Hadyn Green was at the Brunei TPPA talks in August for Consumer NZ and a couple of other groups. His post on Public Address today is an excellent run through many of the points that bother me. For instance this section on intellectual property
The IP issues
New Zealand is a small market at the end of the line. We understand this because we see it every day, reflected in the prices we pay for imported goods and the length of time it takes for media to reach us. We are a long way from pretty much everywhere else in the world and other countries in the TPP face similar boundaries, if not of distance, then of language.
There is nothing in the TPP (from the leaked document or the small amounts of information from the negotiators) that would see those prices drop. The only thing that would happen is media companies would develop long-standing monopolies that would drive prices up.
The loss of parallel importing would naturally be a huge hit, with libraries affected more than other institutions. The lack of competition in the market would keep prices high but beyond this there are further barriers to New Zealanders and consumers from other TPP countries.
TPMs, Technological Protection Measures, are placed on various media to control who is able to consume that media and in what way. This could be region locks on DVDs or online videos or it could be copying protection to stop piracy.
Under current New Zealand laws circumventing TPMs is legal: (emphasis mine).
“Devices that control the mere access to copyright material are not protected… Consumers will continue to be able to circumvent a TPM to undertake a permitted act because there is no prohibition on possessing and using a circumvention device. Consumers are not, however, able to make, sell or distribute a circumvention device if they know or have reason to believe that the device will be used to infringe copyright.”
Permitted acts are everything except breaking the copyright laws. So if you want to just watch something, like a TV show, then you are allowed to get around any TPM that restricts your access to that show. So you can use a service like Unblock-US or Global Mode and access Netflix to get TV shows completely legally (you may be breaching Netflix terms of service, but they’ll probably just be happy to be getting more money).
The TPP would make it illegal to circumvent TPMs. That means you could be charged for watching legally purchased media in the same way as if it had been pirated. So your multi-zone DVD player would now be illegal. So would any clever ways that you access the US iTunes store or Netflix.
Think about it. What our negotiators appear to be getting us into bed with is an agreement to reduce free trade below what we already have. Arrgghh!
To all intents this will make it illegal to avoid frigging Sky with their monopoly gridlock on much of the interesting content, their insistence on providing crappy content that I don’t want to watch, and their exorbitant prices for packages that I neither want nor need.
I don’t want any sport, repeats of local TV, cartoons, crappy B and C grade movies etc etc. Movies I go to the theatres or video store for. I want to watch whole TV series episodes back to back without *any* advertisements including ones for Sky. At present that means I buy DVD’s and Bluray sets of the entire ER, Stargate, or whatever takes my fancy. These are a fraction of the price that they were 10 years ago because of paradell importing that reduce the costs of local monopoly distribution deals. Basically there is a world price for entertainment IP, so sell it for that.
Incidentally, the only channels that I’m interested from Sky are soho, maybe rialto, and a couple of news channels – but they won’t sell me those. I have to buy a package of crap that I don’t want, then buy most of these as add-ons.
Moreover I want them over the internet in HD. Quickflix can do that for a larger catalogue of movies for $10/mo, why can’t Sky?
The TPPA appears to be more about the restriction of trade than the freedom of trade. So why are we getting involved in this fiasco again?