistment is sworn to the Constitution and the President which can create quite the pickle when the President decides to violate the Constitution.

>"I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

> which can create quite the pickle when the President decides to violate the Constitution

The oath states outright

> will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Going against the constitution would be an unlawful order wouldn't it? Which means it should not be obeyed?

Exactly, but there is some nuance on this point that doesn't get examined enough.

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