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“Wartime extension” on copyright to be removed after TPP’s enactment

  • 2016-02-16 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: February 16, 2016 – p. 6)

 

 The Australian government notified the Japanese government that Canberra will annul “the wartime extension” after the enactment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, sources informed the Mainichi Shimbun. The wartime extension is an additional (10 year) copyright protection period for novels and music to compensate for insufficient protection during wartime, imposed only upon Japan as a defeated nation in World War II. Among the four TPP participating countries (Australia, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand) that impose the wartime extension, Australia was the first to express its intention to remove the extension.

 

 When the TPP signing ceremony was conducted in New Zealand on Feb. 4, Australia gave Japan a document saying “the Australian government decided to no longer exercise its right to the wartime extension following the effectuation of the TPP agreement.”

 

 Based on the TPP agreement, Japan will extend the copyright protection period for novels and other items from 50 to 70 years after death of the author. In light of this extension, Japan has called on other countries to invalidate the wartime extension, because it prolongs the extension period in addition to the 70 years set forth in the TPP. The wartime extension, however, is stipulated in the San Francisco Peace Treaty in which countries other than the TPP nations such as the UK and France participate, thereby applying the extension to Japan. Under the circumstances, the review of the wartime extension requires complicated coordination. For this reason, the TPP nations decided to put off removing the wartime extension from the TPP.

 

 In the meantime, Japan and the four other countries noted that the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), which comprises copyright administration organizations around the world, had adopted in 2007 a resolution to call on the international community to annul the wartime extension on the condition that Japan will extend the copyright protection period to 70 years after the death of the author. Taking such circumstances into consideration, the document bilaterally exchanged among participating countries upon the TPP agreement included the statement “dialogue (on removing the wartime extension) led by industries will be encouraged and welcomed,” and “relevant governments will discuss appropriate measures as necessary,” agreeing to continue monitoring moves of civilian organizations.

 

 For this reason, “The wartime extension will likely be annulled,” said a source connected to negotiations, but whether it will be actually removed remains to be seen. A Japanese government official welcomes Australia’s announcement on the removal, saying: “A government’s announcement has an impact (on other countries) and increases the possibility of invalidating the wartime extension.” The U.S., however, intends “to avoid giving the impression that the government yielded to Japan’s demand,” the official added. Therefore, Washington has not announced the removal and falls into step with the moves of the private sector.

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