I agree with others that this is a good idea for the Wikimedia
Foundation to sign it.
Individuals and other organisations can also sign it following
On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 5:56 AM, Stephen LaPorte <slaporte(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
Hello advocacy advisers,
Current drafts of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a new trade treaty
currently being negotiated, contains language that would require countries
that sign the treaty to extend the length of the minimum copyright term to
life of the author plus 70 years. Global treaties currently require only
life + 50 years, so the TPP would represent a widespread extension of
copyright terms by 20 years, and make it hard to roll back the copyright
term in countries that already have life + 70.
The letter below, addressed to the TPP negotiators, directly addresses
this issue. We’re considering signing, because the letter is specifically
targeted at an issue (copyright term) that is core to our encyclopedic
mission, and affects (at present) 14 different countries.
Does the advisory group have any thoughts about joining the letter? We would
like to let KEI know if we will join the letter before December 7, 2013.
(We briefly mentioned TPP in the Wikilegal fact sheet on ACTA in January
2012. If anyone is interested in updating that document, feel free to get in
touch! See: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikilegal/ACTA
The letter was prepared by Knowledge Ecology International, and will be
joined by like-minded organizations including the Open Knowledge Foundation,
Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Free Software Foundation.
Full copy of the letter:
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
There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years
mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the USA, Mexico, Peru,
Chile 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.
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us know about the mistake. For legal reasons, I may only serve as an
attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation. This means I may not give legal
advice to or serve as a lawyer for community members, volunteers, or staff
members in their personal capacity.
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