Trans-Pacific Partnership means more DRM, ROMs become illegal, less modder & YouTuber fair use

The TPP will impact gamers and consumer rights. Odds are the TPP will affect you in a negative way.

I want to preface with the fact that I am not a lawyer but with a little patience (and a little help from the Electric Frontier Foundation,) anyone can understand the TPP document.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP is a bill that was being written in secret that is supposed to increase the amount of trade and make the passage of goods easier for Canada, the United States, Austrailia, Japan, and several other countries.

Sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately for us, there are several articles in the bill that would turn a lot of gamers into criminals.

The TPP is here to step all over consumer rights, and I'll explain how as best I can.

"Fair" for rights holders, unfair for consumers.

The Bill states that any terms benefiting the rights holders are binding terms, but terms for consumers are not.

An easy way to think of this is that countries MUST abide by the right holders rules, and that they only SHOULD abide by the consumer protection clauses.This "should rule" sees a lot of action in the bill.

Article QQ.G.17 - Copyright Balance

This article states: "Each Party shall endeavor to achieve an appropriate balance in its copyright and related rights system." This article is referring to exceptions in normal copyright law and provides examples, but it does not mandate all countries to create or follow such a rule system.

Basically, it means things like parodies, educational content, news content, reviews and more, don't have to be protected under fair use, and can be tried for copyright infringement.

Expect to see this error often if the TPP passes.
 Article QQ.H.8. - Trade Secrets

This article mandates the parties to implement criminal penalties for unauthorized willful access to trade secrets held in a computer system.This is bad news for journalists, and even people.

What this means is that if you report on unreleased game information, you can be criminally charged.

Article QQ.G.10

This is a big one and involves DRM. Essentially it puts a full ban on getting around DRM and does not differentiate between DRM circumvention from actual infringement.

What does this mean for us? It means ROMs would become illegal. Finding out that a game contains on-disc DLC would become illegal. Modding a game would become illegal. If this bill passes and you mod a game, you can be tried for copyright infringement.

There are several other articles that will affect consumers negatively and you can read them here. YouTube user Tarmack also explains the bill in a way only someone "with his fingers in the pie" can.

Can it be stopped?

So what can we do to prevent this?

Make some noise! Write to your government representatives and tell them to vote no on Fast Track trade authority. Tell them what a terrible idea this is, and how your rights as a consumer are about to go down the drain.

Canadians, Americans, and Australians will find these activist groups already fighting the TPP.



With enough concern, we can stop this disaster from becoming a reality.

Published Oct. 19th 2015
View Comments
  • Autumn Fish
    Featured Correspondent
    I just watched Jim Sterling's video on the TPP, as well, and I gotta say this whole shindig really makes me worried. Nothing good could possibly come out of this.
  • Ashley SSS
    Associate Editor
    There is so much to the TPP people should be worried or outraged over and they're simply not. I don't get it.
  • Robert Sgotto
    It's pretty crazy, I first read about this last week on reddit and haven't seen much since. Someone once said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," and it's laws and bills like this that we really need to pay attention to.
  • Ashley SSS
    Associate Editor
    The internet communities I'm a part of have been working against it for a while now, but it seems to be an inevitability at this point. With so much money in so many pockets to make it happen, I can't see any way out.

    Wikileaks got their hands on and released the IP portion of the TPP a bit ago. If you want to make more people on the internet aware of how bad the TPP is, just have them take a look at this 61 page portion that is essentially SOPA, the hugely anti-consumer bill they tried to pass here in the US several times and failed https://wikileaks.org/tpp-ip3/WikiLeaks-TPP-IP-Chapter/WikiLeaks-TPP-IP-Chapter-051015.pdf?t=dXNlcmlkPTU0MjUyMDgxLGVtYWlsaWQ9MTAwMzA= The TPP will take the nightmares from SOPA and instill them internationally, instead of just here in the US.

    Like there's a lot of the TPP that is really dubious and I don't understand why more people, especially people who use the internet past social media, are ignoring it.

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