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Trans-Pacific Partnership Includes Unwanted Elements of SOPA 129

Posted by timothy
from the meet-the-new-candidate-for-boss dept.
New submitter Error27 writes "Last month Wikileaks leaked a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. Here is Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's response to the leaked documents. She points out that there several troubling issues with the trade agreement. It locks countries into extremely long copyright terms. It limits fair use. It includes DRM provisions which would make it illegal to unlock your cell phone. These laws come from the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which Americans already rejected."
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Trans-Pacific Partnership Includes Unwanted Elements of SOPA

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  • Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday December 06, 2013 @07:54PM (#45623335)

    This is how things work these days: if you can't get a law passed in your country, you convince other governments to make it part of a treaty, then blame them when the treaty is passed.

    • "This is how things work these days: if you can't get a law passed in your country, you convince other governments to make it part of a treaty, then blame them when the treaty is passed."

      It's not quite that simple. In the U.S., it still has to be ratified by the Senate, AND even if they do, it is not law if it conflicts with the Constitution.

      (IANAL, but MANY legal experts and court decisions say that a treaty does not have authority to trump the Constitution.)

      • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

        by icebike (68054) on Friday December 06, 2013 @09:06PM (#45623753)

        It's not quite that simple. In the U.S., it still has to be ratified by the Senate, AND even if they do, it is not law if it conflicts with the Constitution.

        That's hardly the point.
        The constitution mentions nothing about unlocking cell phones or copyright length.
        Those are merely provisions in US LAW.
        Treaties can and DO override US Law all the time.

        When the President and two thirds of the Senate concur that a treaty can invalidate some sections of US Code, that code is toast, unless the treaty tried to override the amendments 1 thru 8 which specifically limit federal power.

        In spite of the 10th amendment, it is clear that the founders intended the Federal Government to acquire additional powers under the Treaty power, and specifically mentioned in "The Necessary and Proper Clause" of Article 1.

        To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

        Treaties do have major implications under U.S. domestic law. In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court ruled that the power to make treaties under the U.S. Constitution is a power separate from the other enumerated powers of the federal government, and hence the federal government can use treaties to legislate in areas which would otherwise fall within the exclusive authority of the states.

        See more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Clause [wikipedia.org] and here: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013/11/13/can-treaties-override-the-constitution [tenthamendmentcenter.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          That's hardly the point. The constitution mentions nothing about unlocking cell phones or copyright length. Those are merely provisions in US LAW. Treaties can and DO override US Law all the time.

          Yes, that WAS my point. One of them, anyway. In order to override ANY U.S. law, it first has to be ratified by the Senate.

          In spite of the 10th amendment, it is clear that the founders intended the Federal Government to acquire additional powers under the Treaty power, and specifically mentioned in "The Necessary and Proper Clause" of Article 1.

          Absolute BS. The "Necessary and Proper" clause only says that the Federal government can pass such laws as are necessary for it to implement and enforce the Constitution itself. It does NOT give the Federal government to enact laws that are not "necessary and proper" (and necessary is very much a key word) to other parts of the Constitution. That's a complete misinterpretation of what it

          • Yes, that WAS my point. One of them, anyway. In order to override ANY U.S. law, it first has to be ratified by the Senate.

            Technically true, but remember that a treaty is usually a combination of clauses, not just one, all of which need to be agreed to. If the Senate agrees that the good clauses are something they want then they have to decide whether the bad ones are something that can be tolerated or not.

            Now, based upon this, and based upon the fact the Senate can't just pass amendments or similar in t

        • Look... here's my point: as your own source (Tenth Amendment Center) says, there are some suggestions in history that Congress could, in a few select ways, use their power to grab authority that the Constitution does not explicitly give. However, the one example they give of that -- a treaty with the Netherlands -- runs afoul of the First Amendment, which the same source says it may not do.

          So the one example they give is actually a contradiction of what they claimed earlier... that a treaty cannot overri
          • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Interesting)

            by icebike (68054) on Friday December 06, 2013 @09:51PM (#45623977)

            True, but bringing it back to the topic at hand, poster 123456 above stated that if you "can't get a law passed in your country, you convince other governments to make it part of a treaty".

            And s/he is perfectly correct in this assessment, and that is exactly what the Trans-Pacific Partnership proponents are trying to do, and, as I pointed out, if ratified, this treaty becomes law (because it does not directly contradict the constitution).

            You replied that it was "Not quite that simple". But it is EXACTLY that simple.

