Among the many betrayals of the Obama administration is its overall treatment of what many people refer to as "intellectual property"
– the idea that ideas themselves and digital goods and services are
exactly like physical property, and that therefore the law should treat
them the same way. This corporatist stance defies both reality and the
American Constitution, which expressly called for creators to have
rights for limited periods, the goal of which was to promote inventive
progress and the arts.
"I have heard the argument that transparency
would undermine the administration's policy to complete the trade
agreement because public opposition would be significant. If
transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade
agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the
United States. I believe in transparency and democracy and I think the
US Trade Representative should too." —Sen. Elizabeth Warren
In the years 2007 and 2008, candidate Obama indicated that he'd take a
more nuanced view than the absolutist one from Hollywood and other
interests that work relentlessly for total control over this
increasingly vital part of our economy and lives. But no clearer
demonstration of the real White House view is offered than a just-leaked
draft of an international treaty that would, as many had feared, create
draconian new rights for corporate "owners" and mean vastly fewer
rights for the rest of us.
I'm talking about the appalling Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a partial draft of which WikiLeaks
has just released. This treaty has been negotiated in secret meetings
dominated by governments and corporations. You and I have been
systematically excluded, and once you learn what they're doing, you can see why.
The outsiders who understand TPP best aren't surprised. That is, the
draft "confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to
expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer
rights and safeguards," writes James Love a longtime watcher of this process.