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You are here: Home Bulletins 2015 fall The time to fight back against TPP is now

The time to fight back against TPP is now

by Donald Robertson Contributions Published on Nov 23, 2015 02:23 PM

At the start of October 2015, it was announced that negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had reached an accord, meaning that the agreement would now go back to the member countries for ratification. The FSF has long been arguing against these secret negotiations, which have been going on for years. Shortly after the accord was reached, the final text was apparently leaked as well, and unfortunately all the issues that we decried as further restricting user freedom were still included in the final document. From the point that the agreement was reached until it is ratified, the process is now on a set schedule that could see TPP come to pass by the start of 2016.

On October 23rd, I had the chance to speak at the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference about the threat of TPP and other international "trade" agreements. The talk was on the facts of these agreements, which have little to do with trade, and a lot to do with control. After the talk, there were still a lot of questions and it was great to see so many come by the FSF booth to discuss the issues further. Many found it frustrating that the threat of TPP is something that they hadn't heard much about previously. But one comment in particular stuck in my mind, from an audience member who found it strange that our talk about TPP was in such a calm tone. Hearing how TPP and other trade agreements like it could lock countries all around the world into potentially perpetual copyright, spreading the worst aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) everywhere, and muddying the waters around other issues like software patents or net neutrality, they were getting angrier and angrier.

Anger is a natural response, and if you're just learning about TPP now, we hope you are angry about our freedom being traded away. Getting the word out hasn't always been easy; international trade agreements aren't the type of simple-to-digest stories that make the nightly news. It's generally seemed like the voices from those of us speaking up about the issue were not being heard, and that often leaves one in a state of frustration. But in many ways anger is something you feel when you don't have the power to change things. Anger is born out of helplessness at a situation that seems insurmountable. But the truth of the matter is, we're not powerless. If you've only heard of TPP recently, then get angry, but then get active!

If you're hearing us now for the first time, help spread our voice, as the clock is ticking. Contact your representatives, organize local actions, and keep up-to-date on what you can do. Join us in this fight and don't let freedom be traded away. Don't let the anger you feel now turn into the resentment of what could have been done.

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