            1) Get defeated in congress.
            2) Draft a treaty
            3) Get treaty ratified ...
            Profit.

            When the SOPA protest caused the bills to be pulled, it was most effective in the House of representatives.
            So Chris Dod and friends, are end-running the house all together. They get no say about a treaty.

            • "But it is EXACTLY that simple."

              NO, it isn't. You've taken this out of the context of my original statement, then included part of my original statement. WTF?

              Point (3) was MY point, and THAT is why "It's not so simple." You can't just sign a treaty, you have to get it ratified by 2/3 of the Senate. And THEN it's still not law if it violates the Constitution, ratified or not.

        • Most importantly, Congress can't simply repeal a provision of a treaty, which is why it's so much better for industry to get their welfare written into a treaty rather than a statute. The next election could threaten their favorite statute (in theory anyhow).

        • by Teancum (67324)

          Treaties can and DO override US Law all the time.

          When the President and two thirds of the Senate concur that a treaty can invalidate some sections of US Code, that code is toast, unless the treaty tried to override the amendments 1 thru 8 which specifically limit federal power.

          So treaties that override other amendments like the 19th Amendment are just fine and constitutional?

          I'm sure that would go over real well. Besides, since when has Congress felt limited by any part of the constitution? They pretty much treat it as a mere guideline any more.

          • by icebike (68054)

            Please reread what I wrote.
            Put your glasses on, and try reading the bold sentence that you quoted, but still some how never even noticed.

            This isn't about the constitution.
            Congress could have passed the original SOPA act.
            Congress could have passed the original PIPA act.
            The President could have and would have signed both.
            Once signed they both would have been LAW.

            Public protest caused both to be withdrawn.
            But if you put key features of these into a Treaty, the House of Representatives is out of the picture, an

            • "Since neither act directly violated any provision in the constitution, the whole constitutional question is moot."

              No, it isn't. Sheesh.

              To use one of your own examples: it is very much arguable that SOPA would have infringed on the First and possibly even the Fourth Amendment.

              Reminder: this whole thread was in response to a comment to the effect of: "it isn't just a matter of signing a treaty" to get it into law. It's more complicated than that. It has to be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate, and it may not violate the Constitution. (The latter according to your own sources.)

              SOPA is a great case in point: it should

        • by 7-Vodka (195504)

          To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. Treaties do have major implications under U.S. domestic law. In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court ruled that the power to make treaties under the U.S. Costitution is a power separate from the other enumerated powers of the federal government, and hence the federal government can use treaties to legislate in areas which would otherwise fall within the exclusive authority of the states.

          Fuck off. The 10th amendment is abundantly clear and anything you or anyone else writes or says elsewhere is meaningless.

          The feds were granted very specific and NARROW domains and anything not mentioned is NOT THEIR BUSINESS.

          The fact that they wipe their asses with the constitution on an hourly basis and in perpetuity does not make it right and some day when they've pissed off enough people there will be a revolution.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Constitution? What's that? Oh, is that what the members of the US Government wipe their asses with now?

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        As I understand it, fast-tracking changes some of that. It side-steps the formal treaty process by calling it a legislative-executive agreement. Fast-tracking has already been asked for the TPP, and the same approach is planned for the Atlantic version.

    • That is pretty much how the EU works. Of course the bothersome part of passing a treaty has already happened; one merely has to get the eminently undemocratic EU bureaucracy to pass a bill. Here in NL several parties have pushed to get something that doesn't sit well with their own constituents passed in the EU. All so they can still claim to be against X, but "the EU is forcing us". Bonus points for those parties claiming to be critical of the EU, of course.

      By the way, I am glad Lofgren is still on to
    • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:37PM (#45623609) Homepage Journal

      You keep trying again and again until the opposition blinks. .Then its too late.

    • by FridayBob (619244)
      Yes, but America has far more economic influence and our representatives must also agree to those heinous provisions. The problem is that it's no longer us that they represent: it's their donors, and they're the ones who keep pushing for those provisions. However, these and other seemingly intractable problems will fix themselves as long as we first get big money out of politics. [wolf-pac.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This sort of thing isn't new at all. The Dulles brothers, who ran the CIA and Dept of State simultaneously after WWII, crafted pro-US business policies and force smaller countries to allow foreign ownership and investment at the expense of the people in those countries. They trampled the rights of foreign citizens worldwide by overthrowing governments, installing dictators and 'advising' foreign military leaders on counter-insurgency warfare, used against peasants to move them off land where valuable resour

    • Huh. Well, how do we make it stop? Clearly voting isn't working.

