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TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms (eff.org)
463 points by jim-greer on Nov 14, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments

Like I mentioned in the other thread on the TPP Leak, the TPP could immediately have the following effects, if it is enacted into law by the participating nations. I picked the ones you would most likely notice:

1. 3-strikes laws in all participating nations. Note that the US and France have already effectively abandoned their attempted three-strikes laws [1] [2] [3], but would likely reinstate them.

2. dvdcss and UEFI Secure Boot circumvention (including shim loaders) will become illegal in enough countries to have chilling effects on open source innovation

3. significant extension of patents for medication, increasing healthcare costs

4. additional regulation of internet backbone providers – to perform deep packet inspection for government investigation of copyright infringement. This would use taxpayer dollars to enforce dying copyright regimes. I assume governments would be delighted to have justification to tap the internet at backbones.

5. End of works entering the public domain. Copyright term extensions are likely just as the US has done, so the public domain may not see new additions for a long time.

I want to mention the significant curtailing of fair use in Europe, which would train young artists not to remix or reuse others' ideas. However, it might take up to 5 years to feel the effects.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/07/france-defangs-it... (I'm citing Ars here mainly because they follow copyright law pretty closely. Please use google for other sources.)

[2] http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/heres-what-an-act...

[3] http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/07/major-isps-agree-...

And keep in mind the people giving money, respect, and utilization to Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Youtube, Xbox, Steam, etc are helping to support this continued insanity. These type of services are not the Internet future - they're the past reincarnated to deliver over IP.

What alternative way of distribution are you proposing? What do you think is the future?

Service where you can purchase and download high-quality non-drm products, videos, songs, like bandcamp.com. Is that so hard to comprehend?

Movie production financed by self righteousness.

I have to ask; are there fair use laws in Europe? I was always under the impression that was a US law.

Yes, more or less, but they are generally not as generous as the US.

E.g., the UK equivalent of fair use, "fair dealing", is limited to a definitive list of circumscribed purposes of the unauthorised use of copyright material, e.g., in writing a review. By contrast, US law has a non-exclusive set of tests to check if an unauthorised use is fair use, of which purpose is just one factor to be weighed in the balance.

I gather that Germany does not have any fair use law [1], but in practice a regime similar to the UK's has been established through several precedents in the German courts. France seems to be in a similar situation, with a more generous court interpretation of fair use [2].

Wikipedia tells me that Israel has a fair use law similar to the US; cf. [3].

[1]: http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/is/files/2013/08/8-... - note that vog's comment below seems to refute this source

[2]: https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2011/01/who-said-france-d...

[3]: https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2008/01/israel%E2%80%99s-...

While Germany may not have an exact equivalent of "fair" use, it does have something similar, in the law. It is named "Schranken des Urheberrechts" (limitation of copyright law), which you can find in §§ 44a to 63a (e.g. [1] and [2]). Part of it is the famous (at least in Germany) "Privatkopie" (private copy) which allows for copying material for private use. [3]

[1] http://dejure.org/gesetze/UrhG/44a.html

[2] http://dejure.org/gesetze/UrhG/63a.html

[3] However, you are not alloweed to break an effective copy protection on that way ... which is kind of contradictory, becase if lots of people manage to create those copies privately, that "copy protection" mechanism wasn't really "effective", was it?

In English (not sure about the quality of the translation and if it contains the latest amendments to the law):


I just realised something; why would this agreement curtail European fair use equivalent laws? I thought it was Trans-Pacific agreement, specifically leaving out Europe.

Yes, but under different names.

Sweden for example has the Right to quote law.

Maybe it's time to kill Copyright for good (in both possible meanings of good):


Edited: and by "maybe it's" I mean "It's about damn time".

Edited again: this quote from Jefferson is highlighted on that Anti Copyright Resources page, and nicely captures the spirit of why we might choose to kill Copyright:

... He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

You are arguing against patents, not copyright. Copyright is not the protection of invention, it is the protection of expression.

This is pedantic; the idea of a 'creation' easily spans both cases.

