This past month, citizens of the Internet took to the web to speak out against the destructive censorship measures in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), using our Internet voice tool. At OpenMedia we love the Internet, and we were so encouraged to see comments expressing concern pour in from all over the world -- we received over 19,000 submissions!
There's nothing better than when a dedicated community of individuals who are committed to authentic Internet freedom come together and speak out -- I mean, you really get it.
There were too many excellent comments submitted via our Face-to-Face tool to include everyone in a blog of this scope, so we've gone through the enormous pile to select just a few of the best ones. See below to learn more about the five biggest concerns you identified with the TPP:
Free expression under attack
"Free expression is the glory of the Internet and the right of the people. As an author, I have a website with extracts of my books marked copyright. That's enough. We display our work for people to see. If someone chooses to disregard this, they are outnumbered by the many who honour the system. No decisions of this magnitude should be negotiated secretly, nor should access be denied to the Internet. It is unreasonable to expect service providers to censor content and remove websites. Please listen to the people."
- June Birch, United Kingdom
"On the Internet, free expression, creativity, education, public discourse and debate thrive like never before. The courts of the United States are already acknowledging that patent reform is needed. Copyright laws are also in desperate need of reform. The big companies scream infringement when none is intended. Do not simply hand the Internet to multinational corporations and lawyers. The people of the world finally have a voice."
- Chris Snyder, Sweden
"Anytime there is a decision of this nature made without any public information and debate process it undermines all of our rights to have a voice."
- Michael Grandy, Canada
"The TPP allows corporations to contest valid, democratically-passed laws on any subject -- copyright, climate change, pollution, worker's rights, consumer's rights, interference with privacy -- in special kangaroo courts that do not answer to the democratically elected government of that country, and which do not rule based on the democratically passed laws of that nation. In effect, it sets corporate interests above democracy and national sovereignty."
- Naomi Rivkis, Germany
Too much influence from Big Media
"While I accept some secrecy is important in trade talks, what is emerging is concerning. The internet should not reflect the very uneven playing field exhibited in the real world, as that would stifle creativity and economies. Think of the gains we’ve had from Internet entrepreneurship and the jobs created as a result. Would you like more of that -- or stifle this medium and have less?"
- Jack Yan, New Zealand
Secrecy in negotiations
"Because the TPP has such wide-reaching impacts it should not be held in secret. The public has a right to know what will affect them, especially with regard to issues of privacy and surveillance on the Internet. The secrecy of the TPP is undemocratic."
- Julianna Pratt, Australia
"Free access is the very essence of the world wide web. Any restrictions should be through extensive public debate not secret negotiations."
- Chris McAlister, Sweden
Protecting the digital commons
"The Internet is a World Commons. TPP threatens unwarranted snooping, and intimidation. Internet providers could play favourites (for a fee) about speed, content, etc. The Commons belongs to all of us and should not be put up for sale to the highest bidder."
- Nadine LaVonne, Austria
"We, the users, have built the Internet into the wonderful communication tool that it is. Don't stand in our way, as we continue to make it even more awesome."
- Carl Elderston, United States
As Carl clearly identifies, users and content creators are the engine that drive creativity and innovation online. Without them, we wouldn't have this unfathomable creature:
So we wanted to take this opportunity to say: Thanks for speaking out. If you haven't yet, head on down to OpenMedia.org/Expression and make all our voices louder. Right now the TPP is a threat lurking just below the surface, like Bearsharktopus here. President Obama says he hopes to have a deal by November, when he heads to the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit (APEC), so we'll be paying close attention to what happens in the coming weeks and months, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop on the next big thing.
In the meantime, keep on creating!
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