The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has joined 28 other organisations and 71 individuals in a letter opposing a copyright term of life plus 70 years in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Authors of the letter, sent to TPP negotiators on December 6, noted that there is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.
The letter continued, the primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are 'owned' but largely not commercialised, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.