Target: Congressional Representatives
Goal: Demand that Congress release the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to the public
On May 15 officials from the United States and ten other international governments are meeting in Lima, Peru to work out the details of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). While both ours and other governments have worked hard to keep the inner workings of the TPP a secret, leaked documents and notes have made it quite clear that, if passed, the TPP could wreak havoc on international copyright laws.
If the TPP were approved, some of the worst features of current U.S. copyright law would be applied to other nations on the Pacific Rim. The regulations include a restrictive ban on disarming digital locks on electronic devices and other creative works, privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement (basically allowing companies to monopolize copyright laws), ruinous statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement.
Even worse, the TPP would not include many of the balances and exceptions in the U.S. that favor U.S. citizens’ public interest and limit rightsholders’ protection. In essence the TPP will strip U.S. copyright laws of whatever safeguards they have, and then apply them to ten other countries. This secretive process can be resisted, but not until Congress opens the text of the TPP to the general public. The process of deciding both U.S. and international copyright law should be a democratic and transparent one. Sign this petition letter to help make it that way.
Dear U.S. Congressional Representatives,
While the waters of both U.S. and international copyright law are murky at best, keeping the proceedings of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement shrouded in secrecy is not doing neither the U.S. nor the other nations supporting the TPP any favors. As consumers and as citizens we deserve to know how the copyright laws of our nation are being handled (or, in this case, mis-handled) and we also deserve a voice in seeing how they are shaped.
By signing this petition letter, I am urging you to make the text of the TPP available to the general public as both an act of good faith and as a promising first step in seeing the inherent wrongs of the TPP righted. Keeping the text of such a controversial agreement hidden under lock and key is no way to earn the people’s trust. Allowing an open and democratic discussion of what the agreement entails and how to change whatever flaws it holds however is.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: the Italian voice via Flickr