We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TPP's Copyright Trap

Click here to access article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Capitalism is famous for encircling and fencing off areas of private property the major fruits of which can be mostly enjoyed by their "owners". For many decades we have witnessed the growth of "ownership" related to creative and intellectual works under this system. The owners can range from someone who is directly connected to the "property" to someone who merely purchases the ownership of that property. The latter is true because under capitalism nearly everything can be, and often is, converted into a commodity.  Now we see that this is another dangerous anti-social feature of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will accelerate inequality.
One of the defining battles in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is whether its signatory countries will standardize copyright terms lengths to a minimum term of the life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively set the maximum duration of copyright holders' monopoly rights to over 140 years. ....

But the world's leading economists agree that such an extraordinary long copyright term makes no sense. It provides no further incentive for creation and provides little additional income to creators or their families—except for a very small, successful minority.