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