#CyberFLASH: TPP Threatens Canadians With Law Suits

a-woman-uses-her-computer-keyboard-to-type-while-surfing-the-internet-in-north-vCopyright activists say Canadians could face lawsuits, fines or worse for ripping the latest Justin Bieber CD or uploading an animated GIF of Jose Bautista’s bat-flip under a new trade deal, and they’re calling on the newly elected Justin Trudeau to act.

A major part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal finalized Oct. 5 involves harmonizing copyright laws in the 12 Pacific Rim countries — including Canada, the United States, Australia and Japan — that are signatories to the deal.

While the final text of the international trade agreement has yet to be published, the website Wikileaks released what it claims is the intellectual property chapter of the TPP on Oct. 9.

“Canadians don’t realize that the way that they use the Internet every day is going to change dramatically,” said Meghan Sali, a spokeswoman for the digital-rights advocacy group OpenMedia.

On the campaign trail, the prime minister-designate said he supports free trade and will thoroughly examine the TPP deal, while criticizing the secrecy under which the pact was negotiated.

Consumer organizations and outside groups were shut out of the negotiations, and the governments involved have released little information on the back and forth over what has been called the largest trade deal in history.

“We’re heartened to see him recognize that this process has been not just opaque but inaccessible and undemocratic,” said Sali.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an American advocacy group, has said the TPP threatens to override Canada’s copyright regime and promotes the interests of copyright owners and corporations at the expense of the public.

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