The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 and the Copyright Term Extension. A Submission to the Senate Select Committee.(2004)
"There is a whole constituency out there with a strong view against copyright term extension and we are arguing that case." Mark Vaile, Minister for Trade (December 2003)
"Extending our copyright term by 20 years doesn’t really protect our authors, yet it still taxes our readers." Professor Andrew Christie, Director, Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, the University of Melbourne
"Perpetual Copyright On An Instalment Plan" Professor Peter Jaszi, Washington University
"A Piracy Of The Public Domain" Professor Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University
"A Gift To Intellectual Property Producers" Henry Ergas
"Intellectual Purgatory" Justice Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court of the United States
"A No-Brainer" Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate in Economics
"Actually, Sonny [Bono] wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever." Mary Bono
1. The first modern copyright legislation - the Statute of Anne - was an "Act for the encouragement of learning". The private interest in obtaining a reward for the production of creative works was subordinate to the greater public interest in supporting education and learning.
2. The extension of the copyright term as part of the free trade agreement inhibits the original purpose of copyright to encourage learning and education.
3. The extension of the copyright term as part of the free trade agreement also undermines the doctrinal notion that copyright protection is for "limited times" - rather than for in perpeutity.
4. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 1998 (US) is a poor legislative model for Australia to adopt as part of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004.
5. The main advocate for the copyright term extension was the Motion Picture Association of America - the United States copyright owner group, which represents firms such as Walt Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers.
6. The Supreme Court of the United States decision in Eldred v Ashcroft (2003) raises significant issues about the impact of copyright term extension upon competition policy, cultural heritage, and international trade.
7. The Federal Court litigation in Golan v Ashcroft (2004) raises further concerns about the impact of copyright term extension upon public welfare.
8. The District Court case of Kahle v Ashcroft (2004) highlights that the copyright term extension will create a large class of "orphaned" works.
9. The Public Domain Enhancement Bill 2004 (US) - or a mechanism like it - will be necessary to deal with the large number of "orphaned" works created by the copyright term extension in Australia.
10. The Australian Government did not follow the processes set out in the Competition Principles Agreement in assessing the impact of the copyright term extension.
11. The Australian Government failed to take account the recommendations of the Ergas Intellectual Property and Competition Review.
12. The Australian Government failed to account of the amicus brief by economists, including five Nobel Laureates -such as Milton Friedman.
13. The Allens Consulting Report provides no empirical evidence that would support the extension of the copyright term in Australia.
14. The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 will not provide uniform standards with respect to copyright duration in Australia and the United States.
15. There will be discrepancies in respect of works made by authors who died between 1928-1954; works made for hire; anonymous and pseudonymous works; moral rights; and performers' rights.
16. The copyright term of Australia will not be harmonised with major trading partners in Asia, the Middle East, Canada and New Zealand.
17. The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 does not provide international harmonisation with respect to user privileges.
18. Most notably, Australia has not adopted the higher standard of originality, and the open-ended defence of fair use that is present in the United States. As a result, Australia will provide higher levels of copyright protection than the United States.
19. The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 will have a deleterious impact upon culture in Australia.
20. The Australian Library and Information Association has reported: "The outcome is bad for libraries. It is bad for students. It is bad for researchers. It is bad for all information users."
21. The Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee expects a significant increase in the copyright fees that universities currently pay.
22. The electronic publisher, Project Gutenberg Australia, will find it difficult to enhance its on-line collection of books - because no copyright work will fall into the public domain for the next twenty years.
23. Australian children will pay more for storybooks. The works of AA Milne - the author of the Winnie-the-Pooh books - would have fallen into the public domain in 2006. They are now subject to copyright fees until 2026. Winnie-the-Pooh generates annual revenue of $1 billion for Disney and $6 billion at retail.
24. The scientific and non-scientific writings of Albert Einstein would have fallen into the public domain in Australia in 2005. Now schools and scientific institutions will have to negotiate permission to use the work and pay royalties for another twenty years. 25. Neil Armfield and Company B will face the possibility of artistic censorship for putting on innovative productions of the copyright works of Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett.
26. Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra will continue to have problems in performing classical music such as the work of Bartok because of the copyright term extension.
27. Screensound Australia will find it difficult to preserve significant films and sound recordings - such as Robbery Under Arms and the compositions of Percy Grainger.
28. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation will find it difficult to complete its Digital Conversion Project, because of the extension of the copyright term.
29. The extension of the copyright term is unnecessary given the short commercial lifespan of much copyright works. This is particularly evident in IT - with computer software such as Microsoft Windows 95.
30. The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 does not provide for the protection of traditional knowledge.
- Copyright Law,
- Copyright Term Extension,
- Orphan Works,
- The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004.
Publication DateApril, 2004
Citation InformationMatthew Rimmer. "The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement 2004 and the Copyright Term Extension. A Submission to the Senate Select Committee." (2004)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/matthew_rimmer/60/