Letter to Supporters: Once you're trapped, there's no going back
A group of 600 lobbyist “advisors” and un-elected trade representatives are scheming behind closed doors to decide whether you could get fined for your Internet use. Instead of debating this openly, they’re meeting secretly to craft an Internet trap through an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We can stop them but we need you to tell your government to stop the Internet trap now.
Imagine a world where you could be dragged to court and receive a large fine for simply clicking on the wrong link, where service providers would hand over information about your online activities without privacy safeguards, and where online content could be removed by big media conglomerates at will.
This scenario could become a reality before we know it. In just a few days1, a group of 600 lobbyist “advisors” and un-elected trade representatives are scheming behind closed doors 2 to decide how the Internet will be governed, including whether you could get fined for your Internet use.3 Instead of debating this openly, they’re meeting secretly to craft an Internet trap through an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).4 Our government just signed Canada onto this arrangement, without our consent.5
In short, it appears that it will be big-media lobbyists—not citizens—who get to decide whether Canadians will be fined as suspected copyright criminals. Please help us raise a loud call before it’s too late. Visit: http://stopthetrap.net
We know from leaked documents6 that industry lobbyists intend to blanket these new restrictions and laws around the world, without us having any say in the matter. How can they do this?
Instead of an open, public process, they’ll use international tribunals to go around domestic judicial systems.7 And once the trap is set, there’s no going back. That's why OpenMedia.ca and SumOfUs are launching this campaign today.
Here are the details—the TPP’s Internet trap would:
- Criminalize some of your everyday use of the Internet,8
- Force service providers to collect and hand over your private data without privacy safeguards9, and
- Give media conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use, remove online content—including entire websites—and even terminate your access to the Internet.10
We deserve to know what will be blocked, and what we and our families will be fined for. If enough of us speak out now, we can prevent the Canadian government from slow-walking us into an Internet trap. Make your voice heard today.
For the possibilities of an open Internet,
Steve, Shea, Lindsey, and Reilly—your OpenMedia team
P.S. We’ve been through a lot together. Industry and government bureaucracies have tried to make Canada’s Internet more costly, controlled, and surveilled. We fought back together and successfully held the line. Now some of those same bureaucracies are going around our democratic processes to impose an Internet trap through this extreme and secretive trade agreement. Let’s take the next step to safeguard the open and affordable Internet together now.
 The next round of TPP negotiations will take place between July 2nd and July 9th 2012. The meetings remain controversially secretive without meaningful public participation while, according to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, industry lobbyists from Big Media entities like Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America are “made privy to details of the agreement”.
 The TPP suffers from a lack of transparency, public participation, and democratic accountability. In this letter, a number of U.S. civil society organizations detail and decry the opacity of the process.
 See the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s analysis to learn more about the ways the TPP increases the threat of litigation from Big Media. Under the TPP, Big Media could come after you in court even “without the need for a formal complaint by a private party or right holder”.
 On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 Public interest groups have obtained the February 2011 draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. In it, we can see that the TPP would drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media’s Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.
 The recently leaked investment chapter of the TPP reveals that the TPP would establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt domestic courts and laws, directly sue governments before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges.
[9,10] See infojustics.org’s list of the TPP’s effects on the intellectual property law in Canada and Mexico for more information on penalties, privacy implications, and also Public Knowledge: What’s actually in the TPP?