with the first link the chain is forged, the first journalist censored, the first mod forbidden, the first fair use denied: the first time anyone’s freedom is trodden on we’re all damaged.
i must apoligise, this is a bit of a long post but i urge you to find the time to read it all.
a storm is brewing: around the pacific rim countries, which includes places like japan, canada, australia and america, companies have been constructing a trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership in secret behind our backs. oh, that’s not all! for you see they have not only been working in the shadows but what they have wrought into this world is the most despicable, the most heinous and downright anti consumer and anti-community/fanbase section on their twisted intellectual property laws that we have seen so far in this “enlightened” information age we live in
but “hold on!” i hear you cry, “isn’t intellectual property law supposed to be good for content creators?”: no, at least not for those who create transformation and derivative work such as Let’s Plays, Mods and even Reviews. those of you even slightly in-tune with the various youtube scandals will have seen the greedy and immature exploiting DMCA takedown notices to censor critique and pull in revenue off of reviewers and lets players and even those who dare put some big label music in the background of their video who rely on their youtube ad money as their main source of revenue; for example Nintendo’s greedy policy of taking a cut of all monetised videos from all who should want to make any money, money with which they live off.
oh and it gets worse: if you live in one of these countries and ever download a ROM of a game? the police can come round your house and smash up your computer, ever look into a game’s files to make or download a mod or circumvent a faulty Digital Rights Management system like Securom? (securom, if you haven’t heard of it, is the software that has has rendered two games in my steam library completely unplayable) well now you’ve illegally violated “trade secrets”.
oh and on the subject of trade secrets i’m sure you’re aware that one of out “inalienable human rights” is freedom of opinion and expression and to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, it’s number 19 i checked. guess what happens if you’re a reviewer and discover that a company’s releasing a game with some hidden anti consumer BS like always online DRM, pay locked content or worst case scenario something that actually holds a large part of the game such as the ending at ransom for some downright disgustingly greedy fee to pay microtransactions and wants to tell the public about it? they’re violating trade secrets.
and you want to know the worst part about it? well guess what you used to undergo civil lawsuits for something like this… now they can press criminal charges. although i’ve been fairly moderated in my language up to this point i will need to get this out of my system: FUCKING HELL! I INVOKE GODWIN’S LAW AND DECLARE THIS OF SIMILAR NATURE TO CENSORSHIP UNDER THE NAZIS!!
ahh, much better. so yeah you can now be locked up for freedom of speech or even trying to play a game that you own that doesn’t work due to some greedy anti-pirate feature that gutted it. on top of that is the fact that the terminology is vague enough that they can interpret it in loads of ways and screw you over that way and to add insult to injury the stuff that does protect consumer rights and transparency are all written as suggestions along the lines of “you can endevour to do this and that” whereas the anti-consumer rights stuff is all mandatory “you should”s.
there’s also a ton of unscrupulous stuff in other fields, but i’m gonna stick to what i know
“but why should i care? i don’t live in one of these countries”, well name me the two countries responsible for the majority of video games. japan and the USA, correct. and which country are sites like youtube (and google), facebook and wordpress hosted in?
now you get the picture. oh and by the way i wasn’t joking with the picard paraphrase above, if we give them this mile then what’s to stop England from being set on the path to becoming orwell’s airstrip one under the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership?
“so what can i do?”
well the bad news is that the legal text of this thing has been decided and all it’s waiting for is ratification (agreement) by all the nations involved. there is however good news: this is looking to take about 90 days and at the time of writing this puts this whole thing becoming the law in early 2016. first thing you’ll want to do is read up on what it is, there is no harm in educating yourself and quite a lot in not so. here’s some helpful links to the videos i found out about this from and the leaked text of the TPP IP section (oh yeah, they didn’t even reveal it on their own).
second: i’m not usually one who asks for publicity, i would prefer to earn it, but for this i beg of you that you share or link this to everyone that you know on all your social medias and blogsites and the like. alternatively use the hashtag #StopTPP and try and get it trending. this affects us all and we need to spread awareness to everyone, these companies thought they could sneak this into laws in secret and they will try to ignore our demands for as long as possible in the hopes that we give up. if we keep this news for as long as possible then we send a clear message to them that we will not allow them to weather the storm and continue being assholes.
thirdly, and most importantly, those in a position to act must act. if you live in one of these countries; United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei Darussalam, then contact any of your local politicians and representatives and ask them to fight it’s ratification, take a petition to them. all of you vocalise how much you disagree with this and hell if you have the nerve for it petition to your government to start economic sanctions against any country that dares ratify this. it may be hard but if you can boycott buying things from these companies involved in this (people like Disney, target, IBM, microsoft, apple, GAP, visa, xerox, nike and oracle, the us companies responsible actually name and shame themeselves on their website here: http://tppcoalition.org/about/ so check that out and try and find their site in your country) do whatever non-violent things you can to stop this thing coming through. again do not give up for they will try to weather this for as long as they can. together we can save our freedoms.
EDIT: japan has already stepped out of the IP part of the TPP due to public outcry, IF IT BLEEDS WE CAN KILL IT!!!!
i’m matt crane and i thank you for your time