Is Copyright Term Extension Still in Play in the New NAFTA?

As Canadian NAFTA negotiations continue in the aftermath of a U.S.-Mexico agreement on a trade deal, the inclusion of a mandated copyright term remains a bit of mystery. The U.S. has long been focused on getting Canada to extend the term of copyright beyond the international treaty standard of life of the author plus 50 years and seems likely to want to do so here. If so, the cost will be significant, locking down works from the public domain for decades and potentially increasing educational costs by millions of dollars. The U.S. fact sheets on the deal have undergone regular changes which suggests that the issue may still be in play. The original fact sheet issued last week described the copyright term provision as follows:

Extend the minimum copyright term to 75 years for works like song performances and ensure that works such as digital music, movies, and books can be protected through current technologies such as technological protection measures and rights management information.

The provision appeared to involve works-for-hire or song performances, but not a full copyright term extension beyond the international treaty standard. Two days later, the U.S. issued an updated fact sheet that included a full copyright term extension:

Set a minimum standard of 75 years of copyright term for sound recordings and other works calculated by date of publication, and life plus 70 years for works calculated based on the life of the author.

While that description remained online for several days, it disappeared over the weekend. The current version goes back to the original fact sheet with no reference to a general copyright term extension. The back-and-forth suggests that the issue may still be at play as the Canadian negotiations continue with Canada rightly opposing term extension in the updated agreement.


  1. Michael,

    I plead for you to boldly proclaim that the “takedown” provisions of NAFTA 2018 turn our Internet from one that is unregulated, into one that is regulated.
    We can now begin to see what so many have warned us about. This is a crucial point for the future of free speech, freedom of information, and democracy. Furthermore, this control will be powerless without lawful access, another crucial difference which, when viewed hand-in-hand, is even more clearly faulty.

    Both of these regimes rest upon lies. Surveillance rests on the lie that citizens do not know that they are being surveilled. Equal justice rests on the lie that encryption can be sucessfully banned. It can’t, and so only the low hanging fruit who do not know how to encrypt properly, will face justice. Encryption cannot fully be outlawed, it is at the very least only a matter of encrypting twice. Then in the decrypting, law enforcement can never tell when the first decryption is complete, because the result still looks encrypted. So, even if all of the encryption tools could be backdoored, it would not prevent encryption.

    Full justice rests on the full disclosure of evidence, but surveillance only remains secret through lies known as parallel construction. This lie permeates the highest levels of the surveillance aparatus. Similarly forced decryption cannot survive because it rests on the lie that nobody ever just forgets a password. In fact, password forgetting will only increase, and so forced decryption on penalty of being found guilty anyway, becomes a complete short circuiting of any justice whatsoever.

    Similarly, copyright enforcement rests upon lies. It is a lie that someone can be held responsible for content on their domain. Domain names are registered anonymously by default, online where no identification is required (or at least, can ever be realistically verified). It is also a lie that an IP address is a person, or that a subscriber can be held responsible for any devices that access his router. While prosecutions do proceed on this basis there is a growing tide against them. Just as there is a tsunami of open wi-fi access points which would have to be closed. It would also be a lie to tie a device to a person in the age of the Internet of Things, when the number of devices eclipses the population itself.

    It is a lie that copyright does not unjustly serve the powerful when the Internet titans often respond only to Trusted Infringement Notice Providers. And it may well be a lie that copyright even serves the progress of the arts anymore, rather than being a hinderance to the arts, if it were to inhibit user generated content.

    The truth is that Intellectual Property is a vehicle for inequality, and in the global future may be the main vehicle for inequality. Another vehicle will be the state’s control of information. Both of these become entrenched with the “takedown” provisions in NAFTA 2.0 just when the tide could go the other way. Just when it is clear why we have always resisted entrusting government with great power.

    I implore you to consider it your duty as an educator to clearly proclaim that these provisions are based on lies, and so must not become established in law.


    star trek the original series entered public domain under current rules (50 years)
    now your saying they are gonna take that away

    so if i get a copy now am i breaking laws….cause if so ths is far too long already ….
    the public and society are not served only a very few and look how they act raping getting wasted and acting bad and treating fans like a wallet

    ths is 100% disgusting of trudeau


    OH AND under that term “date of publication” that not only removes the 1949 works by jrr tolkien because they did not get published till 29 July 1954, and now that gets lumped to his death +75 years
    Died 2 September 1973 (aged 81)+75 =2048

    ok not ever gonna put cash into any of this crap no more
    NO MORE Star wars , no more star trek , no more lord of wallet etc

  4. Kelly Manning says:

    There is a growing list of people who take on copyright trolls and successfully contest the alleged evidence. ACS Law, Mediacat, Prenda Law, Golden Eye International (GEIL), RIAA, … and quash the claims. Several of those boilermaker troll operations have gone out of business after being exposed by intended victims of their barratry.

    Most of these seem to be in the same category of scam as phone calls saying that the CRA or IRS is coming to arrest you unless you pay immediately with cards purchased at stores, or the new text messages and email scam that tells you to call a number and then insist that you owe tax money and can only resolve the bill by paying with a pre-paid Visa card.

    Too many people are gullible and pay up, or lack the technical sophistication needed to contest the alleged evidence.

    ‘Then Salminen struck gold. On the day that the alleged infringement took place the IT worker was operating from home while logged into his company’s computer systems. Knowing that his company keeps logs of the IP addresses accessing the system, Salminen knew he could prove which IP address he’d been using on the day.

    “I looked into my employer’s system logs for IP-addresses over several weeks and I was able to show that our home connection’s IP address at the time of the alleged act was quite different from the IP address mentioned in the letter,” he explained.’

    Other Trolls have ended up in the Criminal Courts for other actions that have shed light on their personalities and unprincipled conduct.

  5. Kelly Manning says:

    One of the lawyers recruited into the Voltage mass copyright suit operation is now suing Voltage:

    ‘ [I]n the course of preparing his response [to a defendant’s motion questioning the plaintiff’s claims of copyright ownership], [Davis] began asking questions and uncovering facts that undermined “his belief in the value and ethical propriety” of the copyright suits.

    In a separate copyright case in San Diego, Davis says he uncovered additional troubling facts in the course of drafting a response to a judge’s threat to dismiss the case. He says he had a meeting in Santa Monica with the key figures on the plaintiff’s side, after which he “concluded that both the legal and factual basis of the Copyright Litigation campaign were unsound, and that each had been misrepresented to him.” ‘

    In other copyright trolling cases intended victims of baseless infringement claims have been able to establish that the IP numbers in the purported evidence were not associated with them at the time of the alleged infringement.

    A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision imposes costs on Voltage for any further work done by Internet Service Providers at the request of Voltage.

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