“Last week, WikiLeaks made public a portion of a treaty that the White House has been secretly negotiating with other nations and 600 special interest lobbyists,” Derek Khanna writes for Slate. “The draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, which is on intellectual property, shows that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only tech topic on which the Obama administration has some serious explaining to do.”
“The White House claims that it supports copyright reform. It should be in favor of remaking the framework, because today’s copyright system is a mess: It grants protection that is too long (70 years or more), fair use is notoriously unclear and vague, and statutory damage laws create a massive deterrent to lawful creation,” Khanna writes. “Economists and scholars argue that modern copyright, as opposed to constitutional copyright, greatly impedes innovation and content creation. But the TPP, which is being negotiated by 11 countries, would be a step in the completely wrong direction.”
“In its present state, treaty would expand copyright and effectively make real reform impossible,” Khanna writes. “Worse, it would essentially disregard constitutional limitations on copyright and reject pillars like fair use, the first-sale doctrine, and having copyright be for ‘limited times.’ The worst part: While the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it.”
“This treaty has long been shrouded in unprecedented secrecy. Congressional staff, press and general public weren’t allowed to read it; in many cases, even members of Congress were kept in the dark,” Khanna writes. “Meanwhile, special interests were given full access. Now we know why: The White House didn’t want the public to know what was being negotiated in their name.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Wait, average citizens — who, by the way, dutifully go to work every day to fund this whole ball of, er… wax — and many of their representatives were told one thing (or kept in the dark) while the opposite was being pursued in order to placate special interests?
Say it ain’t so.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]