We don’t normally post about trade deals or topics that are roiling the political sphere, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership has some very direct impacts on makers and the maker movement.
In addition to extending copyright terms around the world to match up with the extreme lengths of US Copyright Law, the TPP would also restrict ‘unlocking’ of electronics purchased by consumers, meaning makers around the world wouldn’t truly own their devices, and it would be much more difficult to reform our own laws in the future.
“The TPP almost completely mirrors US law criminalizing acts of getting around DRM (aka technological protection measures, which is what it’s called in international legal instruments). As we know from years of experiencing the adverse effects of DRM anti-circumvention rules, our system needs drastic reform here in the United States for a raft of reasons—including allowing users full access to content they have paid for, allowing archival of our digital heritage, and ensuring that users can repair their devices and keep them secure. It would be a huge mistake to lock us into policies that harm free speech, innovation, privacy, and access to knowledge.” – via Electronic Frontier Foundation
Under this treaty, makers would not be able to reuse old cell-phones, electronics, or a myriad of other activities recycling older electronics and hardware, without permission from the manufacturer or distributor. This is potentially a huge barrier to many of the values upheld by Makerism and for that which the Maker Movement stands. Please start with the following links to get started reading about the TPP and the issues regarding intellectual property:
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Featured Image Credit: “Digital handshake Square” by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. CC-BY-3.0 US