The Open Knowledge Foundation has joined a group of civil society organisations and activists from around the world in an open letter opposing proposals to increase the duration of copyright as part of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
This follows on from another recent letter asking for greater openness around the TPP negotiations, which have been widely criticised for their lack of transparency or democratic accountability.
An excerpt from the letter is reproduced below.
Dear TPP negotiators,
In a December 7-10 meeting in Singapore you will be asked to endorse a binding obligation to grant copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author. We urge you to reject the life + 70 year term for copyright.
There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, 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.
American Archivists (SAA)
American Library Association (ALA)
Association for Progressive Communications
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
CIPPIC, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
Creative Freedom Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)
Free Software Foundation (FSF)
International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Modern Poland Foundation
Movement for the Internet Active Users
New Media Rights
Open Knowledge Foundation
Pirate Party Australia
Public Knowledge (PK)
Young Pirates of Europe
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.