Australia Pushes South Korea Into Life-Plus-70 Copyright Terms As Part Of Free Trade Agreement

from the finally!-now-south-korea's-creators-will-have-a-reason-to-create! dept

When it comes to free trade agreements, the concessions to incumbent copyright industries always seem to be a foregone conclusion. Australia has made some bold steps towards fair use to be implemented in its copyright reform efforts (and in the face of heavy criticism), but on other fronts, it seems more than willing to take several steps back to compensate for any forward momentum. While copyright reform hums away in the background, legislators in the foreground are laying the path for more of the same stuff that hasn’t worked anywhere else, like “three strikes” programs and web filtering.

Australia has just put the finishing touches on a free trade deal with South Korea, and hidden amongst the pages of legal wording is a 20-year gift to the copyright industries:

The Australian government today released the final negotiated terms of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), which is intended to give Australian businesses increased access to the South Korean market, and likewise for businesses from the Republic of Korea conducting business in Australia.

Under the terms of the agreement, Korea will extend its current copyright laws by 20 years to harmonise its copyright laws with Australia, so that both nations will have a copyright term of “not less than the life of the author and 70 years after the author’s death”, or 70 years after the first performance, recording, or publication of a work. The transition arrangements give South Korea two years to implement the copyright changes.

This puts yet another country on the Bono/Disney gold standard and helps ensure South Korea’s public domain will be as impoverished as Australia’s and the United States’. This must be the “level playing field” corporate copyright holders envision when they speak grandly about the tech industry “pitching in” to make sure the incumbents are still around to collect these royalties a half-century from now.

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Comments on “Australia Pushes South Korea Into Life-Plus-70 Copyright Terms As Part Of Free Trade Agreement”

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Anonymous Coward says:

are all negotiations finished on this then? no chance of S.Korea catching on and removing or renegotiating this part?

what the hell has Australia gained out of this? surely what it has done, like everywhere else, is make things so much better for the entertainment industries IN THE FUCKING USA AGAIN! what the hell is going through the minds of these people when they do things like this? i could understand, though still completely disagree, if the gain was for the industries in their own country and for their own artists, but to keep giving these ridiculous conditions and benefits to someone else, doesn’t make any sense to me!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

what the hell has Australia gained out of this?

They gain any taxes those companies may pay on the extra revenue from stuff created by people who died between about 1944 and 1964 that is sold in South Korea?

A stupid reason, yes. But from Australia’s point of view, there’s no downside since THEIR copyright is already that long.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“what the hell has Australia gained out of this?”
The same as always America’s gratitude, when it comes to IP, Copyright, and Patents, we always doy as the USA tells us to do.

Big Content own the US government (with their “lobbying” and donations), the US government tells others “Do this to keep being friends” and the Australian government says “Sure… We love you USA” (and gets out the lube, ready to be pounded in the…. I digress).

You only need to look at the fact the the Australian govenment is a backer of the TPP, and that they are looking at graduated response programs (which have been shown not to be effective), that their secret service spies on the US and then give the information to the US (so the US agencies can say their not spying on US citizens), to see that they are so enamoured with the US, they’d rather help out US big business than do right by their citizens.

PaulT (profile) says:

In before the inevitable troll claiming that South Korea hasn’t yet created any culture worth watching just because they’re so ignorant that subtitles scare them.

Sadly, that’s so much more reliable a response to this argument that someone actually giving a reasonable, measured reason for such a copyright length that’s backed by any real evidence. What, exactly, stands to be achieved from the extra 20 years other than easy profit for corporations?

David says:

Re: Re:

What, exactly, stands to be achieved from the extra 20 years other than easy profit for corporations?

Nothing that would be more important. The Taliban may have levelled the Buddhas of Bamiyan, but destroying the access of the public to culture can be done much more thoroughly and systematically if you let the content marketing empires buy your conscience.

They pay the decision makers well.

Krista says:

Life + 70 was already required under KORUS

The requirement of a copyright term of life plus seventy was already required in Korea under the terms of the US-Korea FTA (also known as KORUS). Korea did not agree to anything new that it hadn’t already agreed to with the US See Article 18.4.4 of the final text here:

David says:

What's with "life +" anyway?

I can perform the Yiddish songs of Mordechai Gebirtig freely since the Nazis were gracious enough to kill him in the Krakowice Getto in 1942, making his work enter into the Public Domain at least in countries following the “life+70” rule. In contrast, I will never be able to perform the work of Sholom Secundam since he had the audacity to live in the U.S. beyond Walt Disney’s demise, and consequently the ever-shifting retroactive copyright extensions keeping Mickey Mouse in Disney Corp.’s claws will also put songs like “Dos Kelbl” eternally out of the public’s reach as collateral.

Any murderer killing any creator of cultural works sufficiently before 1966 (the year Walt Disney died) has caused works to be available to the public that otherwise would have been kept eternally from it and has in this way enriched our culture immensively.

Can we please stop this perversion?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I’ve figured it all out.
Because it has taken so long for material to be released in Oz, they want to extend the copyrights so that there is a reason for corps to finally get around to releasing it to 26 million potential customers. If there wasn’t copyright there would be no money in doing it and Oz would never get these things.

Or they could point out that content no longer needs to be sailed to Oz, that the “internet” could let them get content there even faster and that they will not change the laws to suit companies who treat them like Ike treated Tina.

But then I live in a fantasy land where it should not be Governments job to protect a business model that refuses to move forward and become more profitable.

Anonymous Coward says:

To fill in some of the background. The PROPOSED copyright reform that includes fair use stuff is merely a proposal by a quasi government body called the Australian Law Reform Commission – when given a brief, they research and then propse changes to laws, but it?s then up to the government and ministers what proposals to act on. I assume the stuff that grants us extra rights will not be adopted.

As for the free trade stuff and forcing the Koreans into something, that?s purely Australia towing the line at the request of the US government. We have no interest in it but ourselves get forced into these things with the free trade agreements involving the US.

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