not a bad end of summer reading selection for 25¢ per book (oh the British) by clarkmaxwell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

not a bad end of summer reading selection for 25¢ per book (oh the British) by clarkmaxwell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Reports Indicate Canada Has Caved on Copyright Term Extension in TPP Talks

Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a “copyright quirk”, it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. The issue of extending the term of copyright was discussed during the 2009 national copyright consultation, but the government wisely decided against it. Further, the European Union initially demanded that Canada extend the term of copyright in the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, but that too was effectively rebuffed.

If new reports out of Japan are correct, however, Canada may have caved to U.S. pressure to extend copyright term. The U.S. extended its term to life plus 70 years in 1998 in response to demands from the Disney Corporation (Mickey was headed to the public domain) and has since pressured other countries to match. NHK reports that a deal on copyright term has been reached within the TPP with countries agreeing to a life plus 70 term. Alongside Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam (the TPP countries that adhere to the Berne standard), it appears that Canada has dropped its opposition to the change.

From a policy perspective, there is no credible evidence that this will do anything other than leave Canadians with 20 years of no new works entering the public domain. Indeed, many economists have examined the issue and concluded that extending the term unsurprisingly does not create an additional incentive for new creativity. Moreover, studies in other countries that have extended term have concluded that it ultimately costs consumers millions of dollars in additional royalties, most of which are sent out of the country.

While the Canadian decision to cave to the U.S. on copyright is disappointing, it should be noted that there are reports that Canada may still find itself outside the TPP altogether. Recent reports indicate that Canada will be required to make significant agricultural concessions (ie. changes to supply management) as part of the agreement. Japan and the U.S. have been actively working on market access issues, but Canadian negotiations have stalled as they apparently wait for the U.S. and Japan to resolve their differences. With a federal election set for later this year, the government may prefer holding off on major changes and sit out the initial TPP deal.  Regardless, if the Japanese reports are true, copyright term will not be one of the issues that holds up the TPP with Canada one of several countries set to cave to U.S. demands.


  1. Pingback: Puget Sound Radio | Reports Indicate Canada Has Caved on Copyright Term Extension in TPP Talks - Puget Sound Radio

  2. Once again, Harper fucks over the very people who voted for him (and everyone who wisely didn’t) just to get his nose a little further up Obama’s ass.

    Everyone who voted for this turd, please stand up.

    Now that we know who you are, are you going to vote for him again or has he finally abused and disrespected you enough for you do do better next time?

    • Scott Johnson says:

      Well said sir.

    • Another lefty fool. This is an *unconfirmed report*. We don’t know what, if any role Harper played in it. We don’t even know if its true.

      You Harper bashers will stoop to any level to take cheap shots at what is arguably our best prime minister since Diefenbaker.

      • Best prime minister since Diefenbaker? I’m not old enough to have been around when the “Chief” was but I am quite certain there is at least one more ethical, better leader, etc. that was in the PM’s office in the last 40 years that was better than Harper.

        I don’t consider Harper a leader but a closet libertarian/failed economist who doesn’t respect Canada, Canadians or the country that he apparently grew up in…

  3. Might I suggest that protecting “Mickey Mouse” should be done by Canada in quite a different way than by copyright on works mentioning the character.

    Instead, for holders of copyright on works containing “famous characters”, I suggest that as a new initiative, Canada offer a new class of “design rights”. Tdis is an expansion of our exisiting design rights, and should be similar to trademark, so that such a character, specifically including Mickey Mouse, can be protected while the rights-holder continues to use the famous character.

    This provides a new right for authors and designers, and avoids pressure to extend copyright to arbitrary lengths, which is already happening in the United States.

    I’ve previously suggested this in public consultations to the Government of Canada a,d that of the EU.

    • Devil's Advocate says:

      I honestly tried opening my mind and wrapping my head around your idea, but I just can’t see what sense it makes.

      All you’re proposing is a substitution of protections, and another way that works would continue to be withheld from the Public Domain.

      It’s just like saying, “There’s only six of one, but there’s a whole half-dozen of the other.”

      • He’s saying that the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons would still fall into the Public Domain – so you could legally copy them and send them to your friends.

        But there would be a new protection so you couldn’t produce your own original cartoon with Mickey Mouse as a character. That seems good commercially though it might be a problem for fan fiction.

        • Devil's Advocate says:

          Yes, I understood the “concept” when David described it.

          The problem is, something can’t be in the Public Domain if there’s any protections on it. New *varieties* of protections wouldn’t change the fact that protections give people “grounds” to challenge and prevent all kinds of usage, and keep the Public Domain from having it.

          • Why should all kinds of usage be allowed without some form of protection? The public domain shouldn’t give one the ability to turn a profit with Mickey Mouse while taking away the same ability from Disney.

  4. I think 50 years plus the life of the author is far more reasonable. Over time people just forget the works anyway. You mean Mickey is public domain in Canada?
    I hope the TPP forces Canada to break the Dairy monopoly. I want some cheap Wisconsin milk and cheese on my dinner/breakfast table. None of that overpriced central canadian stuff.

    • Mickey is not yet in the public domain in Canada. Under the current rules he goes into the public domain at the end of 2016.

  5. Pingback: Links 4/2/2015: X.Org Server 1.17, ContainerCon | Techrights

  6. Life plus 50 years is already ridiculous beyond belief. Information moves faster than it did in the past, it takes less time to disseminate a work across the entire planet than it ever has before. Copyright terms should be coming down in a massive way, not edging further and further towards what is effectively eternity.

    • Just because it takes less time to disseminate something worldwide doesn’t mean the person who created it wants it disseminated world wide or that they are the ones who disseminated it or that they have yet been reimbursed for it.

      I’ve started looking at this in different ways and I can’t think of anyway where restricting a copyright isn’t a form of legalized theft.

      • Devil's Advocate says:

        You’re pretty confused about copyright and the Public Domain.

        When all the protections on something expire, that something moves to the Public Domain. When something makes it to the Public Domain, it belongs to EVERYONE, and all usages are then legal.

        Copyright is a temporary restriction on our NATURAL RIGHTS to share and build on someone else’s work, and was originally for a MAXIMUM period of 7-14 years. After that, works went to the Public Domain.

        Technically, the massive EXTENSIONS that were later given to copyright were a form of theft from the Public Domain.

      • Devil's Advocate says:

        Ironically, Disney made a ton of money by tweaking many things that were originally in the Public Domain, and getting a copyright on it all.

        Every time Mickey Mouse was getting close to having to move to the Public Domain, Disney lead the movement for extensions to copyright law – which happened – effectively keeping Mickey from ever getting loose.

  7. Pingback: Canada reportedly caves, will extend copyright and yank James Bond out of the public domain | Rob's Personal Aggregator

  8. Pingback: Canada Caves on Copyright - FunaGram

  9. Pingback: ‘Mickey Mouse Protection Act’ Headed For Canada After Feds ‘Cave’ In Trade Talks: Reports | Canada Press

  10. Pingback: ‘Mickey Mouse Protection Act’ Headed For Canada After Feds ‘Cave’ In Trade Talks: Reports | Canada Daily

  11. Pingback: ‘Mickey Mouse Protection Act’ Headed For Canada After Feds ‘Cave’ In Trade Talks: Reports | Debt Consolidation Offers

  12. Pingback: The U.S. has had life-plus-70 since the late 1990s, thanks to a copyright law reform that was lobbied for heavily by the media industry, particularly Disney. For this reason, critics call the law the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” Its real name is eve

  13. Pingback: Poetry Potluck, the Public Domain, and “The Red Wheel Barrow” | Academicalism

  14. Pingback: KidComet