[A2k] The TPP's Copyright Trap

Jeremy Malcolm jmalcolm at eff.org
Wed Jul 22 10:04:07 PDT 2015

EFF have just published the first article and action in a decentralized
campaign of the Our Fair Deal coalition called *the TPP's Copyright Trap*:


One of the defining battles in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
negotiations is whether its signatory countries will standardize
copyright terms lengths to a minimum term of the life of the author plus
70 years. This would effectively set the maximum duration of copyright
holders' monopoly rights to over 140 years. This is the demand from
rightsholder groups such as the RIAA and MPAA who advise the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR). A precedent for such a provision has been set in
previous Free Trade Agreements with countries like Australia and Singapore.
But the world's leading e
that such an extraordinary long copyright term makes no sense. It
provides no further incentive for creation and provides little
additional income to creators or their families—except for a very small,
successful minority.

The ratcheting upward of copyright terms comes at a time when Internet
and other digital technologies have spurred a revitalization of the
world's public domain: the treasury of works that has passed out of
copyright. Thanks to digital distribution, public domain material is now
globally available for almost zero cost for study, enjoyment and re-use.
Repeated copyright term extensions means decades of copyrighted material
that might otherwise have passed into this universal library are now
trapped in deteriorating analog formats.

The extension of copyright term is opposed by law professors
<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2185402>, tech
companies, non
authors' associations and users
The additional 20 years of copyright protection amounts to a
misappropriation from the public domain. It inhibits the creation of new
works that build upon the past and exacerbates the orphan works problem
<https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/orphan-works-problem-time-fix-it>. Even
the U.S. Copyright Office has indicated that the copyright term may be
too long, and proposed options
for mitigating its deleterious effects.

In many countries, including six that are parties to the TPP
negotiations, copyright terms remain set at life plus 50 years—because
that term was established in law as a global standard by two copyright
treaties, the Berne Convention and TRIPS <https://eff.org/issues/trips>.
Until now these countries—Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan
and Vietnam—have resisted extending their copyright terms further,
because it would result in an uncompensated outflow of money to large
foreign corporations, and because it would endanger their peoples'
ability to benefit from their own rich cultural heritage

The current Berne standard of life plus 50 years is now under threat.
The USTR is taking advantage of the secret TPP process to renegotiate
it, hoping to firmly establish life plus 70 years as a new de facto
global standard.

*TAKE ACTION*: speak out now and help us fight back against backroom
deals that keep culture and knowledge locked up for decades.


If you are interested in writing your own articles, petitions or social
media actions against copyright term extension under the TPP, please
contact us because we have CC-licensed graphics that you are welcome to use!

Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Global Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jmalcolm at eff.org

Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161

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