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.
tpp why so secret? by Public Citizen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/daKbUD
TPP’s Other Copyright Term Extension: Protection of Sound Recordings Would Nearly Double in Duration
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: â€œmost 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 holderâ€.
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.
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:
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:
Based on leaks of the current drafts of the TPP IP chapter, the agreement would overhaul Canadian copyright law far beyond what is contemplated in Bill C-11. In fact, the TPP would require even stricter digital lock rules, extend the term of copyright, restrict trade in parallel imports, and increase various infringement penalties. 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: