Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: TPP, eh?

216 Responses

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  • izogi, in reply to SteveH,

    Honestly, I don’t see much reason why your family should continue to benefit from your creation 50 or 70 years after you die.

    One thing I find irritating is that copyright terms, and their extensions, all seem to be automatic and across the board, even when copyright owners have no interest or little incentive to bother going through the administration of making them available. Early in US law (possibly others?) granted an original copyright term of 14 years, with an option for an additional 14 years if the copyright holder bothered to assert that they wanted to retain their rights for that extra period. To me this seems like a more reasonable way to have done it than what happens now.

    When lobbyists for mega-corporations like Disney et al advocate that they want to keep earning on works which many decades ago they adapted from older out-of-copyright stuff, is it really necessary for their lobbyists to drag every other copyrighted work into the edges of obscurity as collateral damage?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Swan,

    Indeed, for Canada - a win for political protectionism;

    https://news.vice.com/article/canadas-dairy-cartel-isnt-going-anywhere-thanks-to-trade-deal?utm_source=vicenewsfb

    And what was 'given away' will be reimbursed by way of government subsidy for those farmers.

    It's another planet, for sure.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Deborah,

    Hello.

    But if it creates a revenue stream for them, then removing copyright restrictions also removes a tangible benefit for them.

    Yes but that benefit only exists because the scarcity was artificially created by copyright law temporarily making it illegal for people to say stuff simply because someone else said it first. That compromise only exists so there’s an incentive, and once that incentive has resulted in the work being created, with the creator making what they can in the allowed time, there shouldn’t be any reason to continue the distribution monopoly for longer than what was originally agreed.

    With physical goods or services, the scarcity is automatic from there only being a fixed amount of physical goods or a maximum about of work you can provide as a service. Under normal circumstances you can’t make endless income from it without continuing to work to produce, or selling off what you or someone else has produced previously until there’s none left.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to SteveH,

    It’s 50 (soon 70) years after death of the creator. No one will lose any potential income during their life time either way. Honestly, I don’t see much reason why your family should continue to benefit from your creation 50 or 70 years after you die.

    As Martin and and Russell have said above there is a distinction between master copyright and composition copyright. Master is 50 (soon to be 70 although the timeline on this is vague) after publication. Composition is 50/70 after death.

    So in New Zealand currently any recording released in 1964 or earlier is in PD, whereas the song is still in copyright assuming the writer was still alive in 1965.

    Thus Ruru Karaitiana's 'Blue Smoke' song is still owned by EMI (I think) whereas the 1948 Tanza recording by his group with Pixie Williams is public domain.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to izogi,

    One thing I find irritating is that copyright terms, and their extensions, all seem to be automatic and across the board, even when copyright owners have no interest or little incentive to bother going through the administration of making them available.

    It varies from country to country – in Europe there is a use it or lose it provision on older works in some countries. That said, the same countries have moral copyright which, in France in particular, never seems to expire regardless of passing time and deals that may or may not have been done. When Warners decided to colourise Capra works his family sued to stop – successfully as I recall.

    There have been cases of families successfully asserting moral rights on works that are otherwise in the public domain.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    As mentioned above copyright is an artificial scarcity created by the state .. It encourages people to create new works, the trade off is that eventually the work ends up belonging to the public.

    The problem with these long copyright extensions is that the dates that things join the public domain is now effectively after the death of anyone who enjoyed the original .... This makes the public's side of what was a reasonably fair bargain now meaningless

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Swan,

    “Canada did OK by continuing to protect dairy / poultry,”

    The small fraction of Canada that work in the dairy or poultry industry did ok. The other 99.9%, lost out by continuing to overpay for food. In particular the poor are most affected.

    Funny thing is, those we’d expect to uphold free-market principles and abolish farm subsidies are too chicken to challenge the farming lobby, if they’re not outrightly in cahoots with it.

    Farm subsides in the G8, it seems, has mutated from a post-WW2 food shortage relief programme, to a corporate welfare scheme that’s gotten too big to unpick.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    It varies from country to country

    Thanks for that, and I appreciate that copyright has a diverse history. Is anyone aware of a proper description of the reasoning behind NZ's copyright law? I've been trying to find some kind of official explanation since this discussion began, and while the Copyright Act, Consumer NZ and the Copyight Council all do an okay job in explaining the mechanics of what copyright is and how it works, none really get into why we have it in NZ.

