Possible Harms

It’s hard to know the full extent of the harms the TPP’s copyright provisions may pose to the public interest, because the public has been kept in the dark. Based on the February 2011 leaked proposal and public requests made by industry representatives, Public Knowledge can identify a number of proposals or likely proposals that would have serious consequences for consumers. The actual text of the TPP may be far worse, but it is impossible to know this until the text is released to the public.

  • The TPP should not protect incidental copies. The TPP would provide copyright owners power over “buffer copies”—the small copies that computers need to make in the process of moving data around. With buffer copy protection, the number of transactions that require a license from the copyright owner would increase a great deal.
  • The TPP should not lock out the deaf and blind. The TPP would prevent the blind from breaking digital locks to read ebooks and the deaf from breaking digital locks to insert captions DVDs.
  • The TPP should not criminalize small‐scale copyright infringement. The TPP could make downloading music a crime. Police could seize a computer as a device that aids this offense and send the end‐user to jail for downloading. The TPP’s criminal rules go beyond US law and imposes similar rules on other countries.
  • The TPP should not kick people off the internet. The TPP encourages ISPs to institute measures like “three strikes”—which kicks users off their internet connection after three infringement accusations—and deep packet inspection.
  • The TPP should include limitations and exceptions to copyright. The leaked proposal has no limitations and exceptions, like fair use, the first sale doctrine, and uses by libraries or persons with disabilities—only a placeholder saying they may be added later. The public has received no assurance that the TPP now includes limitations and exceptions necessary to balance the interests of users and copyright owners.

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