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Japan Aims to Extend Copyright Until 70 Years After Author's Passing

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Amendment to be presented after March 8

Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported on Saturday that the Japanese government is moving to amend the country's copyright law to extend the copyright protection, for works such as novels and music, from the current 50 years after the author's death to 70 years (similar to the United States).

The move would take Japan closer to the provisions of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which, among many other agreements, includes a provision for all signatories to enforce a minimum level of protection for trademarks, copyrights, and patents. The 70-year copyright protection period is included among these provisions.

Japan was one of 12 countries that signed the TPP in February 2016, and it ratified it in January 2017. However, the TPP required at least six signatory states that together constitute more than 85% of the combined gross domestic product of all signatory states to ratify the deal in order for it to take effect. With President Donald Trump's signing of a memorandum to withdraw the United States from the agreement, its enforcement has been delayed.

The 11 remaining countries will sign the new "TPP 11" agreement on March 8. The new agreement shelves the provision to extend the copyright protection to 70 years, but the amendment to the Japanese Copyright Law will nevertheless be presented to the Japanese Diet after the TPP 11 is signed. According to Nikkei, this is at least in part because many countries that are part for the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have 70-year copyright protection laws.

Japan is also seeking to implement provisions for the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was finalized last December. Among other provisions, the EPA seeks to mirror the 70-year copyright protection period of the TPP. The Japanese government is aiming to have both the TPP and EPA come into effect by 2019.

Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency was considering a revision of the country's copyright laws as early as November 2015, about three months before the signing of the TPP in February 2016.

A 2003 amendment to the Japanese copyright law already puts the period of copyright protection for movies as 70 years from publication, from the previous 50 years.

Source: Nikkei via Hachima Kikō; Image via Encyclopædia Britannica

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