Status of Copyright – Nov 2016

TPP and Copyright provisions

There have been several developments regarding copyright law, the most profound being that TPP appears to be dead in the water. TPP copyright provisions would have negatively impacted many countries in terms of costs to consumers, including Canada, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Viet Nam.

  • A New Zealand analysis disingenuously compares Australian with New Zealand impacts and claims that the New Zealand impact is less believable because it is three times per capita of the Australian estimate. However, Australia has less to implement, specifically the Life + 70 provision for copyright length (Australia already has this, New Zealand has Life + 50). Nevertheless the costs are high, at $ 55m NZD for New Zealand, a country with 4.5 million population, and $ 88m AUD for Australia, a country with 23.1 million population. Canada's cost based, on the New Zealand study, is set to be around $ 454m CAD, for a population of 35.2 million.
    • However, because John Key and his corrupt government is in the pockets of big media, they have actually passed all provisions required to meet the TPP guidelines, even after Obama has called an end to TTP promotion and the president-elect of the United States has campaigned against TPP and made a statement after the election that he will withdraw from the TPP in the first 100 days. Really this is a time-wasting exercise since these new provisions become law only if the TPP comes into effect, which requires 85% of GDP signatories, and without the US, that bar cannot be passed. Still, the political language is unclear and copyright length in particular may be extended without any reference to the TPP.
    • Note that this is the same government which implemented an ebook tax of 15%. Since this is collected by ebook providers (specifically, the big five of ebook publishing: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google)
  • Japan is in a particularly difficult position with extending copyright length as well as other provisions, as there are healthy creative communities which rely on current protections and fair use. Anime and Manga are particularly at risk. In addition, any benefits to Japan and Japanese creators would be far outweighed by increased costs largely to the United States media companies. Not only would certain creative traditions and markets be made illegal based on an alien law foisted upon them -- a law whose passing in the United States was solely based on the vast lobbying funds of the US media conglomerates. This is a corporate power and money grab of historic proportions.

WIPO Marrakesh Treaty Comes into Effect

In September 2016, Canada became the 20th signatory to the Marrakesh Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This is the first WIPO copyright treaty which expressly promulgates limitations and exceptions for consumers, rather than increased property rights for creators. Marrakesh becomes effective 30 September 2016.

Fifty one countries were signatories to the treaty, and twenty countries have ratified it, including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, North Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.

Marrakesh is not a law, per se, but rather a requirement on countries to include in their copyright laws, specific provisions regarding accessibility to works for the blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.

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