europe infinite copyright by Jose Mesa (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/amMHBV

europe infinite copyright by Jose Mesa (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/amMHBV

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Has Canada Caved on Copyright Term Extension in the TPP?

The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations resume next week and while an agreement does not appear imminent, reports from Japan indicate that the copyright term issue may have been resolved.  Japan and Canada are two of several TPP countries whose term of copyright protection is life of the author plus 50 years. According to the Japan News, those countries (which also include New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei) are prepared to cave to U.S. pressure to extend the term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years:

Among the 12 countries, Japan, Canada and four other countries protect an author’s copyright for 50 years after their death, the United States and four other countries for 70 years and Mexico for 100 years. Following the agreement, Japan will extend its duration by 20 years.

If true, the extension represents a major loss for Canada and run counter to a government consultation that generated huge opposition on the issue. The extension in the term of copyright would mean no new works would enter the public domain in Canada until at least 2035 (assuming an agreement takes effect in 2015). â€¨Many important authors would be immediately affected since their works are scheduled to enter the public domain in the 2015 – 2035 period. These include Canadians such as Marshall McLuhan, Gabrielle Roy, Donald Creighton, and Glenn Gould as well as non-Canadians such as TS Eliot, John Steinbeck, JRR Tolkein, and Ayn Rand. Given the potential to make those works more readily accessible to new generations once they enter the public domain, extending the term of copyright as potentially required by the TPP would have a dramatic negative effect on access to Canadian literature and history.

11 Comments

  1. Didn’t C.S. Lewis die in 1963? Wouldn’t that make his works P.D. already?

    Or would they be pulled out of P.D. if this is true?

  2. Michael Geist says:

    CS Lewis
    Yes, my bad. Already in the public domain in Canada.

  3. David Collier-Brown says:

    In that consultation, GTALUG proposed a bug-fix
    Copyright keeps getting extended because the folks still making Mickey Mouse cartoons lack protection for their product.

    My smarter colleagues pointed out “design patents”, which could be legislatively turned into the protection of an actively-used character, giving Canada both stringer protections for mice, and a healthy public domain.

  4. Robert Frost also died in 1963, and is already in the Canadian Public Domain.

  5. Ernie Zeilnski says:

    The Prosperity Guy (“Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free”)
    So what is the problem?

    Owners of copyright and their heirs should have the right to their works as long as they want.

    This sense of entitlement to works of others is indicative of the rotten aspects of society today.

    Extending the “term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years” to my creative works (worth well over $1 million) is perfectly fine with me, regardless of whomever ends up being my heirs. The public should have no right to my copyright, given that not one of them has ever contributed to my works.

    If you want to have great creative works available to the public for free, then why don’t you create your own and make it available for free? You are capable of this, or are you?

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    The Prosperity Guy
    “Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free”
    Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 200,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working’
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  6. Bert and Ernie says:

    The Lazy Guy ( “Helping Lazy dull uncreative soulless live Overlywealthy” )
    So what is the problem?
    Owners of copyright and their heirs should have the right to their works as long as they want.
    After all why should they do anything to contribute to society and just suck the money out of an ever poor society while they buy yacht do drugs and drink and get rob ford rehab….

    This sense of entitlement to works of others is indicative of the rotten aspects of society today.

    Extending the “term of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years” to any creative works (worth well over $1 million in your own mind) is perfectly fine with lazy sick people, regardless of whomever ends up becomes the heirs( often drug addicted crazy kids who just cause society more grief). The public after all is who grants copyrights and thus has the right to set the terms, given that THE PUBLIC IS THE ONE THAT GRANTS YOU MONEY TO CONTINUE TO CREATE WORKS NOT LIVE RENT FREE LIKE SOME SHRUB SPONGE ON SOCIETY.YOUR VERY NOTION OF SELF ENTITLEMENT IS WHAT CAUSE SMOST OF US NOW TO IGNORE COPYRIGHT LAW.
    eRNIE SAID:
    “If you want to have great creative works available to the public for free, then why don’t you create your own and make it available for free? You are capable of this, or are you?”
    You mena like how open source linux is proving ot be more secure and safe ot use then the proprietary and closed source? YOU WANT examples of art and creativity that are donated that are GREAT….the list is HUGE….

    GROW AND GET A DAMN JOB AND PAY YOUR WAY

    over a trillion times said….you aren’t listening.

  7. and the mouse….
    Walt Disney died in 1967. This would keep the mouse under lock and key in Canada until 2038.

  8. The Lazy Guy – Copyright on English
    > Owners of copyright and their heirs should have the right to their works as long as they want.
    Please pay me the sum of $10,000 per English word you used in that sentence. My ancestors copyrighted the English language and you are not permitted to use it without payment of the requisite fees. Also, please discontinue thinking in English, the charge per word for every thought is $1. At your current lifetime’s thought quotient, you owe $157 (the fee rises to $159 if you count fees to other organizations for non-English words).

    My lawyer will be contacting you,
    Bill.

  9. MillionGamer says:

    What does this mean?
    Do that mean we are gonna have access to less thing on the internet?

  10. Ernie J. Zelinski
    With all due respect to Ernie J. Zelinski, I don’t think the sales of your publications will outlive you by 70 years.

    The works referred to by Prof. Geist are those that become important to the public domain by virtue of their importance to the body of literature. They shape art and culture, and have become fused with our understanding of literature. At one point, they belong to all of us- nobody should own the heart of culture in perpetuity.

  11. @Ernie Zeilnski You have the right to your works as long as you want now… they will always be your works. You can have absolute control of them … so long as you don’t publish them. The act of publishing takes your work out of your private domain (over which you have dominion) and places it in the public domain.

    The Statute of Anne put an end to this, by granting a short term monopoly (called copyright) to creators. Perhaps it would help for you to understand that copyright is not actually a right, but a privilege. This government granted monopoly infringes on the rights of the public. This is why the public domain is not only important, but necessary.

    When works go into the Public Domain, the public does not have the copyright on them, it simply has access and the legal right to do anything they wish with them.

    You suggest that the public has not contributed to your works. Unless you have been raised in a cave by wolves with no exposure at all to human works of culture, that is not true.

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