    For me the only reasonable excuse is to create incentive, but I know not everyone thinks this, and maybe that's encouraged by such lengthy copyright terms giving an impression that it's more about letting creators retain control over distribution in perpetuity.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to SteveH,

    Honestly, I don’t see much reason why your family should continue to benefit from your creation 50 or 70 years after you die.

    I have mixed feelings about this, I see your point but I'm also conscious that for a number of enormously talented creative people their talent was only recognised late in their career or even well after their death. At that point their work started to generate income.

    I'm not sure there is any clean and reasonable solution but it is nice for the children of a creative person to benefit even if they themselves did not. Even if that benefit only comes from selling the rights to Disney.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Informed chat on RNZ (14 mins) by a university librarian and the InternetNZ head honcho Jordan Carter about potential impacts of TPP on IP.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Juha Saarinen brings up an unexpected consequence of the TPP which once again favours international sellers.

    The TPP also "preserves the free international movement of data", which the USTR tied up with individuals and families being able to do their online shopping "at low cost" among other things.

    That sounds like the TPP will sink New Zealand's (and Australian) plans to add goods and services tax to digital goods which, if correct, will delight the likes of Amazon and Apple but local retailers not so much.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Apparently NZ govt has leaked - this > NZ government leaks on TPP: copyright terms will go to life plus 70 years

    According to the bulletin, the TPP signatories will have to retroactively extend their copyright terms, giving longer copyrights to works that were created before the agreement was struck, and taking works out of the public domain and putting them back into copyright's restrictions.

    This is likely to bite even the USA in the ass, as there are many works that are in the public domain because they were not registered with the Copyright Office (prior to the abolition of the registration requirement in 1976) or didn't have their copyrights renewed.

    It is starting to look like unintended consequences or collateral damage from TPP might be quite large

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    BoingBoing:

    and taking works out of the public domain and putting them back into copyright’s restrictions

    I’m confused how the BB write-up reached that conclusion. I’ve skimmed the linked NZ government PDF, but even when reading the direct passage they’ve quoted I can’t see which part states that existing public domain works will be pulled back under copyright protection. In fact, it’s stated that the extension will take place over time, which to me suggests that we’ll more likely go through a roughly 20 year period when nothing new comes out of copyright, as opposed to extending copyright backwards over current public domain works. Have I missed something?

    Anyway, I’m still concerned by the costing of $55 million being used to fully justify the extension. This might be strictly correct if only considering a monetary amount New Zealanders will need to pay for old material that would have otherwise been free, but it doesn’t seem to take any account of the costs from not being able to legally access and use other material which the owners aren’t selling, or which might never have been found until it left copyright (again the ease of using Papers Past is a great example of this).

    Owners mightn’t be selling because they’re more interested in control of information than in money, or because they can’t be bothered to go through the admin of giving permission, or because they choose to charge much more than those who want it might be able to pay, or simply because they can’t be tracked down so long after creation. The last one is increasingly likely with terms being lengthened, and even worse when there’s joint authorship and so potentially multiple authors or inheriting owners to track down.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S,

    Has copyright overreached in its extension?
    All the time it seems to be easier to pirate art via the internet and with a younger generation believing it has a right to access material will the copyright holders be swamped with takedown actions and the like?
    I would like to see a more effective method of bogus rights holders as seen with the song happy birthday being punished or having to prove their rights. They effectively moved a song from the public domain by lawyering up and making it cheaper to pay a ransom.
    As for the whole TPP I've gone from anti to agnostic at best.
    In hindsight it might have been better to keep the smaller countries setting the rules and if the big players want in to our sandpit they do it on our terms not theirs.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's a real shame the blunt instrument of a 70-year term has got through

    But, hey, at least Eleanor Catton's(notional) great-grandchildren* will finally get to make derivative copies of The Luminaries without recourse to the rights-holder!
    Remember: it's death-plus-70 years, not just 70 years.

    * assuming average lifespans all round, of course.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Attachment

    According to the bulletin, the TPP signatories will have to retroactively extend their copyright terms, giving longer copyrights to works that were created before the agreement was struck, and taking works out of the public domain and putting them back into copyright’s restrictions.

