tppAre you wondering what effect the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have on copyright? According to the New Zealand government (PDF), the main effect will be to require countries that currently have a life + 50 year copyright to extend it to life + 70 year, to harmonize with the other countries that are already on life + 70. Currently, only about half of the TPP members observe a life + 70 year copyright.

The change will also increase the rights of performers of copyright works, such as musicians and actors. New Zealand’s copyright exceptions, current or future, will not be affected, nor will New Zealand be prevented from undertaking a review of its copyright laws. (Unless, one would presume, they want to shorten their copyright period.) New Zealand ISPs will not be required to terminate accounts for copyright infringement the way many US ISPs do.

Also of interest is this bit:

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).

That’s rather interesting, given that in the USA there’s no “no-copyright-issue” exemption in the DMCA—it’s illegal to break DRM for any reason. (There is a specific exemption for handicapped-accessibility issues, but not one for playing imported DVDs.)

The document goes into the TPP treaty’s other effects as well, such as on tariffs and medicine, but the copyright one is the main area of interest to TeleRead readers.

Will Kiwis (and residents of other life + 50 countries) be willing to extend their copyright by 20 years after the creator’s death? Or will they decide enough is enough? It should be interesting to find out.

(Found via Ars Technica.)


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