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The TPPA removes free trade

Written By: - Date published: 12:52 pm, October 9th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: ,

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?


20 comments on “The TPPA removes free trade”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    So why are we getting involved in this fiasco again?

    So that the rich can get richer through artificial restrictions that up the price on the poor.

  2. Tracey 2

    Sky can but don’t because no one will stop them. Ever tried their customer service? It’s appalling as you expect from a company that knows you are trapped. You either pay or bugger off. They do everything to get you but once you are in… they don’t give a crap about your complaints. Like the rain interference disruption on a sunny day…

  3. Tracey 3

    “TPPA appears to be more about the restriction of trade than the freedom of trade”

    which is why it’s not called an FTA…perhaps they were inadvertently being honest?

  4. clifford wright 4

    Well!! All the monetarist morons are raving on about Adam Smith and free trade.
    He must be spinning in his grave faster than a jet engine!
    Those idiots have several things in common, no knowledge of history and a refusal to read the alleged sources of the very economic theory to support.
    I have read “The Wealth of Nations” and on page 6 in my edition Smith basically says that the expansion of trade can only come from exploiting new lands and inventing new technologies.

    For their information 1-There ain’t no new lands (except in space) and they are doing their level best to kill any space programmes.
    2- They violently distrust new technologies (except where they can be used to control the population)
    since they are almost exclusively orientated to exploiting the current situation and are generally
    technically and scientifically ignorant.

    So- Where’s this mythical wealth coming from?

    This latest effort is indeed a perfect example of a “restraint of trade”, if I remember rightly that is actually forbidden in the US constitution.

  5. Doug 5

    So let me get this right. it will be illegal to buy a region 1 or 2 DVD from Amazon even though you are presumably paying to the copyright holder for the use of it?

  6. bad12 6

    ”There will never be immediate access for New Zealand products into every one of these markets instantly…there will be a realistic time-frame. Maybe it’s 10 years, maybe its a bit less, a bit more.” unquote Slippery the Prime Minister,

    What the PM is talking about is unfettered access to US and Japanese markets for New Zealand goods, 10 years or longer,

    Really, and i have to ask, obviously not in the expectation of an answer, just what immediate access for New Zealand is being given away to the US, Japan and anyone else for the priviledge of immediate access to New Zealand markets,

    The only thing we can expect from such a ‘sell out’ is more job losses in the Cities and more coin in the pockets of the Dairy industry,

    Enough extra taxation accruing to the Government perhaps to pay another 20,000 welfare benefits???…

  7. tracey 7

    even wayne mapp concedes it will be many decades before teade tarifds in the us and japan are at zero.

    the pm continues to lie on this topic, just as he did with the ratification nonsense. he knows people will think that means parliament decides. parliament doesnt decide and key knows it.

    its the very fact that the people cant change the treaty that makes this one so secret and far more than an fta. corporate usa has found a way to screw us all without our permission.

  8. tracey 8


    we dumped almost all our tarifds years ago. we dropped our trousers and bent over. all tgats left is for us to drool at the usa and japanese delegations and hope they want to roger us soon.

    apparently prosperity will flow our way but it wont be reflected in real wage increases for most kiwis.

    • bad12 8.1

      What Slippery the Prime Minister is essentially saying is that in the case of Japan and the US there is NO guarantee whatsoever that they will remove barriers to trade,

      The ”10 years, maybe less, maybe more” of the PM’s quoted comments on the TPPA simply say that there will be NO fixed time-frame for other countries to lower their trade barriers and with all due respect to everyone’s sensibilities i still find myself saying ”Why the fuck then are New Zealand discussing anything with these people”,

      Off hand there is only one logical answer to the question so posed, that being that the Slippery little Shyster, the International Trader, who has turned the Office of New Zealand Prime Minister into little more than the tin shack found on any used car sales-lot has SOLD US OUT, lock, stock, and barrells…

  9. tricldrown 9

    No countries as powerful as the US or Japan are not going to reduce farm subsidies .
    The right wing of these countries rely on the rural vote to stay in power.

  10. tricldrown 10

    No countries as powerful as the US or Japan are not going to reduce farm subsidies .
    The right wing of these countries rely on the rural vote to stay in power.

  11. Sable 11

    I’m twenty years from retiring and I’m pretty sure I wont be retiring to NZ or Australia. Bali is starting to sound pretty appealing, that’s assuming they don’t decide to kill me as soon as they see the NZ passport.

    These governments can stick their pro US arse kissing…

  12. Tracey 12


    which is precicely why the tppa has to stay secret… so key can mislead with no danger of contradiction until he has his knighthood and his bure on the beach

  13. xtasy 13

    All the television MSM had to report on that was one John (Hollow) Key musing about how he could butt lick the 4th richest prick on earth, the Sultan of Brunei, and how that man can afford so much gold in his mansions and hundreds or thousands of luxury cars, while some of his subordinates live in bamboo huts on the foreshore.

    So that was on the news of TV3 and TVNZ’s One tonight, thank you MSM, for informing us on nothing relevant, and drumming nonsensical bullshit into the minds of the wider populace.

    I am sure the pissing trickle down works well in Brunei, as Key tried to justify with their wealth, the reason why we should drill and exploit oil and gas here, to do the same. Trickle down according to Key must be like showering in his piss trickling from his Parnell mansion at night.

    Welcome to Aotearoa 2013!

    • xtasy 13.1


      While the Sultan of Brunei was some decades ago the richest “prick” on the globe, he is now ranked a bit lower, but of course still as one of the richest individuals there are.




      The Sultan has one of the world’s largest and most expensive car collections, numbering in the thousands. Some brands, including Bentley, Ferrari, Bugatti, and Rolls-Royce, make new cars exclusively for the Sultan that are not sold or advertised to the public.

      The Sultan’s involvement in sports includes playing polo, golf, and badminton. He also enjoys race car driving, piloting helicopters, and aircraft. On international trips, he pilots his own Boeing 747-400.[38] He is also very fond of gold and has a Rolls-Royce coated with 24k gold.

      He often enjoys fine cigars, and has a notable favorite, the Gurkha Centurian, that was commissioned specifically for him.[39]

      His 1,800-room palace, the Istana Nurul Iman, is considered the world’s largest private residence.”

      Also read:

      It seems John Key just loves such social circles, made for him to “grease” and “slime”.

  14. juthi34 14

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