No, I'm not. The resource is specifically "Anti-Copyright Resources". You're reading a lot more into one Jefferson quote than you should be :)

What do ideas and inventions have to do with copyright? No, it isn't time to kill Copyright, that would be a very bad idea. But certainly reduce the limits. Much less than the current "greater than the average lifespan"

It makes no sense to link the duration of the copyright work to the life of the author. Say some one writes a book and then promptly gets hit by a car. Why should their book have less of a copyright term then a book written by and author that goes on to live for 80 more years. Copyright term should be set number of years after first publication. 20-30 years would be reasonable.

Copyright is absolutely necessary to allow authors to make money from their work. Short term rights, 10-30 years of so, benefit the authors the most. Long terms of 100+ years only favor the distributors.

I think part of the theory behind the "life of the author" is that there shouldn't be a disincentive to produce your work now. If you're a creator of some kind, you might not publish a book you're writing until you think it'll be ready.

In single-author creative endeavors, like book publishing, you want to encourage people to create all they can before they get hit by a bus.

> Copyright is absolutely necessary to allow authors to make money from their work

No it isn't.

Writers can sell books. They can write for magazines and journals. They can write for TV. They can write for radio. They can write plays. Etc.

None of these things require copyright.

Ok, let's look at the world with no Copyright::

Books: Writer writes a book, self publishes it, and starts selling it. It starts selling really well. Big company comes along, buys one copy of the book, and starts publishing copies of it all over the place. They publicize the book, make money from it, and pay nothing to the author.

Magazines and Journals: Magazine comes out. I take it, scan it, remove all the advertisement, and completely legally post it online for free. No one buys the magazine, because why should they. No one even looks at the advertisement in the magazine, so they cant make money from that either. TV and Radio are the same.

Plays: Writer rights a play, sends it to a play producer, producer likes the play, produces it, pays the writer nothing, because, why should he, it's not like the writer has rights in his work.

Open Source Software: You, as a programer, write some great open source software. Company comes a long, takes the software, incorporates it into their closed source project, improves it, and NEVER redistributes the code. Because they don't have to. After all, OSS is only a thing because under the copyright law you can release things under a given license.

Hmm, does not look like such a good world, to me at least. People should really think about these things before screaming "death to copyright." Do copyright laws need to be changed so the copyright term is some kind of fixed, reasonable time period. Yes. Do we need to get rid of it all together. NO! Remember, life is about balance.

I've thought about it more than you have I suspect. I notice that the argument has moved from "absolutely necessary" to "not such a good world".

But let's look at your arguments anyway:

Books: so what? The author has made money from the sale of the books ("selling really well") and will continue to do so, particularly with the free publicity. They have the "authorised" copy and are first to market. How does it hurt them that someone else also makes money?

Magazines and Journals: Go ahead. Do it. I assure you absolutely no-one will complain because no-one will even notice. They're disposable media. Seriously, no one will care.

EDIT: Sorry, missed TV and radio: are you serious? Do you know how much TV channels pay to be the first to show a particular show? You can't possibly think that they do that just for fun, right? Radio just wants listeners...being a poor copy of another station is not going to get you listeners.

Plays: ....and never gets any work again. Or just have them sign a contract up front like most working people do.

OSS: Just like BSD you mean?

Looks like a pretty good world to me. And who was screaming other than you? And no, not all things should be balanced: we didn't get "limited term slavery" when full slavery was abolished.

Most people on HN are either programmers or in the startup world. I'll assume that you are the same. In that case, I challenge you, if you think copyright is bad. Release ALL of your work, including all the code you have on your servers, every bit of code you have running your project, and every bit of code you have powering your business, into public domain! Today! Why not? I am sure you'll make money from it still, why shouldn't I and others try to make some money from it too.

What, you don't think it's the same? Why not? Is it because you enjoy the kind of work that has automatic intellectual property protection in the form of server side code or binary compiled code? While book/music/movie authors entire final work product has to be made public in order for that author to monetize it. Yes, first to market is great. But when second to market literally means a day later in todays day and age, where is the advantage?

