Oh WikiLeaks, the gift that keeps on giving. Yet another fascinating finding from the papers is the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, which covers copyright law. The US has been negotiating it in secret, and several of the provisions are very noteworthy. Among them, a continued emphasis on SOPA and PIPA type legislation–both very restrictive anti=piracy laws that Big Media wants which were nonetheless rejected as being too ambiguously restrictive. and open to abuse in. You can read more in the above link on various provisions but here’s a standout:
Only the United States and Australia oppose a provision limiting Internet Service Provider liability (QQ.I.1); U.S. copyright holders would like ISPs to be held liable for hosting infringing content. The United States also proposes extending copyright to life plus 95 years for corporate-owned copyrights. Hollywood consistently presses for longer copyright terms and it is doing so here.
So there you go–Mickey Mouse and Superman would be safe under this change (Mickey Mouse debuted in 1928 an would alreayd be in the public domain if the Bono Act hadn’t passed.) The TPP proposal is said to be a “wish list for Hollywood” and while you can argue both sides of it, it is indeed noteworthy. Hopefully Jeff Trexler and Nat Gertler will be along in the comments to expand on my rudimentary knowledge here.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.