As TPP allegedly draws near to completion — although the participants have been saying this for a long time now — a new sense of urgency is beginning to spread among those worried by the adverse impact it is likely to have on many aspects of everyday life. This has led to an important declaration in Japan by a group of organizations particularly concerned about TPP’s copyright provisions, notably plans to raise the term of copyright to life plus 70 years. As Maira Sutton reports for the EFF:
Representatives of the Japanese digital rights organizations, MIAU, Creative Commons Japan, and thinkC, presented a joint statement endorsed by 63 organizations and businesses that describes the threats that the TPP’s copyright provisions would pose to Japan’s culture. The event was also streamed online, where over 15,000 users tuned in to watch.
Specific features of Japan’s culture are at risk from TPP:
In addition to opposing lengthy copyright terms, the anime and fan-art community are also concerned about the TPP’s criminal enforcement provisions. There is a particular section that says that “competent authorities may act upon their own initiative to initiate a legal action without the need for a formal complaint” by the copyright holder. The fear is that this would lead to a major crackdown on derivative works, including written or drawn fan fiction, recorded music covers of songs, or cosplayers, who may upload photos of themselves dressed as characters. These are all elements of Japan’s thriving “otaku” culture, which has spread around the world and brought in millions of dollars for Japanese creators.
As Sutton points out, both the copyright extension and the “non-complaint” provisions failed to pass in Japan because they were so controversial. The growing realization that TPP will force them on the country anyway may provide the wake-up call needed for more people in Japan to start resisting TPP’s unjustified strengthening of already-unbalanced intellectual monopolies.