Any way, if you really believe what you are saying, start public domain releasing all of your work, you have the option. Prove that you can make a living that way, and maybe others will follow you and the world will change. Though, something tells me you will fail, but I can be proven wrong.

As to your slavery argument, ignoring the historical facts which truly resulted in the awful circumstance of "limited term slavery," the condition of being a slave or a free person is not an example of 2 extremes. Having a bunch of white people own a bunch of black people as slavery is extremely bad and evil. Not having slavery is good, it's basically norm. The other extreme would be to free all the black slaves, and give them a white person as a slave each. Clearly and evil extreme as well.

I see, so you admit that your argument that authors required copyright to make money was nonsense? Now it's just something they should have according to you? And since your first argument failed, you're now trying to attack me. Typical.

I'm a bad example. The company I'm currently working with uses all OSS code and it is already released. I don't have the authors permission to make it public domain, I'm afraid. I'm restricted by copyright...

All my personal work is indeed released without copyright restrictions, though I'd be tempted to use a non-commercial clause just because it's an un-even playing field: I don't get to ignore other people's copyright just because I don't use it on my work.

In short, your argument is basically "if you don't like slavery, just release all your slaves". I'm restricted by copyright. So are you. Why should I accept that condition just so some lazy sod can make money more easily?

1. No, I still think that copyright law is absolutely necessary in order for some types of authors to be able to make money and sustain them selves through the sale of their works. Specifically film makers and book authors, because that's what I am familiar with most.

2. I am not attacking you personally. I am challenging you to practice what you preach. You may use exclusively OSS code in your business, but the glue code that runs the OSS bits, the business model, your list of suppliers, etc. All of that is IP, release that. I don't actually expect you to do that, you know perfectly well that I think that would be unfair. I am simply trying to make you see how exposed people like book authors are. Their entire business is on display, for everyone to see. Their book is the entirety of their work, and unlike you, without copyright, they would have no protection what so ever. Even without copyright, you would always have a choice whether to make your work public, they would not.

3. Stop comparing Copyright Law to Slavery. It's insulting to the memory of the people who actually were slaves to compare ownership right in specific expression with ownership rights in other human beings.

EDIT: Never mind. I don't see any point in this conversation. Have a good weekend.

> People should really think about these things before

> screaming "death to copyright."

People - professional and amateur philosphers and economists - have thought very deeply about these things. Did you read the articles I linked to at Anti-Copyright Resources?

> Remember, life is about balance.

"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win." - Rand

"In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit" is the rest of that quote. This presumes that good is the opposite of evil, and the two are polar extremes. It is my opinion that "good" is a state, achieved at the perfect equilibrium of all of life's forces. Evil is the absence of equilibrium, the more the forces are out of balance, the the more evil the state becomes. This way, you can define evil as absence of good.

Oh, and BTW, poison is not the opposite of food. Lack of food is the opposite of food. Poison is the opposite of medication. Lack of food causes death. Too much food causes death (leading cause of death in US). Too much poison causes death. Too much medication causes death (through weekend immune system and by creating drug resistant bacteria and viruses). Like I said, everything in life is about balance.

So, coming back to copyright, too many copyright protections stifle innovation by preventing derivative works. Too few copyright rights stifle innovation by limiting creative peoples ability to monetize their work in a meaningful way and encouraging even crazier DRM schemes. Again, balance is a complex, and yet the only way, to achieve the optimal good in this situation, which is maximizing creative output of the future generations. “Truth resists simplicity.” ― John Green.

Was anyone honestly expecting anything good to come from TPP? We've known since the first draft leak back in 2011 leaked that the whole purpose of TPP was not to benefit anyone except copyright lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies. Why else do you think these talks are being secretly held?

If the TPP is approved in all participating countries, it has the potential to really wreak havoc. What we are seeing here whether or not you understand it that well is bad news for open source, bad news for anyone that uses the Internet and bad news for countries that rely on cheaper generic drugs to treat illnesses.

What a sad world we live in when lobbyists and rogue politicians are conspiring to destroy the world. And while it could be worse, if TPP passes this is only the beginning of what would be a very destructive agreement.

