Obama quits on Syria, TPP Text is All That We Feared

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The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared

Today’s release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.

Since we now have the agreed text, we’ll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published by Wikileaks and others.

Binding Rules for Rightsholders, Soft Guidelines for Users

If you skim the chapter without knowing what you’re looking for, it may come across as being quite balanced, including references to the need for IP rules to further the “mutual advantage of producers and users” (QQ.A.X), to “facilitate the diffusion of information” (QQ.A.Z), and recognizing the “importance of a rich and accessible public domain” (QQ.B.x). But that’s how it’s meant to look, and taking this at face value would be a big mistake.

If you dig deeper, you’ll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever.

Another, and perhaps the most egregious example of this bias against users is the important provision on limitations and exceptions to copyright (QQ.G.17). In a pitifully ineffectual nod towards users, it suggests that parties “endeavor to achieve an appropriate balance in its copyright and related rights system,” but imposes no hard obligations for them to do so, nor even offers U.S.-style fair use as a template that they might follow. The fact that even big tech was ultimately unable to move the USTR on this issue speaks volumes about how utterly captured by Hollywood the agency is.

Expansion of Copyright Terms

Perhaps the biggest overall defeat for users is the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years (QQ.G.6), despite a broad consensus that this makes no economic sense, and simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from users to large, rights-holding corporations. The extension will make life more difficult for libraries and archives, for journalists, and for ordinary users seeking to make use of works from long-dead authors that rightfully belong in the public domain.

Could it have been worse? In fact, yes it could have; we were spared a 120 year copyright term for corporate works, as earlier drafts foreshadowed. In the end corporate works are to be protected for 70 years after publication or performance, or if they are not published within 25 years after they were created, for 70 years after their creation. This could make a big difference in practice. It means that the film Casablanca, probably protected in the United States until 2038, would already be in the public domain in other TPP countries, even under a life plus 70 year copyright term.

New to the latest text are the transition periods in Section J, which allow some countries a longer period for complying with some of their obligations, including copyright term. For example, Malaysia has been allowed two years to extend its copyright term to life plus 70 years. For Vietnam, the transition period is five years. New Zealand is the country receiving the most “generous” allowance; its term will increase to life plus 60 years initially, rising to the full life plus 70 year term within eight years. Yet Canada, on the other hand, has not been given any transition period at all.

Much more to read found HERE.

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Obama to throw up hands and quit on Syria

So three years, billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of shattered lives later the Obama administration is contemplating, according to Bloomberg, a “retreat” on Syria.

A week into Russia’s military intervention in Syria, some top White House advisers and National Security Council staffers are trying to persuade President Barack Obama to scale back U.S. engagement there, to focus on lessening the violence and, for now, to give up on toppling the Syrian regime.

In addition, administration officials and Middle East experts on both sides of the debate tell us, Obama’s foreign-policy team no longer doubts that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to prop up President Bashar al-Assad and primarily target opposition groups other than the Islamic State, including those trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The war in Syria, the deaths there, the refugee crisis, and the destruction of American alliances by the Russian intervention in Syria are all directly the fault of Barack Obama and his national security team, which included the aged harpy, Hillary Clinton. This war started because the Obama administration was intent on proving that George Bush was an idiot. They believed they had developed a model for overthrowing random despots at virtually no cost to the United States. They were wrong as only a bunch of Ivy League academics with no real-world experience in anything more complicated than faculty lounge politics can be. In a just world, they would be hauled before the same court that tried Serbia war criminals, who, in all fairness, did a helluva lot less destruction.

Apparently, the Obama administration actually thought that Russia would react to one of their client states being toppled and a hostile government being installed in the same way that the US has under Obama: with supine indifference. Russia understands, as we no longer do, that the world looks at how your client states prosper for an indication of what kind of ally you will be. While Obama was complicit in overthrowing Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Putin is pulling out all the stops, even to the extent of attacking US trained rebels, in order to save Assad. That this comes as a surprise to the White House indicates the near fatal level of naivete that has taken root there.

The new strategy is to “de-escalate.”

Read all of this HERE.

Red Dawn

Red Dawn showing the use of a gun registry for confiscation during occupation, it’s not just about a tyrannical domestic government. 1984

More Found HERE.



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