copyrightThe fantastic and informative Michael Geist has a great analysis in today’s Morning Links about the latest gambit in the copyright wars: a term extension which will protect sound recordings for an additional 20 years. Geist cites numerous reports done in other countries which suggest the benefit to artists from this extension will be extremely minimal. One report he cites—and a Canadian one, at that—says this:

“Adding 20 years of protection would contribute 2.3% to the present value of royalties under a 7% discount rate, assuming that the flow of royalties remains unchanged during the whole period. Under identical assumptions, extending the protection period to 100 years would contribute a mere 3.0% to the present value. This, however, is true only if the royalty flow remains constant over time. When the annual royalties decline rapidly over time, as is typical, the increase in present value would be considerably smaller.”

So, what’s going on here? Geist suspects that this relates to the ongoing controversy over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Earlier reports suggest that the US is trying to coerce other signatories to agree to copyright reforms which would match those which exist under the American system presently, Geist suggests that Canada might be implementing this somewhat lesser law (it’s part of a budget bill, not a constitutional reform) as an appeasement:

“The Canadian government’s strategy in recent years has been to enact reforms before the trade agreements are finalized in order to enhance its bargaining position…It may be trying to do the same here by extending term on sound recordings and hoping that that concession satisfies U.S. copyright demands.

It is so ironic to me that geographic restrictions remain such an issue in publishing, but seem to be eroding in copyright law. Amazon nagged me incessantly to change my account so I would be buying from the Canadian store. Yet my copyright laws here in Canada seem to be increasingly dictated by the Americans!

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