It gives me hope that large and significant countries like India and China are not (yet) part of the TPP, and thus this isn't applicable to the entire world.

I'm sure the US realizes this, which is why there's been some talk to bring in India, South Korea, Thailand and even China (I say "even" because China apparently feels that the TPP is an "anti-China club") into the TPP fold.

>> Bring India into the TPP [Politico], http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/bring-india-into-the-t...

Given India's long-standing objections towards strict copyright and patent laws, and as an Indian, I hope we stay clear of the TPP.

As an Australian (US by birth unfort, I actually hate my country of birth at this stage because of their governance), I'm actually looking to China and non-partisan countries to fix this mess. The solution isn't going to come from a country so entrenched in corruption.

Don't think that China isn't partisan; they're Chinese partisans supporting Chinese interests and companies instead. They don't have the same level of global meddling capability as the US - yet.

Pray, what are "non-partisan countries"? And why do you think China is one?

When did governments go from trying to act in the best interests of their citizens so as to make their lives better and safer to restricting individual freedoms so as to create bigger profits for private companies?

Thus has it ever been. The history of government is the history of privilege and it's protection. That the Enlightenment of the 18th Century brought forth modern notions of representative democracy was in large part a reaction to the failure and catastrophic overthrow of the feudal order that had existed prior to that time. The American and the French revolutions made it clear that some form of safety valve that allowed class conflict to be mediated and ameliorated was better than the alternatives as far as the interests of the upper classes.

Can you recommend any good books on this topic? You just blew my mind.

Well, if you want the strongest, rawest and purest version of the RealPolitik WeltSchmerz; you should start with the basic texts.

Hobbes, Machiavelli, Clausewitz and Rousseau. If you are really a glutton for punishment go on to Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche. If you are wanting a slightly more americanized version; Howard Zinn's "A People's history of the United States" is a good and fairly accessible book.

A couple of Wiki pages that might point you toward other resources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realpolitik and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Bismarck

Just remember that actual history is messy and not necessarily rational and that any interpretation ( including mine ) of historical events is more wrong the more sweeping and all-encompassing it is.

Your mind was blown from the idea that a government does not necessarily exist to serve the interest of its people, or the little historical blurb?

In any case, the heavily ingrained belief of government benevolence in contemporary Western societies, is horrific. But not surprising, with minds like Edward L. Bernays at work (his 1928 book Propaganda should be mandatory reading for everyone).

I don't mean to speak for the person you're addressing, but I suspect this was the part that was surprising: "some form of safety valve that allowed class conflict to be mediated and ameliorated was better than the alternatives as far as the interests of the upper classes".

That's not an obvious truth, and doesn't deserve self-important snark.

I've also read 'Propaganda', and would also recommend it despite its age.

It's been obvious since before Bismarck introduced the welfare state in the 1840's onwards.

His opposition tried to tarnish his image by claiming he was introducing "state socialism", after which he himself started using the same term about his welfare programs, and explicitly made the point that it was intended to counter the influence of the socialists and calm the masses.

Bismarck, which was an ultra-conservative monarchist, actually went further than the majority of the socialist opposition at the time in anticipation of further demands, in order to quell their support.

I read Propaganda last year. It is much less interesting and "magical" than some hype it to be.

Unlike Disney movies, books don't have to be "magical".

And interesting should mean "provides important insights" not that it's a fun read (there's always Malcom Gladwell for that).

What I meant is that I read it thinking it would blow my mind. It didn't.

On the subject of capitalism, politics, power and liberty I recommend watching the documentary series "The Trap" by Adam Curtis:

[1/3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZt2HhFXB3M

[2/3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbRApO3k_Jo

[3/3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFjCJFsbS0U

Another series by Curtis, "The Century of the Self", explores similar themes in the context of psychology (Freud and Reich), propaganda (Bernays), and the rise of market-based democracy:

[*/4] http://vimeo.com/61857758

The first 8 (or so) episodes of the podcast "The history of Rome" will shed some light on this exact question...

Is it even useful anymore to talk as if there's any separation between governments and private companies at this point?

