Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Isn’t Just Another Free-Trade Agreement

The Trans-Pacific Partnership taking shape behind closed doors in the capitals of nine countries would rewrite trade rules for a range of goods, but the section on intellectual property is drawing the ire of free-speech and privacy advocates.

The TTP is being called “Global SOPA” because it includes many of the same policies proposed in the Stop Online Piracy Act, which went down in flames in Congress last year in the face of an online netizen uprising.

From  at ReadWriteWeb in “Why You Should Be Terrified Of A Free Trade Agreement You’ve Never Heard Of”:

The bulk of the criticism centers around TPP’s Intellectual Property protections. On one hand, these protections impose copyright standards on member countries that are more extensive and punitive than current standards in any of the member states At the same time, it pressures Internet Service Providers in participating countries to filter their own Internet traffic for infringing material and enforce violations by blocking access to offending websites. In theory, a video mashup, a song cover or even some Harry Potter fan fiction could shut down an entire site. Taken to the extreme, it’s SOPA on a global scale, without a vote, minus the public scrutiny.

Imposing such a regime by treaty could be much easier than through legislation, since SOPA was brought down by an upwelling of public outrage against a particular bill whose explicit intention was clamping down on Internet freedom, making the argument simply whether that was a good idea or not.  When a large and vocal segment of the population agreed loudly that it wasn’t, politicians in the House of Representatives backed down and the lobbyists lost.

But if the same SOPA policies are embedded in a “free trade agreement,” opponents will find themselves arguing against a broad trade treaty designed to benefit American farmers and manufacturers across the country in addition to intellectual property owners.  And the only thing needed to make Son of SOPA the law of the land would be a single Senate vote.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent infographic breaking it all down.

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