​NZ Publishers Call for Economic Evidence in TPP Discussions

Leaked documents suggest that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement may result in an extended copyright term. New Zealand’s current provision, as required as a minimum by the Berne Convention, is ‘life of the author plus 50 years’, and the suggestion is that it may move to ’life plus 70 years’. Life plus 70 years is standard in nearly all major western economies.

Leaked documents suggest that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement may result in an extended copyright term. New Zealand’s current provision, as required as a minimum by the Berne Convention, is ‘life of the author plus 50 years’, and the suggestion is that it may move to ’life plus 70 years’. Life plus 70 years is standard in nearly all major western economies including the United Kingdom, Singapore and Germany.

In response to speculation about an extended term of copyright and what the TPP may or may not include, the Vice-Chancellor of Auckland University, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, recently released a statement to the media saying that cost-wise the potential changes “will be significantly detrimental to local universities”. He goes on to suggest that a copyright term extension will “lock up our cultural heritage for a further 20 years, denying all New Zealanders access

Chief Executive of Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ), the agency responsible for licensing literary content to universities and other education sectors, Paula Browning says, “Copyright does not prevent access to content. It simply enables authors to make a living from their work. I find it incredible that the Vice Chancellor of our largest university has made a statement like this and it is interesting that no research is supplied to support his comments. How do we know what the impact of an extended term would be? Where’s the evidence that’s relevant to the New Zealand economy?”

Mark Sayes, Publishers Association of NZ (PANZ), Educational Publishing Group Convener says, “Our small but vibrant local publishing sector is essential to the education of our children. The New Zealand curriculum and many courses in our tertiary institutions cannot be taught without local content. It would be more productive for NZ if the universities were to position themselves as a partner in the creative sector rather than an adversary”.

“The creative sector has a vision for New Zealand to be a net exporter of intellectual property, an aim that requires strong support for creators here just as they are supported in our main markets overseas. And a lot of that creative content will come out of the university environment.”

A 2012 PWC Report on the Economic Contribution of Publishing in New Zealand showed that the sector employs just over 5,000 people and contributes over $380 million annually to the economy. Most of the authors of NZ education resources are teachers and former teachers.

ENDS

Tweet Challenge 5 (Copy. Write. authors and publishers edition): tweet us (@CLLNZ) with a copyright related issue you’d like to hear more about in our next edition.

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