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CRAVEN’S NOTES: It’s Mickey Mouse’s world

Craven Lovelace
NOTES
Free Press Music Columnist
Craven Lovelace
Staff Photo |

Mickey Mouse wants lawmakers to force your internet providers to watch what you’re posting online.

The Walt Disney Company, and its motion picture studio and record label cohorts, have tried now nearly a half-dozen times. They tried with SOPA. They tried with PIPA. They tried with CISPA. They’ve tried — and succeeded somewhat — with the CAS (Copyright Alert System), the new “six-strike” system being voluntarily adopted by some of the biggest ISPs in the nation (although the CAS will only monitor peer-to-peer traffic, and doesn’t utilize so-called “deep packet inspection,” which peers into the data of the internet traffic which passes through these providers’ networks — the actual “stuff” you’re sending).

But Disney and its ilk have never made such a blatant grab for invasive power as they are now pushing forward in the secret, transnational trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, being hammered out between 12 nations behind closed doors (with the “assistance” of more than 600 corporate representatives).



If the TPP, portions of which were released recently by Wikileaks, is allowed to stand, the privacy of your internet connections will truly be a thing of the past. “But I don’t pirate movies or music,” you say. “Why should I care about the rigorous surveillance and enforcement of copyrights that would come with the TPP?”

Well, for one thing, heretofore innocent activities would be criminalized. It’s expected that parody and Fair Use rights would be rolled back, and even “cosplay” could be criminalized. More importantly, even under our current law, major corporations have shown themselves willing to engage in criminal activity in enforcing existing intellectual property laws.



Take Warner Bros., for instance. The corporation, which owns several book publishers, a vast film and television library, DC Comics, many of the biggest record labels, one of the oldest and largest music publishing companies, and more, recently admitted in court that it had issued dozens of false “DMCA takedowns,” legal complaints which resulted in literally hundreds of works to which the corporation bears no right being taken off the internet. Among the properties deleted by the company was open source software which they did not own and which they had no right to obstruct. But because there are currently few limp penalties for lodging false DMCA complaints, the corporation is able to act with impunity, trampling the rights of law-abiding citizens in their zealous over-protection of their copyrights.

Were the TPP to be enacted, this sort of behavior would only be redoubled by deep-pocketed multinational corporations with similar “shoot first, don’t apologize later” policies.

The dangers of the TPP’s intellectual property provisions go far beyond copyright. Many health activists are seriously worried the agreement would limit the ability to distribute “generic” versions of medicines, diminishing access to quality health care for low-income populations around the world.

And, adding insult to injury, all of these intellectual property rights problems would become almost permanently ingrained in our legal system. Future copyright or patent reform would be made nigh impossible by the agreement — which, remember, is being drafted by a secret group of trade representatives and corporate shills for companies like Warner Bros., Paramount and Disney. If the TPP really happens, we will have finally become a government of Mickey Mouse, by Mickey Mouse and for Mickey Mouse.

Notes is made possible by Tina Harbin of Real Estate West, the premier resource for all real estate information and services on the Western Slope.


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