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TPP to Criminalize Information Sharing
By Daily Bell Staff - February 19, 2016

The article in question, about DeMarcus Cousins showing support for embattled head coach George Karl, was published February 13 … Now when you click on the article on Amico Hoops, it immediately redirects you to Sactown Royalty … it’s probably a lesson learned for Amico’s site. Just because you throw a link up at the bottom doesn’t mean you can just take someone else’s content wholesale and make a profit on it. That’s old school Internet thinking that just doesn’t work anymore. And really, it never did in the first place. –

Never before has it been easier to copy someone’s text and republish it.

But as we can see in this excerpt, some social commentators see the Internet’s ability to replicate and disseminate information as a serious threat to intellectual property.

Of course, the Internet was built on the sharing of many kinds of information – what the excerpt above calls “old school Internet thinking.”

Politicians across the world have long been panicked about the direction in which the Internet is taking us. The latest example of this can be seen in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty, which is currently nearing ratification.

A very significant element of TPP is the continued criminalization of copyright, which used to be a civil matter.

The criminalization of copyright is ongoing but because the sharing of information is such a basic human instinct, the statutes simply haven’t been applied.

People have no idea what has been criminalized, nor their liability. And most provisions are rarely enforced because when they are, the majority opinion is one of shock and indignation.

Back in 2011, law professor John Tehranian wrote a paper entitled, “Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform and the Law/Norm Gap.” In it, he catalogued the day of a typical Internet user and then calculated the criminal liability.

The average American, he discovered, could be liable for nearly $5 billion per year if every act of copyright infringement were prosecuted. And that did not even include P2P file sharing.

The point was that the average individual did not know he was a lawbreaker and there was no real way to prosecute because no one was really responsible for enforcement.

Enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

RT has just reported on a significant strengthening of this criminalization in TPP, as follows:

TPP undergoes stealthy changes that expand penalties for copyright infringement …While the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was released last November, a legal combing of the deal modified some language that resulted in substantially heavier penalties for copyright infringement.

Since the November finalization of the text, parties involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim nations, have had their lawyers engaged in a “legal scrub” of the document … Jeremy Malcolm at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) caught a change made during the legal scrub in the intellectual property chapter of the agreement that has far-reaching implications for copyright infringement law.

The change turned the word “paragraph” into “subparagraph” and Malcolm believes it will force countries to criminalize copyright infringement even when copyright holders aren’t harmed (and presumably see the “infringement” as either neutral or positive).

Ultimately, the idea is to criminalize the very use of a URL – whether or not the URL-holder is comfortable with its use.

Copyright laws have a very long history, dating back to the days of the Gutenberg press, when it first became an issue.

At the time, the real intention of copyright was to slow the spread of printed information that was destabilizing Europe’s power structure.
It is evident that copyright laws and the impact they have on the permeation of ideas are significant. It can affect everything from social norms, to political structures, and most importantly technological innovations.

Historically, Germany’s enforcement of copyright was light, while England’s was heavy. Some have argued this led to an efflorescence of German science and literature.

And later this may have led to two world wars.

Inclusion of strengthened intellectual “property” regulations in TPP demonstrate that centuries later the elites’ desires are the same—to have the ability to control information and to assign value to it.

Absent the Internet, much that has been revealed in the past decade would not have come to light and this is especially true when it comes to how Western governments have been relating to the public.

The violent repression of information based on “ownership” of knowledge harbors a good deal of trouble going forward, just as it has in the past 500 years. The idea that the state will track, pursue and prosecute – criminally – those who “steal” information is logically questionable and culturally detrimental.

Conclusion: If TPP is passed in its current form – and then enforced – this could have a significant impact on the sharing of ideas and information through the Internet.

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