tpp why so secret? by Public Citizen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/daKbUD

tpp why so secret? by Public Citizen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/daKbUD

TPP

Is the Trans Pacific Partnership a Re-writing of NAFTA?

Peter Clark offers excellent insight and analysis into the Trans Pacific Partnership, including Canada’s motivation for participating and the key issues at stake.

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January 12, 2012 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

KEI on Canada’s Entry to TPP Negotiations

KEI has responded to the USTR’s request for comment on Canada’s proposed entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Its response identifies several issues including concerns over the inclusion of copyright term in the agreement.

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January 12, 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

TPP Copyright Extension Would Keep Some of Canada’s Top Authors Out of Public Domain For Decades

Last week I posted on the government’s consultation on joining the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations and its potential effect on Canada’s public domain. According to a leaked draft of the proposed intellectual property chapter, the TPP would require countries (such as Canada, New Zealand, and Japan – all current or potential TPP members) that meet the international copyright term standard of life of the author plus 50 years to add an additional 20 years to the term of protection. The extension in the term of copyright would mean no new works would enter the public domain in those countries until at least 2033 (assuming an agreement takes effect in 2013).

While the change would obviously delay all works slated to enter into the public domain by 20 years, it is worth noting the many important authors who would be immediately affected since their works are scheduled to become public domain in the 2013 – 2033 period. I’ll identify some of the non-Canadian authors in a future post (the list includes Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, CS Lewis, TS Eliot, John Steinbeck, JRR Tolkein, and Ayn Rand), but the impact on Canadian culture and history is worthy of particular attention.

The list of Canadian authors whose work would be blocked from entering into the public domain includes:

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January 9, 2012 34 comments News

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

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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January 6, 2012 29 comments News