Taiwan has refused to extend copyrights from 50 to 70 years – is the US Supreme Court listening?
- Taiwan has turned down a U.S. demand on Friday to extend copyrights on works including earlier Walt Disney movies for another 20 years as negotiators on both sides held talks on intellectual property rights.
Taiwan told a delegation led by Joseph Papovich, assistant U.S. trade representative, that it would not extend copyright protection to 70 years from 50 years, a Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs official said.
The U.S. Supreme Court considered on Wednesday whether Robert Frost poems and Mickey Mouse movies made more than 75 years ago should become public property or remain in the hands of their owners for another 20 years.
At issue is the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended the exclusive period that artists and corporations can control their creative works by 20 years.
As a result, thousands of well-known works, from the earliest Disney films to the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, were prevented from passing into the public domain. Billions of dollars of entertainment-industry profits are at stake.
“Taiwan is the first country the United States chose to discuss the issue. We need not rush into concession,” legislator Chen Chi-mei of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) told Reuters by telephone.
Negotiations continued over whether Taiwan should make copyright violation a public offence, Lu Wen-hsiang, deputy director of the Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, told reporters during a break.
Outside the Board of Foreign Trade where the negotiation was held, dozens of college students protested against the U.S. demand, shouting “Knowledge can’t be monopolised.”