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TPP Change Means Drastically Higher Penalties For Copyright "Infringement" (eff.org) 192

Mephistophocles writes: A sneaky and underhanded change to the TPP, spotted by the EFF and summarized here by Jeremy Malcolm, means much stiffer penalties for copyright "infringement:"

Under the TPP's original terms, a country could limit the exposure of the owner of such a website to prison time, or to the seizure and possible destruction of their server, on the grounds that by definition their infringement didn't cause any lost sales to the copyright owner. (Note that they would be liable for civil damages to the copyright owner in any case.)

Although a country still has the option to limit criminal penalties to "commercial scale" infringements (which is so broadly defined that it could catch even a non-profit subtitles website), the new language compels TPP signatories to make these penalties available even where those infringements cause absolutely no impact on the copyright holder's ability to profit from the work. This is a massive extension of the provision's already expansive scope.

Perhaps most concerning, however, is the fact that this means those stiff penalties apply even when there is no harm or threat of harm to the copyright owner caused by the infringement.

Think about it. What sense is there in sending someone to jail for an infringement that causes no harm to the copyright holder, whether they complain about it or not? And why should it matter that the copyright holder complains about something that didn't affect them anyway? Surely, if the copyright holder suffers no harm, then a country ought to be able to suspend the whole gamut of criminal procedures and penalties, not only the availability of ex officio action.

This is no error -- or if it is, then the parties were only in error in agreeing to a proposal that was complete nonsense to begin with.

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TPP Change Means Drastically Higher Penalties For Copyright "Infringement"

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  • Trust the jury ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:04PM (#51554287) Journal
    Good luck finding a jury that will send someone to jail when no harm has been done. Now everyone, please bone up on jury nullification.
    • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:06PM (#51554293)

      Good luck finding a jury that will send someone to jail when no harm has been done. Now everyone, please bone up on jury nullification.

      The jury doesn't send people to jail: they vote guilty or not guilty and the judge decides the sentence, expect possibly in death penalty cases. And, in the U.S. at least, the jury isn't allowed to be told what the possible sentence is.

      • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:33PM (#51554423)

        Get less time for shopping lifting the movies from Walmart.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:46PM (#51554473)

          Get less time for shopping lifting the movies from Walmart.

           
          Get less time for killing Michael Jackson, than for copying his music.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:13AM (#51556219) Homepage

          You get what this is all really about. Totally shutting down the internet except for a very few publishers under the threat of criminal penalties for any copyright infringement be it a single photo, a paragraph of text, a site layout. Basically the intent is to shut down the internet under threat of criminal prosecution for copyright infringement, only the big players left standing and everyone else wiped out. Never forget copyright infringement counts for a single photo or a single page of text or a ring tone or etc. etc. etc. The intent is to hand the internet back to main stream media, a straight up act of blatant corruption.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday February 22, 2016 @05:56AM (#51557049) Homepage

            Totally shutting down the internet except for a very few publishers under the threat of criminal penalties for any copyright infringement be it a single photo, a paragraph of text, a site layout.

            The big guys infringe copyright all the time. What they want is not to stop people doing it, but to get their cut. They see things like fan videos on YouTube as free promotion, they just feel that as well as the extra buzz it generates they should be able to tax it too, and block anything negative.

          • by Rob MacDonald ( 3394145 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:30AM (#51557551)
            Close. It's about force feeding you internet 2.0 and freedom 2.0. It's about the 1990s cable TV style of tiered internet where only the 3 media companies can be considered players, and good luck even ACCESSING any of their lower level competition, because it will have been wiped off the net by then. Once you have a stranglehold through copyright law, on the competition (the competition being any site helping create or deliver content) you have won. THEN you charge them into oblivion. What? You don't want to follow their rules and pay their price? Enjoy your jail sentence. Note that none of this will stop organized copyright criminals, but it sure as hell will give enough room to start throwing even modest pirates into jail... or better yet, and falling in line with the true intent of these clauses, convince them to pay settlements to stay out of court.
          • you will have difficulty finding any record company that has never knowingly committed copyright infringement. I wonder how they will feel about going to jail? Oh wait, this only covers people not corporations.
      • It's pretty common knowledge what the penalties are for various crimes, such as 1st and 2nd degree murder, etc - anyone who reads the news will know this, with all the shootings going on.

