Broad coalition confronts TPP negotiations armed with over 90,000-strong StopTheTrap.net petition
July 7, 2012 – Organizations and people belonging to the StopTheTrap.net Coalition delivered 90,000+ signatures from around the world to Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations Friday, arguing that the trade agreement’s Internet restriction provisions would create an “Internet trap”. The StopTheTrap.net Coalition represents a diverse range of organizations and people committed to standing against the TPP's extreme intellectual property restrictions.
Shortly after 12:00 PM PT Friday over one-thousand pages of petition signatures were delivered at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, where TPP negotiations have been taking place since Monday. The handoff was backed by StopTheTrap.net Coalition members—including legal and policy experts and supporters from Public Knowledge, Public Citizen, SumOfUs, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The San Diego round of negotiations has been largely focused on the intellectual property provisions of the TPP; a version of that chapter that includes unprecedented Internet restrictions was recently obtained by citizens’ groups and leaked to the public, sparking outrage worldwide.
The groups note that a July 4 vote in the European Parliament against the TPP-like Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has seriously undermined the U.S. copyright and intellectual property agenda in the TPP talks. EU parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly against ACTA, which they felt left too much room for abuses, and raised many concerns about its impact on citizens’ privacy and civil liberties, and on innovation and the free flow of information. StopTheTrap.net Coalition members see this as a sign that secretive agreements that threaten the Internet will not be tolerated.
The petition signatures that were delivered today—which come from the ongoing StopTheTrap.net campaign—are evidence of a groundswell of dissent against the TPP’s proposed restrictions on Internet freedom.
OpenMedia Executive Director Steve Anderson says: “We deserve to know what websites and content could be blocked, and what we and our families will be fined for if the TPP’s Internet trap goes through. It’s wrong to make crucial decisions that will affect the daily lives of people from around the world in secret and without public input. We know where citizens stand, now it’s time for our governments to join us.”
Burcu Kilic from Public Citizen added, “Intellectual property is not merely a commercial or trade-related issue or something we can allow to be monopolized by corporations. The over-aggressive rules pushed through agreements like ACTA and the TPP threaten our personal rights and freedoms on the Internet and in our daily lives. This is why we are raising our voice to warn TPP negotiating countries about the inadequacy of the current IP maximalist model, which places IP monopolies at its heart instead of sharing or disseminating knowledge, technology or information.”
Maira Sutton, International IP Coordinator at the EFF, noted that, “The TPP carries provisions that would enact the global norms of copyright policy lobbied for by content industry lobbyists. Those provisions would override sovereign national laws and prevent countries from passing, or even retaining, pragmatic copyright legislation appropriate for their own national needs. Internet users are increasingly becoming aware that their digital rights are under threat. It's now up to government leaders to defend the digital public good over the desires of private corporate interests.”
Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, adds: “Copyright and other intellectual property rights have no place in the TPP or any other trade deal. There are more democratic, open spaces for those discussions that the U.S. is obviously trying to sidestep so it can force a restrictive, corporate vision for the Internet onto the rest of the world.”
Citizens are encouraged to continue adding their names to the petition at: http://stopthetrap.net
OpenMedia is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.
General information about TPP from civil society groups:
- Joint Statement of Civil Society Groups on U.S. TPP Copyright Proposal
- Public Citizen's TPP Resource page
USTR officer, Barbara Weisel (left) with Burcu Kilic and Peter Maybarduk of Public Citizen. Click photos to enlarge.