The Trans Pacific Partnership IP Chapter Leaks: Canada Would Face Copyright Term Extension

My series of posts on the leak of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter continues with a look at the term of copyright (earlier posts highlighted Canada’s opposition to many U.S. proposals, U.S. demands for Internet provider liability that could lead to subscriber termination, content blocking, and ISP monitoring, the anti-counterfeiting provisions that are inconsistent with Bill C-8, as well as the potential conflict with CETA on geographical indications). This post focuses on one of the least surprising aspects of the TPP: the demand that countries extend their term of copyright beyond international requirements to life of the author plus 70 years. The Berne Convention requirement is life of the author plus 50 years.

Article QQ.G.6 contains a provision requiring a term of at least life plus 70 years. There is support for the provision from the U.S., Australia, Peru, Singapore, and Chile. Mexico would like to extend to life of the author plus 100 years. Canada is opposed to the provision, joined by Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

The extension in the term of copyright would mean no new works would enter the public domain in Canada until at least 2034 (assuming an agreement takes effect in 2014). â€¨Many important authors would be immediately affected since their works are scheduled to enter the public domain in the 2014 – 2034 period. These include Canadians such as Marshall McLuhan, Gabrielle Roy, Donald Creighton, and Glenn Gould as well as non-Canadians such as Robert Frost, CS Lewis, TS Eliot, John Steinbeck, JRR Tolkein, and Ayn Rand. Given the potential to make those works more readily accessible to new generations once they enter the public domain, extending the term of copyright as potentially required by the TPP would have a dramatic negative effect on access to Canadian literature and history.


  1. Damn you, Mickey!

  2. property
    privacy, property and freedom of information.

    from rights to interest, and almost purely corporate interest.

    Borg like you mean it, i guess. dance like zombie
    and it’s not what you know, it’s WHO!

  3. drive by commentor... says:

    TPP IP…
    Is the TPP IP section just a Hollywood wish list or is it a bad script? Didn’t the whole internet rise up against this same stuff when it was ACTA & SOPA.

  4. WAG: Mexico is asking for life + 100 years at the behest of the US. This way the US can say “See, we’re being much more reasonable than Mexico.”

  5. Mexico adopted life + 100 in 2003. It was previously life + 75.

  6. WRONG!
    The part about many important Canadian authors being affected is wrong. They are all dead. Have been dead for a very long time. Maybe “estates” and other fruit pickers are affected, but the planters are not.

  7. Wrong direction!
    I don’t understand why anybody who isn’t in the pocket of various media organizations would think this is a good idea? This is moving copyright in the wrong direction!

    Even 50 years (without life of the author!) seems incredibly long! patents are already long! Copyright of 10 years i could support….

  8. James in Ottawa says:

    Copyright/patent protection is out of control. Artistic works of any type should have a maximum 30 year term from the date of release/publication, shorter if a sole creator dies. Drugs should only have ten years. Peer reviewed journal papers should only have a year at most, with the authors able to distribute copies unhindered. News and current event pieces should have minimal (a couple of weeks?) or no copyright, but a requirement of attribution. Oh, and device locks should be disabled whenever a device is purchased, either when a full upfront payment is made, or at the end of a contract.

    I could go on, but I think that covers the highest points.