Ridiculous: Why Is Any Country Supporting Locking In Life + 70 Copyright Term Protection?

from the pure-insanity dept

One of the key issues raised by the head of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, was that it was time to perhaps rethink our current copyright term of life plus 70 and lower it. There had even been some indications that even the maximalists at the MPAA and RIAA were actually (for the first time) open to the idea in her proposal to officially roll back the term to life plus 50 with the ability to "renew" for that last 20 years. When even the maximalists are making noises about reducing copyright terms, and Congress seems open to exploring the issue, you'd think that the folks over at the USTR wouldn't be out there trying to lock us into international agreements that require life plus 70 as a minimum. But you'd be wrong.

The folks over at KEI are putting together a letter to TPP delegates as they go through the latest negotiation, asking them to reject the life plus 70 requirement, noting that many countries that have it today (including the US) have shown indications that they regret such a long copyright term:
There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the USA, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.

The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are “owned” but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.

Life+70 is a mistake, and it will be an embarrassment to enshrine this mistake into the largest regional trade agreement ever negotiated.
Unfortunately, it looks like the only one who had been really fighting back against this proposal was Canada, and the indications are that Canadian negotiators are about to fold and agree to the life plus 70 requirement. There's a very important question here, which apparently no one in the USTR is willing to answer: why are they doing this? It makes no sense. All of the evidence suggests that having copyright this long has been bad for just about everyone, except perhaps Disney. The USTR has never even bothered to look at the issue, rather just accepting the idea that if the US currently has life + 70, it must lock that in permanently around the globe. Because.

It's pure insanity in which the USTR continues to push for proposals that hurt American jobs, innovation and the public alike.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    And you can't deal with the systemic problem of The Rich owning the gov'ts and setting all the rules without even acknowledging that's the major cause.

    If you can free yourself for ten seconds from the indoctrination that even mention of the class struggle is communism, you'll see that all forms of authoritarianism are simply The Rich waging class war.

    07:53:03[i-810-3]

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

    And nearly 70 years later we'll of course have to extend it to Life + 125 years or something like that. Because you know, people would never have created their famous works if they didn't know that their great-great-great grandkids could still get rich off of it over a century or two after they're dead.

    We gotta keep those dead people innovating somehow.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    Mike, I really don't know how you are surprised by any of this anymore.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    That happens for a lucky few whose works resonate with culture. Its main impact is to prevent derivative works, and force more creators to become avant garde, which is usually a quick route to poverty, f lucky works that survive in private collections, built up by people who specialise in buying low and selling high.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Does it really matter anymore? Mostly everything is available now and the regular people of the world will continue to ignore this nonsense anyway.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    want to get the letter together in a fucking hurry then! they are supposedly trying to get TPP all signed, sealed and delivered this weekend!
    as for the term, it's only to benefit, obviously, the immediate relations, of the immediate relations, of the immediate relations and all the label superceders that go along.
    as for the USTR, they are after anything that they can get, just to ensure that they instil their dictatorial attitude and that of the USG and entertainment industries heads on to everyone else possible! forcing deals through using threatening behaviour is bad enough, but this? it's disgraceful! they need, like the NSA, masde to pay dearly for what they are doing with no thought whatsoever of the consequences to anyone!

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Coogan (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    What's the reason that you
    can't make a video parody?
    M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!
    Hey there! You there! Stop there!
    You're stealing our IP!
    M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

    Mickey Mouse!
    Mickey Mouse!

    Forever let us hold our copyright!
    RIGHT? RIGHT! RIGHT! RIGHT!

    Come along and sing a song
    For only a modest fee!
    M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

     

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  8.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Math

    Let's do some math. I am 61 and was 12 when I first heard the Beatles. Paul McCartney is 71. Let's assume he lives to 80. (Year 2022). Ringo is only 2 years older so likely at least one of them will be alive at least until then, very possibly much longer. Plus 70 Years (2092). My son is 28. He would have to live to 107 to legally download "I Want to Hold Your Hand". He has no children but let's assume if he just had a child. My grandchild may be able to if he lives to nearly 80. Say he has a child at 25. Much of the music I listened to in my early teens will not be public domain until my great grandchild would be in his mid 50's. AND THAT'S NOT LONG ENOUGH ALREADY?!!! Life plus 70 is an appropriate sentence for a serial child rapist, not for a song copyright.

     

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  9.  
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    krish, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    We just want them to have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

     

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  10.  
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    John Snape (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Copyright Foolishness

    This is the main reason I'm releasing the copyrights on the pictures and videos I've created after 14 years. If I can't monetize my creations after 14 years, there's something majorly wrong with my sales abilities!

     

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  11.  
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    Aaron Wolf (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Someone said there are two OOTB's? This comment isn't junk, it's accurate.

     

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  12.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Corporate rights

    I believe the best way to coin the term is to call copyright exactly what it is: Corporate Rights.

    The public has rights to access information until they come under corporate right law.

    For the past 50 years, that has been what corpoate rights have been all about. Extending copyright to the benefit of corporations. Fair use has been decimated with knowledge, innovation, and sharing the things most harmed.

    What this has been is a way for the legacy studios and industries to control the past. They no longer have to compete with new competitors or new fields and shut down independent artists and writers who work outside of their systems of governance. That's been the way to control the markets. Why can't artists make money on Spotify? The market is controlled.

    Why can't people go to the big six publishers for a fair shake or deal? They're too busy trying to collude with Apple to control the markets.

    And why can the MPAA spy on people through TWC, force startup companies to shut down for innovative use of technology and basically resist any form of adaptation?

    Again. Control.

    And that control spreads to the TPP, India, Brazil, China, Australia, Belgium and other places where the individual rights of the public are trampled to give more and more rights to the corporations that have stagnated.

