The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries contains a chapter on intellectual property rights that could impact freedom of expression, according to The Guardian. This news comes after Breitbart News reported there is a controversial chapter on immigration law within the Trade in Services Act (TiSA), another part of President Obama’s trade pact.
“[The] Intellectual property rights chapter appears to give Trans-Pacific Partnership countries’ countries [sic] greater power to stop information from going public,” noted The Guardian, which gathered from WikiLeaks what appears to be a full chapter on intellectual property. The Guardian does not know whether the chapter is just a draft or if it is finalized.
The Guardian reported:
The treaty would give signatories the ability to curtail legal proceedings if the theft of information is “detrimental to a party’s economic interests, international relations, or national defense or national security”–in other words, presumably, if a trial would cause the information to spread.
However, whistleblower laws in each country would still apply, according to a drafter’s note.
“The text of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter confirms advocates warnings that this deal poses a grave threat to global freedom of expression and basic access to things like medicine and information,” Fight for the Future’s campaign director, Evan Greer, stated:
But the sad part is that no one should be surprised by this. It should have been obvious to anyone observing the process, where appointed government bureaucrats and monopolistic companies were given more access to the text than elected officials and journalists, that this would be the result.
Greer is correct in his last statement, as Breitbart News previously reported about the secretive nature of the trade deal, where it was kept in a secured room on Capitol Hill and where the press and public could not see which members of Congress actually read the deal before voting on it.
For example, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) admitted on the floor during debate that he did not know what was fully in TPP, although he was advocating to pass fast-track trade approval.
Breitbart News also reported that within part of Obama’s trade deal, there is a controversial immigration chapter within the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)–also leaked by WikiLeaks–that allegedly changes current U.S. immigration law, according to expert analysis.
Regarding the intellectual property chapter, The Guardian reported that each country could compel someone accused of violating any intellectual property law to turn over “relevant information […] that the infringer or alleged infringer possesses or controls.”
The Guardian continued:
The rules also state that every country has the authority to immediately give the name and address of anyone importing detained goods to whoever owns the intellectual property.
That information can be very broad, too: “Such information may include information regarding any person involved in any aspect of the infringement or alleged infringement,” the document continues, “and regarding the means of production or the channels of distribution of the infringing or allegedly infringing goods or services, including the identification of third persons alleged to be involved in the production and distribution of such goods or services and of their channels of distribution.”
An adviser asked to review the TPP by the U.S. government, Michael Wessel, suggested the trade agreement does not favor Americans.
“This is about increasing the ability of global corporations to source wherever they can at the lowest cost,” stated Wessel. “It is not about enhancing or promoting production in the United States.”
The TPP now goes before Congress, most likely early next year, for debate and vote. Sources told Breitbart News that it is likely Congress will pass the trade deal because Congress previously passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which gave President Obama fast-track trade authority. In the past 40 years, no trade deal has been shut down by Congress once it was granted TPA.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)–who is now being pushed to run for Speaker of the House–was the one leading the charge to get TPA passed earlier this year.
Obama has said he will make the text of the TPP public once Congress passes it. Unlike Obama, former President George W. Bush released his trade agreement for public review prior to requesting fast-track trade authority (TPA) from Congress.