Japan trying to end wartime copyright extensions under TPP


The Abe government is seeking to abolish wartime copyright extensions in negotiations on the protection of intellectual property rights as part of Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade talks.

In talks with the United States, Japan is demanding that the special arrangements be scrapped if the period of protection for copyrighted works of art is extended under a TPP deal, informed sources said.

Under wartime copyright extensions, the copyright protection period is set about 10 years longer than usual for music and literary works created in the victor countries of World War II, including Britain, the United States and France.

Japan was required to honor the extensions when it signed the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty on the grounds that the copyrights of productions in the allied nations had not been protected in Japan during the war.

Among the 12 countries participating in the TPP talks, the United States, Australia and New Zealand are covered by the wartime copyright extensions.

TPP minister Akira Amari, told a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party in early July that talks with the United States were touching on the advisability of ending the wartime copyright extensions.

The TPP negotiations have been exploring extending the period of copyright protection from the current 50 years to 70 years.

“Japan should not miss this opportunity to demand the correction of the situation that only selected countries have the benefit of very long copyright protection,” a specialist on the Copyright Act said.

Abolition of the wartime copyright extensions for European countries such as Britain and France may be discussed in negotiations between Japan and the European Union on concluding an economic partnership agreement.