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MichaelGeist.ca

Help Preserve the Canadian Public Domain: Speak Out on the Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations

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Canada celebrated New Year's Day this year by welcoming the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Carl Jung into the public domain just as European countries were celebrating the arrival of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, 20 years after both entered the Canadian public domain. Canada's term of copyright meets the international standard of life of the author plus 50 years, which has now become a competitive advantage when compared to the United States, Australia, and Europe, which have copyright terms that extend an additional 20 years (without any evidence of additional public benefits).

In an interesting coincidence, the Canadian government filed notice of a public consultation on December 31, 2011 on the possible Canadian entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, trade talks that could result in an extension in the term of copyright that would mean nothing new would enter the Canadian public domain until 2032 or beyond. The TPP covers a wide range of issues, but its intellectual property rules as contemplated by leaked U.S. drafts would extend the term of copyright, require even stricter digital lock rules, restrict trade in parallel imports, and increase various infringement penalties. As I noted last month, if Canada were to ratify the TPP, it would require another copyright bill to undo much of what the government is about to enact with Bill C-11.

A recent study on the implications of the copyright provisions point to many concerns including:

   
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U.S. Pressures Spain Into SOPA Style Law

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Canadians are familiar with U.S. pressure on intellectual property laws, but it is worth remembering that we are not alone. The latest target is Spain, with new revelations of U.S. threats of retaliation if Spain did not pass U.S. backed copyright rules.
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Copyright Holders Receive 'Not One Cent' In 11 Years

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The Bahamas Tribune reports that the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, established 11 years ago, has never paid anything to copyright holders.
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