        A jury can be presented with several different possible verdicts, each with a different penalty, and pick the one they want - so in effect, the jury does decide to a great part what the penalty shall be.

        And all this (the arguments you threw up) are irrelevant to my point - juries know that it's a criminal trial; they know

        • It's pretty common knowledge what the penalties are for various crimes, such as 1st and 2nd degree murder, etc - anyone who reads the news will know this, with all the shootings going on.

          No, it's not.

          As another person already pointed out, penalties vary a lot from state to state, and even municipality to municipality in some cases, depending on the charge.

          A lot of people in this thread today seem to think there is some kind of universal criminal code in the United States, but it just isn't so. Most criminal laws -- including rape and murder -- are State matters, and not just the sentencing but the actual laws vary from state to state. Similar? Yes, in most cases. The same? No.

          There

          • As I pointed out, penalties for 1st and second degree murder, manslaughter, etc, are well known. These are major crimes. Lesser crimes, sure, not so much. But locals probably know what a speeding or parking fine looks like, and if they watch the news, they'll see what crooks get for various offenses, so they have an idea. Of course, if they live in a bubble world, that's their own doing.
        • ... with all the shootings going on.

          Shootings are at a 30 year low.

          • Anyone watching Law and Order, etc., knows about jury nullification. It's part of the culture now.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm pretty sure the entire point of the TPP is to put more power in the hands of corporations and circumvent sovereign nations legal systems. If a nation is a member of the treaty then the treaty agreement supersedes the will of their people and the laws of the land regardless of what new laws they pass through their local governing bodies. This is about taking power away from people so that corporations can do whatever they want with impunity. They can sue for monetary damages if they even suspect some law

        • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @08:42AM (#51557387)

          >I'm pretty sure the entire point of the TPP is to put more power in the hands of corporations and circumvent sovereign nations legal systems.

          It's a trade agreement, that's literally the definition of trade agreements. Perhaps there was a time when it wasn't, I doubt that because "lost golden ages" invariably turn out to be unsubstantiated nostalgia but it definitely has been the definition of a trade agreement for at least the full 36 years I've been on this planet. A trade agreement is essentially governments agreeing to modify their laws to make it easier for corporations to profit in the other country - which is a nice way of saying "get rid of any pesky legal protections that may reduce the foreign company's ability to exploit the citizens of another country the way they do at home".

      • by debrain ( 29228 )

        The jury doesn't send people to jail: they vote guilty or not guilty and the judge decides the sentence, expect possibly in death penalty cases. And, in the U.S. at least, the jury isn't allowed to be told what the possible sentence is.

        Close, but not *quite* it.

        Jurors are finders of fact. They determine what happened, "as a matter of fact.", so to speak.

        Judges are finders of law. They determine a conclusion, "as a matter of law."

        Judges can also be finders of law, where there are no jurors and in other situations.

        So a juror can find, as a matter of fact, that someone intended to and actually killed someone else, and thereby committed homicide. A judge can find that as a matter of law the act of homicide is a punishable offence, and comp

      • "The jury doesn't send people to jail: they vote guilty or not guilty and the judge decides the sentence, expect possibly in death penalty cases. And, in the U.S. at least, the jury isn't allowed to be told what the possible sentence is."

        But as juries catch on that disproportionate sentencing is taking place, they will vote to nullify.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      Good luck finding a jury that will send someone to jail when no harm has been done. Now everyone, please bone up on jury nullification.

      Won't the Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses change the way they process these cases?

      • You can't send someone to prison without a trial. Not even for a traffic ticket.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @08:40PM (#51554873)

          Tell that to Kevin Mitnick. He was held in prison for four and a half years without trial. He was in maximum security and solitary for some of that time. source [wikipedia.org]

        • The inmates at Gitmo would disagree with you.
    • Good luck finding a jury that will send someone to jail when no harm has been done. Now everyone, please bone up on jury nullification.

