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.

Filed Under: copyright, copyright terms, life + 70, tpp, ustr

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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Dec 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.

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