This problem (corruption) is a lot older than that. Hell, it's as old as government itself.

A good place to start looking was allowing unlimited campaign contributions.

No democracy functions that way.

Power corrupts.

Anyone else starting to feel worn down and disgusted by the behavior of your government? I don't see a lot of change, just a lot of dissection of how bad it is. If the mechanism to change the problem is broken, how do you change the problem?

What I find worst of all, is that our governments are using our tax dollars to negotiate and write this stuff behind our backs in order to shaft us, the people.

Its almost Terry Pratcher'esque. I'm seriously depressed about how shit our system is.

Terry Pratchett

I emigrated. I suggest all others of like minds do the same. Let the US suffer brain drain for a change (unintentional rhyming ftw!)

Where did you move? Also, is there any guarantee that other countries won't create similar laws/agreements etc in future (may be not today, but what about tomorrow)?

Ireland, which obviously tends to follow along with whatever the US wants, but I like to think at least my taxes aren't _directly_ supporting so many of the things I find morally reprehensible.

And they gave me a visa, so there's that.

I find it striking that these people are seemingly willing to spend years negotiating on this, and presumably spend a lot of money in the process, while not having learned anything about the failure of the previous agreement. It seems also clear that the US trade representative is not interested in balancing the interest of the public with business interests.

History shows that a people roused is a force without equal. But it also teaches us that rousing a people is far from an easy task, and it becomes harder the more often you try it, or the more often it's necessary.

This creates an incentive to try again and again and again. The costs are minimal (lobbying is cheap when you're a multi-billion dollar industry), the risk of blowback practically non-existant (no one boycots Disney), and the potential rewards are huge.

Therefore, I think you're incorrect when you say these people have not learned anything. Defeating one treaty or proposed law does nothing to prevent them from trying to pass the same reforms at a later point.

"We must handle this in secret! Trust us! It's for your own good! We just want to protect you from the danger!"

Why do I keep hearing this bullshit from all governments all over the World? (The last time, it was the NSA saying we should let them set up the police state.)

Secrecy has nothing to do with democracy. It kills it. (And that seems to be the goal, lately.)

This is completely idiotic and obviously not in the best interest of the citizens of that country.

Why do we even have this crap? Trade agreements are obviously just a way for big corporations make into law all their stupid ideas.

Corporations shouldn't have a say in law to begin with that will inevitably lead to abuse of power.

This looks just like a price setting agreement between large corporation (clearly illegal) but instead of setting prices the set laws in their favor. Considerably worse and should be just as illegal.

"Water sleeps, and the enemy is sleepless"

Some interesting discussions by KEI http://keionline.org/node/1825

Having not been following the TPP terribly thoroughly I did not realise how wide in scope some of its provisions would appear to be.

Of course. The US is becoming a service/IP economy. It is no longer producing many physical goods. So pushing these laws worldwide is essential for economic success.

"It is no longer producing many physical goods."

LOLWUT, as they say on the internet. The US currently enjoys more industrial production than at any time in its history. It is still the largest producer of manufactured goods in the world.

"U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective" http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42135.pdf

US Census Bureau - New Manufacturing Orders http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d2p7r4l1574rh_&c...

If you're impressed primarily by absolute dollar amounts of value added, then sure, U.S. manufacturing looks good on a bar chart comparison of G7 countries.

However, the rest of the FAS report is stuffed full of metrics showing the rapid decline of the manufacturing sector.

There are a number of valid and interesting perspectives on manufacturing output. "No longer produces physical goods" is not one of them.

No, because these laws arguably hinder economic success in these industries.

The success of the internet, which is largely built around open protocols, and open source, would indicate that perhaps copyright/patent maximalism that forces a "get permission first" culture is not a good idea.

For an extremely detailed argument on why copyright and patents hinder innovation in general, see the book "Against Intellectual Monopoly" by Boldrin and Levine. You can find a copy on the internet using, e.g., Google.

For a more story-based exposition, see the "This American Life" episodes "When Patents Attack".



Punch drunk from the abuse, how much worse can it get?

Why isn't China in the TPP?

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