TPP and Reality: TPP Doesn’t Put Canada on Level Ground

In a continuation of our series on addressing comments made by TPP supporters, we turn to a piece in the Globe and Mail which also tries to sell the infamous trade agreement.

In the midst of the many revelations revealed by the disclosure of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), TPP supporters have been scrambling to try and find some way of defending the agreement. We’ve been examining the comments by TPP supporters and have been finding that the claims are more myth than fact. Earlier, we debunked 5 myths published on the Financial Times. Later on, we debunked Richard C. Owens and an article published in The Law Times. Today, once again armed with the knowledge of our analysis of the TPPs official text, we turn to an article in the Globe and Mail which also attempts to dispute the facts of the TPP. The reason why we’re singling out this article is because other TPP supporters are citing it as rock solid evidence that the TPP is great and wonderful and should be passed immediately.

The first point being raised can be found in this excerpt:

Similarly, in regulating the activities of ISPs, the negotiators appear to have rejected the U.S. notice-and-takedown approach for a softer notice-and-notice approach already in place in Canada.

This myth is easily dispelled simply by citing the TPP. In section 18.82, we find the following:

3. To facilitate effective action to address infringement, each Party shall prescribe in its law conditions for Internet Service Providers to qualify for the limitations described in paragraph 1(b),


(a) With respect to the functions referred to in paragraph 2(c) and paragraph 2(d), these conditions shall include a requirement for Internet Service Providers to expeditiously remove or disable access to material residing on their networks or systems upon obtaining actual knowledge of the copyright infringement or becoming aware of facts or circumstances from which the infringement is apparent, such as through receiving a notice156 of alleged infringement from the right holder or a person authorised to act on its behalf,

So, there is no debate here. Notice-and-takedown is in the TPP. Myth busted.

Surprisingly, the piece admits that there is an extension to copyright terms for most countries:

To be sure, Canada will have to make some changes to its IP laws to implement TPP. Some will involve enhancing IP protection, such as increasing the term of copyright protection to 70 years from 50.

As we pointed out earlier, longer copyright terms will mean increased costs to consumers, innovators, and content creators.

The author then takes a puzzling turn by stating the following:

Time will tell whether the deal has unintended consequences. But, if anything, the IP chapter puts Canadian innovators on a level playing field with innovators throughout the TPP region, and the rules protecting their IP should become simpler and more harmonized. Given the complexity of the issues and the actors at the table, this is a good result.

In other words, throw caution to the wind and let the unintended consequences take their natural course. Alternatively, we can actually examine the unintended consequences and have a normal intellectual debate on the subject instead of ignoring the warning signs altogether.

In addition, the author doesn’t specify what is meant by “harmonized”. The author isn’t really clear on much of anything in this paragraph for that matter.

After a good amount of fluffing, the author concludes:

TPP is a reality check. With or without it, Canadian innovators will be competing tooth and nail with like-minded, well-educated innovators around the world. TPP just puts this reality front of mind. Before embarking in post-TPP competition, our best and brightest innovators deserve the very best in infrastructural and policy support so they are positioned to win.

This, of course, assumes that the author knows what innovators want and need. This was never really made clear in the article. At the end of the day, this article is little more than: The TPP is great and must be supported. Why is it great? Well, because it should be supported.

Ultimately, there was hardly any substance to the article. There’s vague comments made with pretty much no citation. Then it concludes based on, well, nothing, that the TPP should be supported. Because of this, the Globe piece is not only debunked, but is also facepalm worthy.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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