Broad Coalition of Tech Companies Come Out Against TPP

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.