Every new year brings Canadians a wealth of material entering the public domain after 50 years of protection by copyright … until we ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, hastily signed by the Harper government just before we toppled it. The TPP jacks the copyright protection period up to 70 years.
Will Justin Trudeau use his majority to make Harper’s signature stick? U.S. pressure may be powerful. If parliament does not ratify, we may be harmed in many economic ways. Our interests, freedoms and sovereignty will be weighed against such risks.
Of course, extension of copyright is only one small aspect of the TPP. You might be more concerned about Bovine Growth Hormone getting into Canadian milk. (If so, here’s a petition for you.)
Battles over intellectual property rules are significant, maybe as significant as colonial battles over territory were in the past.
My view is that 50 years is sufficient to allow creators opportunity to profit from their efforts. It is sufficient to allow a return on investment for corporate interests who buy up copyrights, either to suppress them or to profit from them.
Locking up intellectual property behind copyright laws is not wholly beneficial to society. It has a stifling effect upon creativity, restricting use of some ideas to a dominant few. Public domain assets are not something we can give up lightly but here’s a light look at copyright creative chill.
“Stealing Home” by Terry Tucker and Andrew Fazekas was the People’s Choice in a Duke University contest
The U.S. would benefit from following Canada’s 50 year example, rather than imposing its 70 years on everyone, including its own citizens.
The TPP was negotiated in secrecy and shaped by multinationals for their own interests. I believe it now runs to 30 chapters of text. Will we simply skim it and click the “Agree” button?