Broadview Press, an independent Canadian publisher with hundreds of books in print, has called on the government to ensure that there is no extension from the current term of life of the author plus 50 years. I previously noted the Broadview Press submission in a post on the tiny impact of reduced royalties from Access Copyright. The submission also focuses on copyright term:
Another vitally important copyright issue that has been on the table in recent TTP and NAFTA trade negotiations is the international pressure Canada is faced with to increase the length of the copyright term from 50 years after the death of the author (already too long, in our opinion) to a full 70 years after the death of the author, thereby preventing for an additional generation the publication of competing editions of literary classics—editions that can often be of immense cultural and pedagogical value.
Broadview Press recommends “Canada protect or reduce the length of copyright term to be no more than “life of the author plus 50 years.” It points with approval to the Australian Productivity Commission’s report on reforming Australian intellectual property laws, noting:
An international reference you may wish to consult regarding this matter is the December 2016 report from the Australian Productivity Commission on Reforming Australia’s intellectual property arrangements. This report argues that the life+70 years term is too long and urges the Australian government to reduce it to 50 years or less in the IP review that is currently underway.
The Australian report provides a helpful review of the implications of copyright terms, reaching the following finding:
The scope and term of copyright protection in Australia has expanded over time, often with no transparent evidence-based analysis, and is now skewed too far in favour of copyright holders. While a single optimal copyright term is arguably elusive, it is likely to be considerably less than 70 years after death.
Canada has thus far resisted extending the term of copyright beyond the Berne Convention standard of life of the author plus 50 years. In fact, Canada successfully argued for the suspension of an extension in the TPP last year, recognizing the enormous cost that a term extension would impose on access to Canadian culture and to education, which relies heavily on public domain works.