Post Tagged with: "public domain"

Buffy-Sainte-Marie-DSC_2407 by sidrguelph (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6NkJNh

Canadian Recording Industry: Works Entering the Public Domain Are Not in the Public Interest

On World Book and Copyright Day, it is worth noting how Graham Henderson, the President of Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) characterized the government’s decision to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings and performances:

With each passing day, Canadian treasures like Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie are lost to the public domain. This is not in the public interest.  It does not benefit the creator or their investors and it will have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy.”

This statement raises several issues. First, it should be noted that the song Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie is not in the public domain nor will it be entering the public domain for decades. As the songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie still holds copyright in the song and will do so for her entire lifetime plus an additional 50 years (Howard Knopf further explains the issue of copyright term in songs in this post).

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April 23, 2015 22 comments News

Faulkner, Hesse Lead Public Domain Day 2013

Wallace McLean has posted his annual celebration of public domain day, listing dozens of authors whose work entered into the public domain in Canada on New Year’s Day. Notable names this year include Nobel Prize winners William Faulkner and Herman Hesse as well as  poet e.e. cummings. The list is […]

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January 1, 2013 4 comments News

The TPP Impact on New Zealand’s Public Domain

Gareth Hughes, a New Zealand Green Party MP, has posted on the impact of extending the term of copyright in New Zealand from life plus 50 years to life plus 70 years as demanded by the Trans Pacific Partnership. Hughes calls attention to many leading NZ works that would be […]

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January 24, 2012 1 comment Must Reads

James Joyce and the Public Domain

The New Yorker examines the entry of James Joyce’s works into the public domain in Europe (Joyce entered the public domain in Canada twenty years ago), demonstrating why the issue is about far more than free access to books.

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January 13, 2012 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

TPP’s Other Copyright Term Extension: Protection of Sound Recordings Would Nearly Double in Duration

Europe has been embroiled in a controversy over the copyright term of sound recordings for the past few years. While the law provided protection for a 50 year term, major record labels argued for an extended term to generate more profits from older recordings. Proposals to extend the term in the UK and Europe were widely panned as independent studies found that benefiting a few record labels would come at an enormous public cost (see here or here). For example, the UK Gowers Review of Intellectual Property concluded:

Economic evidence indicates that the length of protection for copyright works already far exceeds the incentives required to invest in new works. Boldrin and Levine estimate that the optimal length of copyright is at most seven years. Posner and Landes, eminent legal economists in the field, argue that the extra incentives to create as a result of term extension are likely to be very small beyond a term of 25 years. Furthermore, it is not clear that extending term from 50 years to 70 or 95 years would remedy the unequal treatment of performers and producers from composers, who benefit from life plus 70 years protection. This is because it is not clear that extension of term would benefit musicians and performers very much in practice. The CIPIL report that the Review commissioned states that: “most people seem to assume that any extended term would go to record companies rather than performers: either because the record company already owns the copyright or because the performer will, as a standard term of a recording agreement, have purported to assign any extended term that might be created to the copyright holder”.

Despite the evidence, the term of sound recordings was extended in the UK last year. Canada has thus far been spared a lengthy debate over the issue since a similar extension clearly holds little benefit to Canadians with the overwhelming majority of incremental revenues going to U.S. record labels.

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January 10, 2012 3 comments News