[d at DCC] [faircopy] Meeting notes - Duration of Copyright, formalities

Russell McOrmond russell at flora.ca
Sun Aug 30 18:06:57 EDT 2009

Chris Brand wrote (In the Vancouver Fair Copyright list):
> I fully intend to include "renegotiate Berne" in my own submission,
> but I'm going to emphasize the stuff that I think we can win on in
> the shorter term.

  Just a quick note that Berne is treaty number 1 at WIPO, and each of
the 5 other copyright treaties (Yes, there are only 6 - and the USA
hasn't ratified them all eithor!) are effectively amendments to it.


  A tiny number of old-economy executives were able to get the NII
policy laundered through WIPO in 1996, so it is far easier to amend
Berne than people who don't want to see specific changes like to
suggest.   The 1996 treaties diverge from Berne, and basic copyright
concepts (into Paracopyright, etc), far more than creating a database
and requiring registration would.  Berne simply says "The enjoyment and
the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality".
There is nothing in this language that suggests that registration can't
be required after a small initial registration-free term of copyright.
Remember that this language was from 1886, long before the concept of
our current online registration and computer databases could have been
conceived even by science fiction authors.

  Changes like this are the norm.  If you look at Berne it says
copyright expires 25 years after a photograph was taken for instance.
This is amended by WCT to no longer allow this to be followed, meaning
instigating life+50 for photographers.  Just as quickly as copyright can
be extended, it can be made reasonable.

WCT Article 9
Duration of the Protection of Photographic Works

Which links to the part of Berne it amended:

 Life of unknown/unknowable photographer +50 years for photography is
simply unreasonable.  Not as unreasonable as DRM, but still unreasonable.

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
 Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
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