      • by FridayBob (619244)

        Huh. Well, how do we make it stop? Clearly voting isn't working.

        See WOLF-PAC [wolf-pac.com] and help get big money out of politics. After that, voting will start to make a difference again.

        WOLF-PAC was launched in October 2011 for the purpose of passing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will end corporate personhood* and publicly finance all elections**. Since Congress won't pass such an Amendment on its own, the plan is to instead have the State Legislators (who tend not to be nearly as corrupt as those who run for federal office) propose it via an Article V Conventio

        • the plan is to instead have the State Legislators (who tend not to be nearly as corrupt as those who run for federal office) propose it via an Article V Convention.

          Why is it that they are less corrupt? Is it because they are more ethical or because they are not as effective for influencing policies that favor the people who want to spend money on bribes? If this was close to passing, wouldn't that shift things? I imagine that as an Evil Overlord of a large company's bribery division, I would then shift my focus to state officials in order to stop this from getting passed. A cynical person might point to places where they wanted to shift to using OpenOffice.org ins

          • by FridayBob (619244)

            Why is it that they are less corrupt? Is it because they are more ethical or because they are not as effective for influencing policies that favor the people who want to spend money on bribes?

            I strongly suspect the latter.

            If this was close to passing, wouldn't that shift things? I imagine that as an Evil Overlord of a large company's bribery division, I would then shift my focus to state officials in order to stop this from getting passed.

            They might give it a shot and they might succeed, but I don't think so. They would have to bribe an awful lot of legislators in a relatively short span of time. From wolf-pac.com:

            "Once an Article V. Convention has been called we will continue to put pressure on our Legislators to do exactly what they called the convention to do. There will be so much media attention at this point due to the historic nature of the event that no Legislator would dare propose an amendment th

        • by jamstar7 (694492)
          Good idea. It won't work, though. Do some research on ALEC. They're handcrafting 'model legislation' for every state legislature that will defeat any attempt to push a constitutional ammendment contrary to ALEC's sponsors.
          • by FridayBob (619244)
            That's assuming ALEC is as well organized as the conservative block in the US Congress; that they can block almost anything that is not in their interest. But how can that be when so far the most headway WOLF-PAC has made with State Legislators is with Republicans in red States (Texas, Idaho and Kentucky)? If anything it would seem that, despite ALEC, Republican State Legislators are even more averse to the current level of crony capitalism in Congress than are their Democratic counterparts. However, I agre
    • make it part of a treaty

      This is not a treaty, where ratification requires 2/3 of the senate. If accepted by the US it will be a congressional-executive agreement [wikipedia.org], which can be passed in the same way as an ordinary law. I think the distinction is bogus, but since CEA's have been accepted and approved by the courts since the Jefferson administration, I don't think they're going away.

    • And then in the US "psychos" like me (i.e. pro-constitutionalists) insist that any who insists a treaty can override the Constitution or be excuse to infringe our rights is a domestic enemy and subject either to crimes about aiding foreign powers or about conspiracy against rights--it's the only way to go, either we start threatening these people--and those who pay them to do this--with real consequences or we get to soon be little more than slaves free in name only. I know it's dangerous but it's necessary
      • by dbIII (701233)

        to crimes about aiding foreign powers

        Irrelevant since even selling weapons to terrorists that had killed over a hundred US Marines less than a year before was not enough to make it difficult for Oliver North to get a new government job requiring a high security clearance. There are no "real consequences" down that road.

        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          to crimes about aiding foreign powers

          Irrelevant since even selling weapons to terrorists that had killed over a hundred US Marines less than a year before was not enough to make it difficult for Oliver North to get a new government job requiring a high security clearance. There are no "real consequences" down that road.

          They had to do the paperwork first to clear him of his felony convictions. It's called a 'presidential pardon'. And I consider its useage in this instance to have been an impeachable offense, but nobody was paying attention til the ink was dry.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            It's an example that it's not just the constitution that is in trouble but even something as far back as Magna Carta. The same laws do not apply to those in power. The US constitution relies on the law seeing all as equal, and when people such as North, Libby etc get to do far worse than Manning, Snowdon etc without consequence it shows the ground is shaky. The rule of law is being scorned. Chinese style "might makes right" is far more convenient for the people that like to call themselves conservative
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who are the people responsible for this? Names and home addresses please.

