On March 25th, 2015, Wikileaks released a leaked chapter of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the multinational trade agreement that is being developed through a series of secret negotiations and aims to create a host of new restrictions. We here at the FSF have been fighting against TTIP for years, as it represents the threat of a world dominated by DRM, software patents, and perpetual copyright.
The latest leaked chapter on investments lays out changes to a system of supra-national courts known extra judicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals. For years, these courts have enabled large companies to sue democratically-elected governments over policies that these corporations oppose. For example, Big Tobacco has used the system to block or obstruct health laws intended to reduce smoking in countries around the world. [They'll soon be able to do this in Britain.]
While all of this is bad news in general, one provision in the leaked document presents a particular threat to software freedom. Holders of copyright, patent, and other proprietary interests are now included in the definition of "investor." Given the destructive nature of these provisions, the fact that proprietary developers could use them to interfere with local government protections of users' rights is cause for alarm.
Submitted to Full Circle Magazine by: Arnfried Walbrecht
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