    Wow – that’s something more than was expected. As of two days back the recording industry line was that it was not retrospective.

    That means that this collection, to be issued next week to finally make available New Zealand works that have long been out of print, may now be contrary to a copyright that Universal had no idea they had until yesterday.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Have I missed something, then? Apart from some random person asserting this on BoingBoing, where does the cited NZ government Q&A document actually say or even imply that copyright will be extended backwards over existing public domain works?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to izogi,

    Have I missed something, then?

    No you haven’t – unless I have too. I can find nothing in that document that supports retroactive removal from PD. And I’ve just been speaking with someone who I think would know and the one word response was “no”.

    Given the drive to get this stuff back into the marketplace by the industry I think I can say that such copyright reversion would not be aggressively asserted by many of the major players anyway*.

    *unless there was money to be made of course ...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think the analogies with real property are a bit misleading because there's very different taxation and policy considerations involved there. (Although cf the prohibition on perpetuities, and death duties.)

    It's better - I think - to analogise copyrights to a weird bond with a variable term and variable interest. And we are quite ok with bonds having a finite term, and that doesn't seem strange to us.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Weird headline alert: Trans-Pacific Partnership accord’s copyright details leaked on Ars Technica.

    You know, I don't think a backgrounder published by the New Zealand government really counts as a "leak".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Have I missed something, then?

    No you haven’t – unless I have too. I can find nothing in that document that supports retroactive removal from PD.

    I'm another one who cannot derive BoingBoing's interpretation from the source document cited.
    Pulling stuff back out of the public domain would be hugely problematic, starting with the question of who's got copyright on previously-legitimate "unauthorised" derivative works made once PD applied. No matter how rapacious the negotiators may be, they are also not utterly ignorant as to the concept of downstream consequences.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Deborah,

    is it also okay to remove real (land, buildings etc) property that people have inherited after a certain period of time

    Isn't that akin to what happens in jurisdictions with death duties, land taxes, asset taxes, and the like? Or compulsory acquisition? Or in jurisdictions where the state owns all land and only ever leases it (eg China)?

    The state can and does limit your ownership rights in real property all the time, including in ways that force you to give them up altogether.

    Whether this is OK or not is a different point, but if we must call copyright "property" (and I dispute they're analogous), there are certainly analogues to limiting peoples' rights in property.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Pulling stuff back out of the public domain would be hugely problematic, starting with the question of who’s got copyright on previously-legitimate “unauthorised” derivative works made once PD applied.

    Yep. Plus the fact that vast amounts of legitimately released music on vinyl, CD, Spotify and iTunes will become pirate. As will most of the Warehouse’s cheapie DVD racks.

    Many other countries will be able to manufacture these but New Zealanders will not be able to access them legally.

    These as an example.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Francis, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    What are the chances of Philip Morris winning? They have already lost Round 1 in the Australian courts. "Clearly, the High Court has decided that there hasn't been an acquisition of property and so the claims by the tobacco industry that Governments are seizing its property are simply untrue."

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-15/high-court-rules-in-favour-of--plain-packaging-laws/4199768

    Meanwhile, consumption of cigarettes has dropped significantly in Australia since the introduction of plain packaging.

    http://ash.org/tobacco-consumption-plunges-in-australia-plain-packaging/

    Wairarapa • Since Apr 2012 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Bryan Gould has a good analysis of what the TPP means for New Zealand. In short, bugger all.

    Such small gains as have been secured are so insignificant that Tim Groser, the Trade Minister, could not even remember what they were. The best he could come up with was a small reduction over time in the Japanese tariff on cheese.

    The truth is that this much-touted goal (dairy) was never even on the agenda. We were deluding ourselves - or our government was deluding us. The dairy industries of these large countries were too powerful and too protectionist to allow it to happen. New Zealand was just too small, too insignificant, to be taken into account. The negotiators knew, because we had made it clear, that we would take what we were given, even if it was virtually nothing - so much for "tough negotiation".

    He also mentions the major risks involved in the Investor/State Dispute Resolution provisions -- a subject which to my mind has been barely covered by our all-too compliant mainstream media.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

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