      Do civil suits have juries? Usually, they are just judges listening to arguments and if the law specifies the punishment, the judge's role is merely one of making sure proper procedure is followed versus determining a just settlement.

      • We're talking about the possibility of criminal penalties, you know, jail time ...
      • U.S. Constitution, Amendment 7:

        In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    • criminal cases have higher standards of proof then the cases there they just sue you.

      Also destruction of evidence by the cops will kill the case.

      • by readin ( 838620 )

        Also destruction of evidence by the cops will kill the case.

        if they get caught

        • if they get caught?

          so the defense can say that they failed to give use the evidence so we move for a mistrial with prejudice

          • Only for evidence presented in court.
            Destroying evidence against the accused would be something only a very dumb cop would do. Evidence in favor of the accused however, can easily be "lost" so it is never presented by either side. Even the best defense lawyers can't present a move based on evidence they never knew existed.

            In many cases evidence proving somebody's innocence is only uncovered when the actual guilty person is prosecuted for a completely different crime years later. At which point the convicted

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:12PM (#51554315) Homepage

    I suspect that this will not be enforced when $LargeMediaCorp rips off pictures from a small, independent photographer and private individuals (& other similar).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:13PM (#51554325)

    Virtually all "free trade" agreements have SCREWED the average American worker for the benefit of large companies. That's enough for me to hate the TPP.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:32PM (#51554413)

    ...What sense is there in sending someone to jail for an infringement that causes no harm to the copyright holder, whether they complain about it or not? And why should it matter that the copyright holder complains about something that didn't affect them anyway?...

    There is no sense to it.

    .
    But that doesn't matter because the TPP was written by industry interests and rubber-stamped by the governments involved.

  • by surd1618 ( 1878068 ) <tmoore1984@gmail.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:38PM (#51554439) Journal
    moo!
    Copyright Cow 2016
    No part of this may be reproduced, copied or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in any database or retrieval system, without the express prior written permission of the owners. No part of this shall be reproduced, modified, transmitted, distributed, disseminated, sold, published, sub-licenced, or have derivative work created or based upon it, without the express prior written permission of the owners. If you wish to reproduce any part of this, please contact the owners, providing full details.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The market for counterfeits is already well established outside of the United States and especially in Mexico where pirated movies and music are sold on physical media in outdoor markets for a dollar a pop. The entire business is also hooked into the corruption and lawlessness that plagues that country. The federal government in Mexico has much bigger fish to fry than worrying about counterfeit goods. They're fighting what amounts to a low intensity civil war against the drug cartels who also run the counte

    • Mexico had cartels before the drug were illegal, and will continue to have cartels even if drugs are legalized.

      Canada is on the border, just like Mexico, and it doesn't have the problems of a low intensity civil war. The problem is Mexico's, drugs are just an excuse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:59PM (#51554569)

    Governments commit us into treaties, and if we complain, they tell us their hands are tied: treaty. While the USA have a history of ignoring and violating treaties whenever the stipulations would hurt them, they will treat it like a law of nature if it pleases them. Take back your democratic right: No government can sell you into servitude!

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @08:20PM (#51554741)

    The terms of the TPA stipulate that when a deal is formally submitted to Congress, they must act within 90 legislative days. According to Politico, many expect Congress to vote on the bill either during the Summer of 2016 or in the lame-duck session after the 2016 elections.

    There is still time to stop this corrupt giveaway of power to corporate interests, and a political campaign season is an excellent time to do it.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      That's not how political campaigns work. They are not there to listen to your concerns, they are there to direct your concern to the things they think make them look good. TPP is an existential, vague threat that seems remote and intangible compared to the imaginary illegal immigrant who took your job etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Already, with only 14 comments to this summary, we have people supporting the idea that if no harm was done (the assumption being that all the investigation work is complete and no harm was found to have been committed), then you should be jailed because some copyright holder could have been harmed, despite evidence to the contrary.

