TPP

(via Boing Boing) It's weird that various international governments will try, over and over again, to pass the same or similar legislation, when it keeps failing due to massive public outcry.  I mean, it isn't hard to figure out why.  The entertainment industry is pushing for these irresponsible copyright laws to try to protect their business model, and they dump money into lawmakers' pockets to do whatever they can to stay afloat without having to change.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership on Intellectual Property, TPP, is a darker-and-edgier remake of SOPA and ACTA.  A copy of its current version was recently leaked to the public -- and there's a major warning sign, it had to be leaked.  These negotiations aren't happening in public, on the record.  They're not happening in public, on the record, because every time governments around the world have tried to pass these kinds of laws even remotely on-record, there have been massive protest movements to shut them down.

The EFF has a summary of the problems with TPP, they've also created an Infographic.  I want to talk about just some of those problems.

TPP would encourage or institute three-strikes laws for accusations of piracy.  If an ISP gets three infringement claims about a particular user, they'd have to cut them off the internet.  Notice I said claims, not convictions.  This isn't "You broke the law over and over again and now you're facing the consequences."  This is "Click your heels together and say someone's name three times and you can get them kicked off the internet."  It's like summoning Betelgeuse, or Bloody Mary.  It turns cutting people off from their access to the world network into a conjuring trick.

It risks shutting down sites like YouTube, and will certainly kill any attempts to start up new user-based websites:

Private ISP enforcement of copyright poses a serious threat to free speech on the Internet, because it makes offering open platforms for user-generated content economically untenable. For example, on an ad-supported site, the costs of reviewing each post will generally exceed the pennies of revenue one might get from ads. Even obvious fair uses could become too risky to host, leading to an Internet with only cautious and conservative content.

The TPP and laws like it also fundamentally undermine the idea of free speech on the internet, and since the internet is the main worldwide forum for communication, it means shutting down free speech for all views and parties except the ones that both the government and the corporations approve of.

We've had bad internet policy before.  America's DMCA has been on the books since 1998.  But that one, we can fairly characterize as a mistake.  The government tried something, and while we could reasonably have predicted its failure, we couldn't totally fault the people trying.  But now we know this stuff doesn't work, in theory or in practice.  SOPA, PIPA and ACTA weren't well-intentioned missteps, they were attacks on the internet, directed by a rightly terrified industry that can't adjust to the changing times.  TPP is another attack, and this time it's not just in opposition to the world community's interests, it's in direct contradiction of our explicitly stated preference.

A lot of activists, following the SOPA battle, warned that more of this was coming.  They were right -- it looks like the world's governments, insofar as they are influenced by corporations, are going to keep fighting until they win, until they unequivocally lose, or until the relevant corporations go belly-up.