    In WWI, we had that very same type of corporate governance that became unbearable on a country. It was called the Treaty of Versailles. Now we call it the corporate sovereingty of the TransPacific Partnership.

    It was never about the control of the artists. It's always been about the control of how much money the artists make. The more that goes to the legacy industries, the more stagnant we become.

    The question isn't "Why is any country supporting this?"

    The question is "Why haven't we stopped this corporate abuse of power?"

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Corporate rights

    Governments are extremely static in their way of working. Companies can be a lot more "agile" in their way of doing business (not necessarily outside the laws). You can never hold companies out of legislating. If they want in, they will get in!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    A lot of the time I think you are just trying to piss people off by disagreeing with whatever the article says. I have to wholeheartedly agree with this comment. Mike: You need to unflag this comment.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

    SMMFH

    They just keep Mickey Mousing the fuck out of copyright.

     

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  16.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Mike doesn't have anything to do with flagging/unflagging comments, that's entirely community decided.

    That said this does appear to be one of the rare times blue is on the money, he/she's just poisoned their reputation so much that people no longer even listen to them, so it's just a case of reaping what they sow.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Maybe he is just on an permanent automatic flag because it so often appears he is just trolling. He is dead on on this comment. He is speaking about the golden rule. Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    For a lot of people, pretty much, it's very much a 'boy who cried wolf' scenario, even when blue doesn't post something trollish, at this point most people automatically assume any post by blue is going to be such, so they just click 'Report' automatically.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:02pm

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 6th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    Re:

    I vote for this to be included in Funniest/Most Insightful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    TD likes censorship, especially when it comes to free speech (that they don't agree with).

    if Masnick did not like censorship he would not have made if possible to censor posts, but he did.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 2:49am

    Re: SMMFH

    And Mickey Mansick too.

     

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  23.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    You might have a point of it were possible to censor comments, but it plainly isn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 3:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    You mean hide posts? That 'nefarious' action that is decided by the community when they see a post trollish or insulting enough that they mark it as such, until it reaches the threshold and is hidden so well that it takes the monumentally difficult action of... clicking once to reveal it?

    If you don't want to be sent to time-out over and over again, stop acting like a child with the ad homs, insults and name calling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    darryl just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Because dead people also have rights?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    No there's only one OOTB. I'm just a Bi-Polar maniac with Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Have my babies

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Nothing is being censored. One click and it is right there. I have posted things that disagreed with an article but I did it in a constructive way without trying to be insulting and have never been flagged.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2013 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: SMMFH

    darryl just hates it when due process or spelling is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Yes, it's an excellent example of a conditioned reflex.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), Dec 7th, 2013 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Corporate rights

    Jay,
    I like really liked your comment and (provisionally) plan to plagiarize the hell out of it...

    Any objections?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Dec 8th, 2013 @ 2:07am

    Re: Math

    Just one more thought. Figuring a life expectancy of 70 years everything written before 1873 is free and clear! My grandfather who passed in 1990 at the age of 100 wasn't even born yet.

     

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  34.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 8th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Corporate rights

    Nah.

    I tend to play with language a lot so I've been coming up with new digital and analog analogies anyway. It's just how I see the copyright issue which seems the best way to talk about it moving forward.

     

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  35.  

    Re: Math

    Now, let's consider the intricacies required to license said song as public domain in every country in the world. It's not pickiness, it's literally required to supply network services worldwide in several cases. There are several countries with terms even longer than Life+70: Mexico (Life+100), Ivory Coast / C˘te D'Ivoire (Life+99), Colombia (Life+80), Samoa, Honduras, Guatemala, and Saint Vincent and Grenadines (Life+75). If you or your children, grandchildren or greatgrandchildren happened to move to any of those countries, your greatgrandchild would be in his 80's when said songs enter the public domain, and your greatgreatgrandchild (!) on his 55's.

     

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  36.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    Because ootb declined the opportunity to create an account, somebody else did. Therefore, whenever he's called out on some crap, he says it wasn't him who posted it. There are some people who have posted comments under his "name" to mock him, so there are numerous people who have posted under that name.

    He's tried some very bizarre methods to counteract this (the "signature" with some random numbers that are apparently meant to "prove" it's the "real" ootb - hint to that idiot, it does no such thing). But, he's declined the very obvious methods to create an actual profile that would prove it's him posting (e.g. creating a profile with a different username, even if he just uses dashes instead of underscores).

    As for the "accuracy" of the above comment - even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and he tends to be a little more accurate when he's attacking general conspiracy-minded principles rather than simply attacking Mike, TD or overall business strategies.

     

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  37.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I got this one covered! -- Because The Rich want it!

    An AC who hasn't got a clue what censorship is. What a surprise. I suspect that if censorship actually existed here, we'd be free both of your crap and people hiding behind anonymity to post idiotic attacks. Fortunately for you, people here don't support censorship, though sometimes it seems like it would be nice...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 1:40am

    Re:

    People circumventing the idiocy of current copyright laws is being used as the excuse to curtail free speech, force other countries to abide by US law and stifle new and innovative business models that dare compete with the legacy players. Not to mention that art is being lost due to being orphaned and/or not commercially viable for restoration and preservation.

    So, yes, copyright is not really enforceable on the general population, but the things being done in its name need to be addressed. The best way to do this is to correct the copyright laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 4:26am

    Re: Corporate rights

    All solid points, though to be even more accurate I'd suggest calling them 'Corporate Privileges', not 'Rights'.

    'Rights' implies they are for some reason owed such control, that it is their 'right' to have it, and that it would be inherently wrong to take the control the law gives them away from them, whereas 'privilege' describes it as it's supposed to be, a temporary revocation of the public's rights, in order to better serve and enrich the public through the increased creation of more works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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