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Secretive trade agreement could mean big fines for Canadian Internet users, says new coalition

Canadians kick off international coalition to fight new Internet restrictions proposed in TPP trade agreement

OpenMedia.ca launched a campaign today, supported a by a group of organizations, to stand against the new Internet restrictions, including new content fines, that Internet users will be subject to through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Tuesday that Canada would be joining the TPP negotiations. The next round will take place behind closed doors in San Diego beginning Monday, July 2. According to a leaked version of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights chapter, the TPP would:

  1. Criminalize some everyday uses of the Internet,

  2. Force service providers to collect and hand over your private data without privacy safeguards, and

  3. Give media conglomerates more power to send you fines in the mail, remove online content—including entire websites—and even terminate your access to the Internet.

Pro-Internet organization OpenMedia has joined forces with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge (U.S. digital rights groups), the Council of Canadians (Canada’s largest citizens’ organization), and SumOfUs.org (a global consumer advocacy group), in addition to the software company Tucows and the Chilean public interest group ONG Derechos Digitales.

The coalition is calling the TPP an “Internet trap,” and argues that its restrictive copyright measures, and the secretive way they are being developed, are undemocratic. Find the campaign page here: http://StopTheTrap.net

OpenMedia Executive Director Steve Anderson asks, “Why are a group of lobbyists and unelected trade representatives deciding how citizens around the world ­– including Canadians – can use their Internet? Will Prime Minister Harper tell us what he’s signing us up for in these back room deals?”

According to Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Executive Director and Founder of SumOfUs.org, “SumOfUs.org members are joining the fight against the TPP, a treaty being negotiated in secret by corporate lobbyists that would  give corporations more power than they've ever had in history. This destructive trade deal would censor the internet and create a regulatory race-to-the-bottom, ultimately resulting in windfall profits for multinational corporations at our expense. If this treaty becomes law, ordinary people like us would have little legal recourse to protect our rights against greedy multinationals.”

Carolina Rossini, International Intellectual Property Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says: “The IP Chapter proposed by the U.S. for the TPP negotiations does not represent a unified view, and goes far beyond the IP standards that countries have agreed upon in multilateral and more transparent fora. We cannot allow such IP-maximalist movements to restrict our most fundamental rights and freedoms and create barriers to innovation.”

Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians, adds, “The demeaning terms of Canada’s entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks mean that Ottawa won’t even be able to change parts of the deal that are finished when they make it to the table in December. We can’t let Harper sign a blank cheque to make copyright and other regulatory changes that are likely to hurt Canada’s social and economic interests.”

Canadians can take action against the TPP’s restrictions at http://StopTheTrap.net.

About OpenMedia.ca
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.