  • There are some amazing evangelists for global trade because there are some that truly believe this to be the path to world peace (If we all have things we want to trade, we should all be able to get along). Unfortunately, many simply see it as a new means for greater wealth, and it's often hard to distinguish between these different proponents. Since WWII imperialism has been passeé, so now taking foreign countries for all their worth has become a bureaucratic process.
    • Globalists are mostly fools. Those who actually understand what they are doing may or may not be fools, but the masses who believe in the hype are most certainly fools.

      Every one of these "free trade" treaties compromises one or more nation's sovereignty. We, here, in the US, can clearly see that these "intellectual property" treaties are so much hogwash, are being sucked into the treaty. After signing, our (mostly bought and paid for) politicians can then refuse to pass laws that we demand, claiming that

      • by MrDoh! (71235)
        Maybe, the route to world peace IS getting rid of the concept of a nation's sovereignty? Ok, not replacing it with a corporation, but if EVERYONE's the same country, it'd make it that bit trickier to go to war with yourself.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civil_wars

        • Sounds good. Let's start small though to demonstrate the practicality of it. Let's unite the US and Canada. Two countries with the longest undefended border in the world. No hostilities between them in 150 years. Very similar culture and background. Common language except for a French speaking minority that the new country could accommodate as well as Canada can. Should be easy.

          Get back to me when that's done, and then we can talk about adding the rest of the world.

          • Your proposal would likely cause the destruction of the USA. About 30% of the US population speak Spanish fluently- how would they react to Canadian bilingualism? You try telling a hundred million citizens they are not important enough to get their native language, but the french are. How would Americans react to the "Northern" states getting universal health care, but they don't? Again it would be a national riot. And you think you could just roll those programs back up north? Try telling 30 million
        • by shentino (1139071)

          There will never be peace as long as at least two people want to be better than everyone else. Only one person can be at the top of the list, and if you have more than one person competing for that spot you're going to have conflict.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          Ok, not replacing it with a corporation, but if EVERYONE's the same country, it'd make it that bit trickier to go to war with yourself.

          Yeah, that worked out real well for America [wikipedia.org]. As if you even need countries to have bloody wars of hundreds of thousands of soldiers on each side.

    • There are some amazing evangelists for global trade because there are some that truly believe this to be the path to world peace

      That'd be funny if it weren't such a serious issue. It's exactly what people said during the first so-called great age of free trade (late 19th and early 20th centuries). People were saying that in 1913. By 1914, WWI had thoroughly disproved the theory.

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        There are some amazing evangelists for global trade because there are some that truly believe this to be the path to world peace

        That'd be funny if it weren't such a serious issue. It's exactly what people said during the first so-called great age of free trade (late 19th and early 20th centuries). People were saying that in 1913. By 1914, WWI had thoroughly disproved the theory.

        They've been telling me that trickle down economics works, too. Still haven't seen the money trickling down. Money ain't brown, anyways, not in the US...

  • by Puls4r (724907) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:07PM (#45623427)

    The TPP is horrible in a number of ways. It creates so-called free trade between the countries in a number of areas, including automobiles. Unfortunately, if you know anything about the markets you know that even while the Japanese may not place tariffs on automotive products from the US, their market is absolutely closed to US product through a number of other legal but fairly immoral actions.

    To top it off, the Japanese are even WORSE at currency manipulations than Americans. As of this second, Japan enjoys an $8000 imbalance between autos made over there versus what we can make them over here, specifically because of their intervention in the currency market.

    Free trade doesn't work when countries can play games, dumping products and using massive government subsidies to drive people out of the market. The Automotive industry is virtually the last bastion of American manufacturing, and supports a huge proportion of what remains of the American middle class.

    This is a BAD partnership. Oppose it.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:32PM (#45623575)

      "The TPP is horrible in a number of ways. It creates so-called free trade between the countries in a number of areas, including automobiles. Unfortunately, if you know anything about the markets you know that even while the Japanese may not place tariffs on automotive products from the US, their market is absolutely closed to US product through a number of other legal but fairly immoral actions."

      That's the essence of the problem. These "free trade" treaties haven't really implemented "free" trade at all. It there has been anything "free" about them it is the "free" subsidies that some companies get for their products.

      Further, we know by now that offshoring is damaging to the economy of the country doing it, if it is "free", i.e., no exchange rate on labor. This is one of the biggest lies that have been pulled in recent years.

    • by Jeeeb (1141117)

      Unfortunately, if you know anything about the markets you know that even while the Japanese may not place tariffs on automotive products from the US, their market is absolutely closed to US product through a number of other legal but fairly immoral actions.

