Broad Coalition of Tech Companies Come Out Against TPP
An open letter to Congress by over 250 tech companies written as “a community representing thousands of our nation’s innovators, entrepreneurs, job creators, and users to express our concern over trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).”
The group, which includes Basecamp, web hosts Dreamhost and Namecheap, cell phone company CREDO Mobile and others such as Mediafire, Imgur, and Boing Boing, objected to provisions such as:
- Threats to Fair Use: The TPP contains language that could prevent countries from expanding exceptions and limitations to copyright. The Fast Track Bill also contains nothing to promote balance in copyright law. This is despite how much value fair use has added to the U.S. economy and could add for investors in the growing economies of our trading partners.
- Expensive and Harmful Costs of Online Enforcement: U.S. law incentivizes online content providers to take down content over a mere allegation of infringement. The TPP will likely emulate these rules, continuing to make it expensive and onerous for startups and small companies to oversee users’ activities and process each takedown notice.
- Criminalizing Journalism and Whistleblowing: TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing “through a computer system.” The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.
The letter also expresses concerns that the TPP’s investment language could enable corporations to recover for expected future profits “to undermine U.S. rules like fair use, net neutrality, and others designed to protect the free, open Internet and users’ rights to free expression online.”
The full letter is below.