NZ government leaks on TPP: copyright terms will go to life plus 70 years

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Accidentally confirmed? Were they not supposed to include an entire page worth of commentary?

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Wouldn’t the retroactive seizure of derivative works based on material that had been in the public domain when it was created be a non-judicial taking? There are also a fair number of US works published before 1923 whose authors died after 1945 that will suddenly be covered by copyright.
example: Suicide in the Trenches by Sigfried Sassoon became part of the public domain in the US in 1974 and if this goes through will suddenly be covered by copyright until 2037…


Copyright with such long terms is anathema to the purpose of copyright. Copyright is supposed to advance the arts and sciences by securing exclusive rights to creators for limited terms. Life plus 70 years is far, far in excess of anything that actually promotes the advancement of the arts and sciences. These terms promote nothing except corporate interests and greed. In fact, terms such as these are actively serving to retard advances in the arts and science. It has to stop.


To quote some document, from somewhere, written I don’t know when - probably irrelevant, but…

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, 
by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors 
the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

If “limited times” translates to life + 70, then how come “bear arms” doesn’t translate to “wield a thermonuclear device” - they’re both pretty much the same distance from the intent aren’t they? (ducks)


Here’s the full text of the intellectual property section, for those who don’t want to download a PDF:

What changes will be made to intellectual property laws?

TPP harmonises intellectual property rules across the 12 countries which has required compromise from all parties.

New Zealand currently has a 50-year copyright period.2 However, half the TPP countries, and almost all OECD countries, have a 70-year period for copyright works. TPP requires New Zealand to move to70 years as well, but allows for a transition to do this over time.

This change could benefit New Zealand artists in some cases, but the benefits are likely to be modest. Extending the copyright period also means New Zealand consumers and businesses will forego savings they otherwise would have made from books, music and films coming off copyright earlier.

The net cost of extending New Zealand’s copyright term from 50 to 70 years will be small to begin with and increases gradually over 20 years, reaching a relatively constant level after that. Over the very long term, including the initial 20-year period,the average annual cost is estimated to be around $55 million.

New Zealand will also provide greater rights to performers of copyright works such as musicians and actors.

Apart from these two changes, TPP does not affect what is or isn’t subject to copyright. New Zealand will maintain its current copyright exceptions and will not be prohibited from adopting new ones in the future.In addition, New Zealand will not be prevented from undertaking a review of its copyright laws.

New Zealand has, however,agreed to extend its existing laws on technological protection measures (TPMs), which control access to digital content like music, TV programmes, films and software. Circumventing TPMs will be prohibited but exceptions will apply to ensure that people can still circumvent them where there is no copyright issue (for example, playing region-coded DVDs purchased from overseas) or where there is an existing copyright exception (for example, converting a book to braille).

New Zealand will not need to change its laws on parallel importing or require internet service providers to terminate accounts for internet copyright infringements. In addition, TPP will not affect current New Zealand law on software patents or require methods of medical treatment to be patentable.

2 This means that copyright in music recordings and films continues for 50 years after they were made. Copyright in books, screenplays, music, lyrics and artistic works continues for 50 years after the death of the author.

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I’m a patent attorney and most definitely concur. For copyright, I’d say there is not even the semblance of balance between the interest of the copyright holder and the public. And these days, with DRM, there is no guarantee that the copyright holder is going to uphold its end of the bargain either. Works can get lost before entering the public domain.

20 years from the date of release would be fair enough, in my opinion.



As noted in foot note 2 (replacing 50 with 70), this would actually be a reduction in US term length for corporations (from 95/120 to a flat 70). I doubt Disney would go along with this. Likely something is being left out.

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I posted a reply with what seemed a valid concern (70 < 95) and it was promptly deleted. If I’m being blocked then say so.

Personally, I refuse to creat any artistic works until I can sleep soundly knowing that my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren will still be benefitting from my contributions to culture.

What the TPP is promoting is just a another half-assed effort to protect creativity.

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Once you get it, strip the DRM.

Yes, it is illegal - if you get caught.
But wait for enough time, often low few decades is enough and time flies. Then you can be the celebrated only remaining source of cultural wealth.

See the various BBC footages unearthed here and there. And various other techno-cultural artefacts, “liberated” from workplaces decades ago.

The crime of today can get you quite some points tomorrow.


Agreed. 20 years seems to be reasonable to me. Of course we are dealing with people who will take money from the corps and do whatever they are told so reasonable doesn’t apply.


and taking works out of the public domain and putting them back into copyright’s restrictions
New works that were derived from these public domain works will become, at the stroke of a pen, illegal.

Maybe I’ve missed something, but where does it say this? I can’t see it in the linked PDF or in the section quoted here, and “increases gradually over 20 years” seems to suggest that a backwards extension over existing public domain works very probably won’t occur.

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Basically, they’re turning piracy into a moral imperative.


Only if you’re in a country with a DMCA-like act, I think. Suppose you ship the work off to a neutral country without such a law and open it up there… It’d still be illegal to distribute, but as an archive, it could work; once the term is over (or once the revolution comes), you can export it back.

Sort of a Svalbard Repository for cultural seeds…


Or have it all over Tor and Freenet and all the world’s sneakernets, in enough copies that nobody can catch them all.

A lot of forbidden knowledge can fit on a 8-terabyte disk. Somewhat less but enough for most practical purposes can be achieved with even just a 8-gigabyte thumbdrive.


I’m not talking about civil disobedience. My idea was for a legal repository for future use.

Though civil disobedience is good too…


Legal or not, the availability itself is the most important part. You don’t ask where that service manual you desperately need came from; you ask if it has the schematics you need.


Both are good. Get the job done / reform the system.


Certainly. Swarm the problem from all directions. Assigning coders to the crypto/P2P stuff and lawyers and journos and lobbyists to the PR/law angle won’t even fragment the forces.

Lack of firm centralized direction will not alienate the often strong-minded individualities, and while there will be clashes, it will somewhat self-organize at the end. Go for ant-hill strategy; it is a highly organized enterprise, with specialized workers, but self-organized from a few rules. Even the queen is not micromanaging the building but just sitting there and emitting a gradient of pheromone concentration.