The TPP vs. YOU

Today, governments released the full, final text of the TPP.

It's bad. REALLY BAD. Even worse than we thought. Here are some highlights:

Copyright will be life of the artist plus seventy years. This is up from the current life-plus-fifty years in Canada. I explained in depth yesterday how this this will do enormous harm to Canadian institutions such as municipal archives and to the public domain.

Your ISP has to give your name to copyright holders if they ask. This is really, REALLY scary. I recently recalled to you my experience where my ISP screwed up and associated my name with the wrong account for Notice and Notice. Now, if a rights holder has "sufficient evidence" that you committed a copyright infringement, they can demand your subscriber information. We know what happens next, because US laws have given us a preview. The copyright holder will hand over your info to what constitutes the equivalent of a copyright-infringement collection agency, who will harass you endlessly, demanding payment and threatening further legal action. Those enforcers have already tried to use these tactics through the Notice and Notice system, with less ability to back up their threats. 

This means that, given what I've cited here, your name could erroneously be sent to a copyright enforcement agency, who will continue to harass you, forever, until you pay an exorbitant sum of money. If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, I don't know what does.

Notice and Takedown with no reprieve. Once again, we're set to import one of the very worst aspects of American copyright law into Canada. If you've heard of the DMCA (the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act), you might know that it is a reviled set of laws. One of the biggest (and just) reasons for this ire is the concept of Notice and Takedown. If a rights holder sees some content online which they feel violates their copyright, they send a message to whomever is hosting it (eg: YouTube, Facebook, flickr, Google search) and that provider automatically yanks it off the internet. Was your content unfairly removed? The appeal process is complicated, and it doesn't always work.

A notable example of Notice and Takedown occured in 2007, when Stephanie Lenz, a California mother, shot a 30-second video of her toddlers dancing in the kitchen to a Prince song, and uploaded it to YouTube so that her family and friends could see her kids. Universal Music Group sent a DMCA notice to YouTube and had the video yanked down, claiming that the video contained "unauthorized use" of the Prince track. A subsequent lawsuit decided that Lenz had used the track fairly.

What's worse is that the badly-conceived process is prone to abuse. For example, this year Becca Mills, a self-publishing author on Amazon, had to deal with a troll who used the DMCA to try to scam her. He copied a section of one of her books, revised it into a book he had previously self-published on Amazon, and then sent a DMCA notice to Amazon claiming that Mills had plagiarized a passage from HIS book. The onus was then upon Mills to figure out the scam, make counter-claims and fight the troll to get her book back on Amazon.

The TPP provisions on Notice and Takedown mean that Canada will get such a system. Worse, if your content is taken down under false pretences, you can't counter-sue the rights-holder who made the false claim. This likely means that rights-holders will cast a wide-net and put takedown notices on everything, since there won't be any consequences, and the process can be completely automated.

This is just scratching the surface of this terrible agreement. The technology and copyright provisions are awful. There are also provisions which seek to quash the use of generic drugs in Canada and other countries, which will increase the cost of medicine (and thus the cost of saving lives) worldwide. It would allow the importation of milk from countries whose cows which have received types of hormones banned in Canada. While former PM Harper sang the praises of how the TPP would help Canadian industry, unions are saying the deal will be terrible for workers.

It's plain to me that the TPP is a plan by conservatives and corporate greed to sell out ordinary citizens in the name of profit. Our new Liberal government is fairly pro-trade, so we need to be very vocal about opposing this treaty. Parties like Japan and the USA made it clear to other signatories that there was little room for negotiation of the TPP, "You're either in or you're out," as Harper put it during negotiations.

I say I'm OUT. I hope you'll join me. #WithdrawFromTheTPP #NoTPP

Handcuffs image courtesy of Vector Portal