The Trans-Pacific Partnership Intellectual Property Rights Chapter
Last week, WikiLeaks released the updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights chapter. It stands to benefit big pharmaceutical companies and other corporate interests by rulings that involve patents for medicines and plant genes, and that involve online spying under the guise of copyright protection.
‘Our first impression in reading the document is the extent to which the United States has sought hundreds of changes in intellectual property norms, some small and subtle, others blunt and aggressive, nearly all of which favor big corporate right holders, and undermine the public’s freedom to use knowledge,” declared James Love of Knowledge Ecology International. ‘These additions are likely to affect access to important medicines such as cancer drugs and will also weaken the requirements needed to patent genes in plants, which will impact small farmers and boost the dominance of large agricultural corporations like Monsanto.’
The TPP is the world’s largest economic trade agreement that will, if it goes into effect, encompass more than 40 percent of the world’s GDP. The [Intellectual Property Rights] chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations, and copyright issues to digital rights.
[The above italics have been added.]
Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams
TPP Negotiations Cloaked in Secretive Protection
The TPP negotiations have occurred in secret. If it wasn’t for Wikileaks, we would have no way of knowing what the negotiations are about.
I can understand corporate secrets. I can understand secrecy when it comes to national security. But why is this trade agreement so top secret? Trade agreements directly affect the rights and well-being of all citizens living in the countries involved with the agreement. Many of these countries are democracies.
Oh… I get it. Corporations are now corporate nations, and comprise that ultra-powerful tier, which sits above ordinary nations.
Still, secrecy is used for protection. Therefore, TPP negotiators must sense their own vulnerability.
They are right to be cautious.
The Fight for Freedom to Access Knowledge
There once was a boy, who wanted to do good in the world. He believed access to knowledge is an essential civil liberty. At great jeopardy to himself, he fought for the peoples’ freedom to access knowledge. He changed a thing or two, and the boy’s bold spirit lives on.
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.
Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.
The Documentary Network