A trade agreement Canada intends to sign will have “far-reaching implications for individual rights and civil liberties,” WikiLeaks says.

The group known around the world for publishing state secrets has released a draft chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal being negotiated under what it calls an “unprecedented level of secrecy.” Critics say the agreement favours corporate interests over consumers.

The leaked intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement proposes sweeping reforms including to pharmaceuticals, publishers, patents, copyrights, trademarks, civil liberties and liability of internet service providers.

“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, said in a press release.

“If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Canada joined TPP negotiations along with Mexico last October. It also includes other Pacific Rim countries Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam but not China. The member countries together represent a market of 792 million people and a GDP of $27.5 trillion, or 40 per cent of the world economy.

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  • 1. It Could Criminalize Small-Scale Downloading

  • 1. It Could Criminalize Small-Scale Downloading

    Canada’s new copyright laws, passed last fall, cap the liability for unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material at $5,000, so long as the downloading is not for commercial purposes. But the TPP could force Canada to institute criminal penalties even for small-time downloaders, according to a number of consumer advocacy groups. Canada’s top negotiator at the talks last fall <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/13/trans-pacific-partnership-tpp-canada_n_2294153.html" target="_hplink">refused to say whether Canada would fight for its new copyright laws in the TPP deal</a>.

  • 2. It Could Reduce Or End CanCon Rules

  • 2. It Could Reduce Or End CanCon Rules

    An umbrella group of U.S. media companies has been<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/04/trans-pacific-partnership-cancon_n_1940312.html" target="_hplink"> lobbying the U.S. Trade Representative to pressure Canada into repealing Canadian content rules as part of the TPP</a>. That has raised significant concerns among music and film and TV groups that Canada’s cultural industries could be threatened by the TPP.

  • 3. ISPs Could Become Internet Cops

  • 3. ISPs Could Become Internet Cops

    Article 16 of a leaked 2011 draft of the TPP <a href="http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/tpp-10feb2011-us-text-ipr-chapter.pdf" target="_hplink">mandates that countries create “legal incentives” for internet service providers to do their own copyright policing online</a>. That is interpreted by many to mean that ISPs could be held legally accountable if their subscribers download illegally. Consumer groups fear this will mean expanded monitoring of web users’ online habits, and the possibility of three-strikes-and-you’re-out rules that would cut off internet services to subscribers alleged to have engaged in unauthorized downloading.

  • 4. Critics Call The TPP A Corporate Giveaway

  • 4. Critics Call The TPP A Corporate Giveaway

    U.S. House Rep. Alan Grayson, who rose to fame four years ago with his quip that the Republican health care plan amounts to hoping you “die quickly,” was recently allowed to see a draft copy of the TPP. While he’s been banned from divulging any details, the populist Florida Democrat described it in a recent blog post as an agreement that “<a href="http://alangraysonemails.tumblr.com/post/53325968066/i-saw-the-secret-trade-deal" target="_hplink">hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests</a>.” He told HuffPost: "Having seen what I've seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty … And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that's fair to say from what I've seen so far. But I'm not allowed to tell you why!" He added on his blog: “There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.”

  • 5. It’s Not Secret To Lobbyists

  • 5. It’s Not Secret To Lobbyists

    While politicians like Grayson have to keep quiet in public about what they’ve seen, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/30/trans-pacific-partnership_n_2218417.html" target="_hplink">a “consultation group” likely composed of lobbyists has had access to the talks through the Canadian delegation</a>, critics say. OpenMedia reported it received a non-disclosure agreement the group said was mistakenly sent to them, and was apparently meant for industry insiders. “It appears ... the Canadian government got confused about which contacts were industry lobbyists and which are from public interest groups,” OpenMedia stated. The Harper government had previously denied that such a group existed.

  • 6. It Could Mean Foreign Telecom Coming To Canada

  • 6. It Could Mean Foreign Telecom Coming To Canada

    This might not be something the Harper government wants to keep from the public, which is largely unhappy with the state of telecom in Canada, but it could be something it’s trying to keep out of sight of Canada’s telecom companies. The U.S. Trade Representative recently criticized Canada’s protectionist telecom policies, along with policies in a number of other countries negotiating the TPP. That has led some to conclude Canada will come under pressure to relax restrictions on foreign ownership of telecoms. The Tories have previously loosened foreign ownership rules in order to spur competition in the wireless market, so there is a good chance they will be receptive to further liberalization of telecom regulations.

  • 7. Corporations Could Control Your Browsing History

  • 7. Corporations Could Control Your Browsing History

    One of the clauses being debated in the TPP would allow corporations to decide themselves<a href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/07/temporary-copies-another-way-tpp-profoundly-disconnected" target="_hplink"> whether internet browsers can make “temporary copies” to your computer’s history folder</a>. Temporary copies are a basic element of how web browsers work (it's what they use to remember your browsing history). Critics say allowing companies to control what is and isn’t copied could harm the ability of search engines to become more sophisticated. It could also have a chilling effect on tech innovation, as it could halt the development of apps that, for example, use a picture of a book cover or a part of a song to identify that book or song.

