In recent weeks, IFLA members have become concerned as they observed copyright changes in Jamaica and Canada that extend the term of copyright protection. A rich public domain and fair access to copyright protected material enhances creativity and the production of new works. Longer copyright terms withhold material from the public, benefitting rights holders and future generations, often without benefit to the original creator and regard to the public interest in the use of the work.
Our members are disturbed that in Canada, the government extended the copyright term for sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years. The change will affect a small number of artists, yet withhold music from the public domain that could enhance future creativity. Canada’s copyright law was modernized in 2012 in a process that included public consultation, yet this recent amendment was made outside of a public process.
IFLA members are concerned that in Jamaica, a bill awaiting royal assent will extend copyright from life of the author plus 50 years to life of the author plus 95 years, and will be retroactive to 1962.
The complete IFLA post has more on the changes along with background.