From the inimitable Michael Geist comes this little tidbit that Japan is considering extending its standard copyright from Life-Plus-50 to Life-Plus-70.
What makes this especially worrying is that Canada, one of the last Life-Plus-50 bastions, is, like Japan, considering participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is facing pressure from TPP leader America to similarly extend copyright to 70 years.
Chris Meadows earlier reported for TeleRead about a study that proves longer copyright terms don’t actually keep works available and thus benefit their creators. I hope Canada (and Japan) don’t cave to the pressure. I am all for creators benefiting from their work, but it seems to me that having their entire lifespan plus 50 years to do so is plenty of time for them to do that.
I think all creators, whether wittingly or not, draw from and are inspired by the works which came before them. I think those who come after them have just as much right to draw from their works, and I think that’s why the social contract of copyright was initially designed—you get a span of time to exploit your work, and then it returns to the public domain for the enrichment of everyone, same as you were enriched by what came before you.
If I published a work tomorrow, at my current age of 35, and then lived to 90 (as three of my four grandparents did) then lifetime-plus-50 would give me and my descendants 105 years to exclusively control (and profit from) my work.
Isn’t that enough?