    There is no sense to this. The very notion that you can be locked away in a cage without casing harm to anyone, goes against self-preservation. Nevertheless, we have people who w

    • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @09:33PM (#51555121)

      I suspect part of the problem in the US is people who say "I dont particularly like these new laws but I dont consider them important enough to vote for the other guy when the other guy disagrees with my views on other issues I consider more important" or in many cases "I dont particularly like these new laws but everyone who actually stands a chance of winning supports these laws therefore it doesn't matter who I vote for therefore I will vote for the guy who supports my positions on other issues"

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I think people rarely have the choice to vote for someone against these trade deals. Both sides of the establishment want this.
      • What other guy? There are only two political parties worth mentioning, and they both support TPP.

        • The biggest lie: voting third party is throwing your vote away. In reality, if the two parties see lots of votes going third party they will change their platform to get those votes.
    • The problem with treaties like the TPP is that they cover so much ground that even if the intention *were* good some minor apparatchik could sneak in a malicious provision. Those opposed to the treaty, which I'm sure has some or a few good provisions, could then be accused of wanting to throw out the baby along with the bath water, when their intention all along was to toss out the baby (our civil liberties).

    • by Rob MacDonald ( 3394145 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:38AM (#51557579)
      See the thing you are probably missing is that these same people are the ones foaming at the mouth, fighting to ensure the rich get their tax cuts. Why? Why fight for a group of people that you are not a member of? Because this nonsense brainwashing you've come to call "the american dream". I CAN'T make the rich pay their fair share, because I might someday be rich, and I sure as hell don't want anyone taking MY money. Well we're now in the world of youtube celebrities making more money than brain surgeons. I certainly can't do anything to impact that copyright owners ability to sue people and possibly put them in jail because.... I might be famous someday and I want to get paid cash money son. Anyone else siding with the TPP is a shill, plain and simple, cold as ice. There's no justification to supporting this insanity unless you are a moron that stands to gain (in your head) from it's insane clauses. Maybe they think it's ok to live in a world where an internet pirate can do more jail time than a rapist. I do not.
  • Fear. That great manipulator of the masses. Unless you are a faceless corporation, with deep pockets and legions of lawyers you run the risk of jail time for posting ANYTHING online under the terms of the TPP.
    Even if you aren't quoting a book, or a song verse, for all you know you could print, or repost, something that can be held up as in breach of copyright.
    It's no longer "copyright", it's a gagging order for the common man.
    It's a return to media being entirely in control of the few.

    • It's no longer "copyright", it's a gagging order for the common man.

      *This.* Call it paranoia if you want, but I think that's exactly where this is headed - the death of free speech/expression (and not just on the internet - anywhere; these rules don't just apply to the web). Of course not every case will (or can) be tried, but you don't want to be used as the deterrent example, and neither do I. So, shut up civilian, and let the government/mass media tell you what to think. Then don't you dare criticize it, or the penalties will be more than you care to deal with.

  • "Mitch McConnell has warned Obama not to send the trade deal to Capitol Hill for a vote before the presidential election." - http://www.startribune.com/sta... [startribune.com] It looks like Democrat in Republican clothing is once again trying to get Obama's will carried out without being held responsible for it by having the vote during a lame duck session.

    That's pretty much all I need to know about the TPP to oppose it.

    If it were genuinely a good bill he could pass it before the election and take credit for it.
  • by skovnymfe ( 1671822 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @04:22AM (#51556843)
    They can't justify sending people to jail for personal use of weed anymore, so copyright is the new "it". Jails gotta make money too, guys.
  • means much stiffer penalties for copyright "infringement:"

    I don't know why that's been put in quotes.

  • What are the penalties for crashing the global economy?

    Oh wait, I forgot, boat-loads of cash...

  • Thank you Obama! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:05AM (#51558143) Homepage

    And you too Hillary! Your corporate overlords are quite pleased with your efforts.

  • How about some effective laws that would allow us to capture and punish people in foreign nations for acts that are illegal in the US such as the telemarketers who hide in China or God knows where instead of just concentrating on copyright issues? We could also demand the ability to round up people outside the US who ship dangerous products into the US such as that awful Chinese drywall that destroyed so many homes.

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