  • 8. It Could Change Your Grocery Bill

  • 8. It Could Change Your Grocery Bill

    Canada was reportedly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sara-zborovski/tradenegotiations_b_1876833.html" target="_hplink">kept out of TPP negotiations at first because of its supply management system</a>, which controls the price of some basic grocery goods like milk and eggs. Canada’s acceptance into the talks has been interpreted by some as meaning the Tories are willing to put the supply management system on the table. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/31/wheat-board-monopoly-over-date_n_1722357.html" target="_hplink">The Tories have already ended the Wheat Board’s monopoly</a>.) Many Canadians would like to see the end of the “milk and eggs monopoly,” and supporters of change say freeing up the market would result in lower prices. Supporters of the current system say there is no reason to believe prices will go down without supply management, and it will make business less stable for farmers.

  • 9. Copyright Terms Will Likely Be Expanded

  • 9. Copyright Terms Will Likely Be Expanded

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports the TPP would amount to <a href="https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp" target="_hplink">the most significant expansion of copyright terms in two decades</a>. The group says the TPP proposes to extend copyright on works created by individuals to life plus 70 years. (In Canada, it’s currently life plus 50 years). It would also expand copyright owned by corporations to 95 or 120 years after creation, depending on which proposal is accepted. This would ensure that Mickey Mouse (born 1928) would continue to be owned by Disney and would not become part of the public domain. Critics of lengthy copyright terms argue they are bad for economic development because they restrict innovation.

  • 10. You May Have To Do Less Copying And Quoting

  • 10. You May Have To Do Less Copying And Quoting

    The U.S. and Australia apparently want tougher rules for “fair use” exceptions from copyright law. Currently, people are allowed to copy parts of textbooks for educational purposes, or quote copyrighted materials in news articles. But <a href="https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp" target="_hplink">a proposed “three-step test” for fair use</a> could make it considerably harder for people to use parts of copyrighted materials in these ways.

  • 11. Even Politicians Are Fed Up With The Secrecy

    Pictured: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

  • 11. Even Politicians Are Fed Up With The Secrecy

    Some U.S. politicians have been pressuring President Barack Obama to open up the TPP talks to greater public scrutiny. The latest is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/elizabeth-warren-free-trade-letter_n_3431118.html" target="_hplink">sent a letter to the Obama administration earlier this month asking the U.S. Trade Representative to make a copy of the negotiating text available to the public</a>. “<a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/EWFromanLetter.pdf" target="_hplink">Without transparency, the benefit from robust democratic participation — an open marketplace of ideas — is considerably reduced</a>,” she wrote.

Internet freedom organizations, including Canada’s Openmedia.ca, have criticized the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, saying proposals in the agreement would restrict innovation and force internet service providers to police copyright.

WikiLeaks says provisions in the deal would create “supranational” courts that could override member nations’ judicial systems. The courts “have no human rights safeguards,” WikiLeaks stated.

The document contains provisions as well as proposed amendments and opposition from the various countries involved. Canada, for the most part, appears to stand in the majority view on many topics and against many U.S. demands, which were often supported by Australia or Japan.

Canada appears to take a more liberal stance on many issues than its southern neighbour. It supported the objectives of the agreement, which the U.S. and Japan opposed, that include maintaining “a balance between the rights of intellectual property holders and the legitimate interests of users and the community in subject matter protected by intellectual property.”

"From a Canadian perspective, there is good news and bad news,” Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, wrote on his blog Wednesday morning.

“The good news is that Canada is pushing back against many U.S. demands by promoting provisions that are consistent with current Canadian law … The bad news is that the U.S. — often joined by Australia — is demanding that Canada roll back its recent copyright reform legislation with a long list of draconian proposals.”

Canada also proposed that the chapter’s provisions be compatible with other multilateral treaties including the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization, “especially with regards to measures aimed at protecting public health and protecting equal access to knowledge and food.” Mexico and the U.S. objected.

Meanwhile, the U.S and Australia added an amendment that would force each country to also sign onto 10 different international treaties by the time they enter the TPP. Canada and nine other nations opposed.

WikiLeaks says many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions in the agreement include stringent mechanisms proposed in the controversial U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Enforcement measures for policing rights proposed in the document include supranational tribunals, to which national courts would be expected to defer.

The leak of what is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the highly secretive TPP comes ahead of the next round of negotiations in Salt Lake City, Utah from Nov. 19 to 24.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was a proposed U.S. law that would have allowed the government to create a “blacklist” of copyright-infringing websites it could then block. Critics complained the government would be allowed to censor the internet without judicial oversight.

ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a stalled international pact that would greatly increase the power of international bodies to enforce copyright laws. Critics feared the pact would force governments to pass laws that would ban internet users from the web if they were found to be infringing copyright.