NAFTA: Don’t Trade Away the Internet

 Don’t Trade Away the Internet in NAFTA

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UPDATE October 1, 2018: Canada has agreed to a revised trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and our worst fears for digital rights have become true: the deal contains draconian intellectual property and copyright provisions that are basically copied from the TPP.1

But it doesn't end here! The government is currently reviewing the Copyright Act, so make sure to have your say here. The agreement will also now begin a lengthy approval process in which the government will continue to hear from its citizens and decision makers before it rubber stamps the deal. So we must keep up the pressure from every direction and make sure the government knows we won't just let our Internet get traded away.

The U.S. just announced its new plan for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),2 and it puts our digital rights at serious risk.

The proposal includes a notice-and-takedown regime, and extending copyright terms to 75 years — and that’s only what they’re telling us. Even more disastrous measures could be hidden in the secret details.

Trump is trying to reclaim what he gave away when he walked away from the TPP: the most restrictive copyright rules in the world.3 Don't let that happen.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland is in Washington RIGHT NOW negotiating Canada’s position on NAFTA, and she's our best chance to stop this dangerous proposal. Send the letter below, and tell Minister Freeland that our digital rights are worth standing up for!

Read the full letter here

Minister Chrystia Freeland,

The U.S. has finally released its revised plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which include an Intellectual Property chapter taken straight from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and puts our digital rights at serious risk.

Throughout the TPP negotiations, millions of citizens spoke up in opposition to the Intellectual Property chapter, and the dangerous copyright provisions that would break the open Internet as we know it. The Canadian government rejected the IP Chapter in its signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

We cannot afford to let it back in now.

NAFTA has the potential to impact critical functions of the Internet, and if not properly addressed it could significantly threaten innovation, access to information, the dissemination of news, cultural exchange, artistic creation and democratic organizing.

The voices of the public are not reflected in this draft NAFTA agreement. To date, this negotiation process has been opaque, with no transparency into the public consultations, and ignores the lessons learned from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

I am writing to ask you to remove any Intellectual Property chapter from a revised NAFTA agreement, and not trade away the Internet.

Thank you.

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — a multilateral trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico — is up for review. After lengthy negotiations with Mexico, the U.S. appears to be using this to try and win back everything they lost when they walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Millions of people strongly opposed the TPP because it put our digital future on the chopping block. The TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter would have locked us into some of the most restrictive copyright rules in the world: excessively long copyright terms, rigid rules on digital locks — now with criminal penalties — and even a tribunal dispute process that would allow Big Media companies to sue our government for making policies they don’t like.[4,5]

We know that the Internet is critical to our ability to express ourselves, to share information and culture, and to access knowledge. But we also know that companies are looking for ways to smuggle rules to drastically increase enforcement measures for rights-holders, create longer copyright terms, and demand harsh infringement penalties, without any balance towards the public interest.

The TPP was an unbalanced mess, negotiated in secret by hundreds of lobbyists, and put the rights and interests of huge companies above those of the average citizen. But now, it looks like the U.S. government is trying to copy over the worst parts of the TPP straight into NAFTA.

They’re going on the offensive: attacking fair dealing rules that let us share culture and express ourselves freely, taking aim at our copyright warning notice system — even our privacy and Net Neutrality rules are under threat.

We saw firsthand how the TPP was a disaster for digital rights and our democracies — and we can’t afford to let that happen with NAFTA.

This action is hosted by:


[1] From Copyright Term to Super Bowl Commercials: Breaking Down the Digital NAFTA Deal: Michael Geist

[2] UNITED STATES–MEXICO TRADE FACT SHEET: Modernizing NAFTA to be a 21st Century Trade Agreement. Office of the United States Trade Representative.

[3][5] Let’s Talk TPP. OpenMedia.

[4] The Trouble With the TPP, Day 50: The Case Against Ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership. Source: Michael Geist



Speak up now to ensure NAFTA does not become the new TPP.




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