Stop the TPP's Copyright Trap in Malaysia
Officials are now working overtime to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secret controversial trade agreement in which the U.S. seeks to enforce excessive copyright term lengths onto its trading partners. Tell Malaysian negotiators that users around the world won't accept backroom deals that threaten culture and knowledge.
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When the length of copyright restriction is too long, everyone loses—except for big movie studios, music labels, and publishers. They make massive profit by maintaining a monopoly over our shared culture and knowledge.
That's why the MPAA, the RIAA, and other powerful industry organizations are lobbying the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to put lengthy copyright terms into the TPP, alongside similarly draconian provisions. Based on what we've seen from leaks, the USTR is planning to give them what they want.
Malaysia is one of six countries that have so far resisted expanding their copyright terms beyond the life plus 50 year international standard.
The USTR is attempting to bully other countries, including Malaysia, into extending copyright terms to the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after their death. In the case of works with corporate authors, the term would extend to 95 years from the first publication, or if not published within 25 years of its creation, 120 years from then.
This would threaten Malaysian creators, innovators, educators, librarians, archivists and users who depend on access to their shared culture.
This deal is driven by and for foreign corporate interests that have privileged access to the secret negotiations at the expense of users and the public interest as a whole. Such long copyright terms rob the public domain of new works. That means creators will continue to be limited in how they can use the building blocks of culture to create new works and expand on old ones.
If we cut out the common resources artists and authors would use to build their works, we squander the promise of the Internet and digital tools that could make it more possible to make, sell, and distribute creative works.
Tell Malaysian negotiators to stand firm against these unbalanced copyright term provisions, along with the other copyright restrictions in the TPP, that will lock the Pacific rim into following a bad U.S. precedent.