      Yet strangely, German cars do well in Japan, and Japan's second largest maker is owned by the French. Maybe if the American makers made better small cars and medium sedans, there would be more interest in them.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Do we mean better, or do we mean more amenable to japanese political influence?

        • by Jeeeb (1141117)

          Do we mean better, or do we mean more amenable to japanese political influence?

          I mean better. That's how the Germans have succeeded in Japan. That's how the French rebuilt Nissan. Meanwhile, the American makers for the last 30 years have been unable to even capture their homemarket and instead have been leaning on Washington to intervene.

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            Clearly you havent looked at american cars since the early 90s. In the years since we got our asses handed to us in the segment we have made great strides. The fuzion and the impala are both better cars than the toyotas and hondas for the higher end cars, the focus ST will roll all over the civic and corolla. Try actually looking at and driving some of them
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:08PM (#45623431)

    I live in Australia, we are at the other end of this disgusting treaty.
    The treaty gives US corporations the right to sue our government for any legislation that might affect their profits. So our highly effective and world-renowned Plain Packaging laws for cigarettes will be the first to go. Then they will come after our excellent PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) which gives us extremely low-cost prescription drugs, something im sure those in the US would dream of having.
    This treaty is nothing more than further evidence that our governments are acting against the greater good and in the interests of big business.
    Please oppose it.

    • Phillip Morris is already pursuing Australia for damages under the ISDS system after losing in the Australian high court. Australia signed a free trade treaty with Hong Kong in the 90s and that is the basis for this action. The TPP will only make matters worse.
    • by gronofer (838299)
      I agree with your objections to the treaty, but I'm not sure that your point about prescription drugs is correct. See this. [abc.net.au]
  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:14PM (#45623485)

    Can be the abbreviation of Start Online Piracy, Act!

  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday December 06, 2013 @08:33PM (#45623585)

    Given that the NSA is busy tapping the phones and email conversations of the leaders with which the USA is "negotiating" this TPPA, it's hard to believe that this isn't just a one-sided deal.

    How can other nations "negotiate" when the USA knows exactly what their bottom lines are (given that they've likely exchanged such information with their fellow politicians within their own country by phone or email)?

    What's more -- why does this all need to be done in secret -- hidden away from the eyes and ears of those who these politicians are elected to REPRESENT and SERVE?

    This is a huge con-job on the peoples of the non-US nations involved.

    I strongly suspect there will be a great deal of "post-political career" employment on offer for those foreign politicians who agree to the US-dictated terms of the TPPA.

    Outrageous!

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday December 06, 2013 @09:13PM (#45623793)

    The worst part of this is that it had to be leaked. The whole process by which these "agreements" are negotiated shouldn't be allowed in a democratic society. You leak secrets, and there should be nothing secret about these negotiations. Please spare me any "diplomatic requirements" BS. This is not a peace treaty where secrecy of negotiations might be necessary to get the thing done, or at least get it done relatively quickly.

    These negotiations should be no different than the way "negotiations" are handled in the legislature of a representative government - all completely public, and proposed bills available to anyone. You can even watch congress on TV if you can stay awake long enough. Why should this be any different?

    • by luther349 (645380)
      but being we shot down sopa and all its clones every time it goes public they will try to do it in secret now.
    • The problem is very simply that Americans aren't as involved in the democratic process as they should be (or they are and that they're simply too ignorant to understand how it's supposed to work). This is certainly not true of all Americans, but it is true of the vast majority, and what more is Democracy? Nothing more than the only thing the /. moderation system can beat....

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Friday December 06, 2013 @09:23PM (#45623845)
    Remind me, what were the wanted ones?
  • Is it just me or does anyone else think this is a bit screwy? What happens to your copyright if you never die or due to medical breakthroughs live for 500 years?
    How long before these laws get tweaked so that corporations get lumped in with humans, can they die? Are they like the Borg with smaller companies getting assimilated into the collective and thus never dying for so long as some other company is prepared to buy up the parts still valuable?

  • International treaties are a convenient way for executives to push unwanted legislation through legislator's throat. European Union citizen now know that trick very well. You can even have people refusing thing by referendum, and have it adopted by an international treaty 3 years later.
  • How will 'copyright' affect the average citizen anywhere in the world as far as video/audio/books are concerned?
    If you upload something on You Tube they will pull it down if it infringes on someone's copyright. This is usually an issue with audio, with visual data its not that simple, but still possible.
    Metallica proved that you cannot win the hearts and minds by taking a strong stance against popular sentiment. I don't see any artist going that path again.
    The worst case scenario would be some corpora

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