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The NAFTA revision, with congressional approval, might mean a copyright term of life of the author plus 75 years. Or maybe not.

September 4, 2018

An ambiguous press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative sent copyright lawyers scrambling for answers.

On Monday, August 27th, the Trump administration announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. According to government officials, the deal will lead to freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth. 

Here was the item that caused terrific confusion: A fact sheet originally put out by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative indicates that the copyright term would "extend" to 75 years.
Currently, the copyright term for most works is life of the author plus 70 years. If what is meant by the announced extension is life of the author plus 75 years, it would represent five more years of copyright protection — a modest amount, but certainly a noteworthy and potentially controversial one as a slew of works were set to begin pouring into the public domain this coming January for the first time in decades. The fact sheet also indicates that the copyright term will be extended for works "like song performances," so it also possible that this designated term would pertain to certain classes of authorship. 

But then there are works of copyright authorship with a term of 95 years. And works from anonymous authors. 

Read more here.  

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