Good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on behalf of the Canadian libraries about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the potential impact on our work.
My name is Victoria Owen. I'm the chief librarian at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. I am here today on behalf of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the Canadian federation of library associations.
I am joined by Susan Haigh, the research libraries' executive director.
Libraries are society's guardians of the public trust and specifically identified as institutions serving the public interest with regard to providing access and preserving the world's cultural and scientific heritage in all formats across all time periods. The library's role in the dissemination of knowledge promotes innovation, competition, and commerce, as works are used, new works created, and made available in the marketplace.
Librarians believe that chapter 18 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in its current form, will have a direct negative impact on the statutory rights that Parliament has claimed in the public interest and it poses a threat to the way knowledge is shared and culture is preserved in Canada. The most troubling articles include the mandatory extension of the term of copyright, article 18.63, and the requirement for a narrow and strict interpretation of digital locks, article 18.68.
Article 18.63 of the TPP requires that Canada extend its term of copyright from the current term of life of the author plus 50 years, the standard established by the Berne convention, to the American term of life of author plus 70 years.
Term extension to life plus 70 will result in a definite cost to Canada's historical and cultural materials. No new works will enter the public domain for 20 years from the time that such an extension passes into law.
Delayed for 20 years will be the artwork of Lauren Harris and Anne Savage, the organ compositions of Healey Willan, and the memoirs of Prime Minister Lester Pearson.
The lack of enrichment of the public domain is in direct opposition to the stated objectives in article 18.2. It is contrary to the provisions in article 18.3 of the principles, and article 18.15 where it states: “The Parties recognise the importance of a rich and accessible public domain.”
The TPP weakens the public interest by robbing the public domain of embellishment for 20 years. The fact that life plus 70 would halt entry of new works into the public domain renders meaningless articles 18.2 of objectives, 18.3 of principles, and 18.15, the statement on public domain.
Libraries and archives fund non-commercial digitization projects that depend on the ongoing release of new materials into the public domain. The digitization work and access to a rich array of materials will grind to a premature halt if copyright term is extended.
Digitization projects and researchers seeking to make uses of works still under copyright are already challenged to locate rights holders that are obscured by the passage of time and the lack of registration. The difficulty finding copyright owners of older works, known as orphan works, will worsen with the extension to the term of copyright.
The 70-year term brings no direct economic benefit to our creators in Canada, as we are a net importer of intellectual property content. Rather, the primary beneficiaries will be foreign publishers, and foreign film and music producers. Canadians will pay royalties to foreign corporations for an additional 20 years, and in all likelihood, the majority of all other works, those created by individuals and not corporations, will join the morass of orphan works.
Term extension will put much of Canada's cultural history out of reach and could have harmful effects on Canada's knowledge-based economy. Canadian librarians believe that potential negative impacts of chapter 18 would be mitigated by a side letter allowing Canada to manage term extensions, and meet the terms of the agreement through a supplemental system of application and registration, assuming it would comply with the existing international framework.
Such a system would benefit rights holders by giving them control over term extension and benefit the public interest by allowing many works to enter and enrich the public domain according to the Berne life plus 50.
In addition to the term extension, Canadian librarians take issue with the digital locks requirement. Article 18.68 of the TPP poses a more rigid interpretation of the digital locks requirements than those that were added to Canada's Copyright Act in 2012.
The digital locks provision in the TPP, without adequate legislative or regulatory protection to allow for the effective use of statutory limitations and exceptions, will make it difficult for Canadians to practice fair dealing, a users' right that was instituted by Parliament and repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.