Marshall McLuhan, What Are You (Not) Doin’?

All kinds of folks are in a tizzy over the not-tested, Obama-approved Trans Pacific Partnership and its laws of unintended consequences.

Representative sample from Tikkun’s Michael Lerner:

The TPP agreement violates a basic command of the Bible: that human beings must protect and act as stewards for the earth. Instead, it provides a path for corporations to overturn the most moderate environmental restraints on corporate avarice, much less the far more stringent actions that environmentalists tell us are needed to even begin to reverse climate change and preserve the earth for future generations. This is selfishness and materialism taken to a new height, and every religious communityu [sic] should stand up against it.

Who knew? But the problems go well beyond that – all the way to Canada, in fact, and all the way to legendary media maven Marshall McLuhan.

You splendid readers of a certain age might remember this:

During episodes of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Henry Gibson would occasionally look into the camera and ask, “Marshall McLuhan, what are you doin’?”

What McLuhan is not doin’, thanks to the TPP, is entering the public domain, since the trade agreement extends copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years.

From University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist:


[A] 20 year extension in the term of copyright [deals] a massive blow to access to Canadian heritage and [results] in hundreds of millions in cost. For example, there are 22 Governor-General award winning fiction and non-fiction authors whose work will not enter the public domain for decades. These include Margaret Laurence, Gabrielle Roy, Marian Engel, Marshall McLuhan, and Donald Creighton.

Call the roll:


Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko (The Fall of a Titan)
Winifred Estella Bambrick (Continental Revue)
Colin Malcolm McDougall DSO (Author, Execution)
Germaine Guèvremont (The Outlander)
Philip Albert Child (Mr. Ames Against Time)
Gabrielle Roy (The Tin Flute)
Jean Margaret Laurence (The Stone Angel/ A Jest of God)
Marian Engel (Bear)
Hugh Garner (Hugh Garner’s Best Stories)


James Frederick Church Wright (Slava Bohu)
Laura Goodman Salverson (Confessions of an Immigrant’s Daughter)
Edgar Wardell McInnis (The Unguarded Frontier)
Evelyn M. Richardson (We Keep a Light)
William Sclater (Haida)
Marjorie Elliott Wilkins Campbell (The Saskatchewan)
William Lewis Morton (The Progressive Party in Canada)
Josephine Phelan (The Ardent Exile)
Donald Grant Creighton (John A. Macdonald, The Young Politician)
Frank Hawkins Underhill (In Search of Canadian Liberalism)
Herbert Marshall McLuhan (The Gutenberg Galaxy)
Noah Story (The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature)
Francis Reginald Scott (Essays On the Constitution)

And that’s just Canada.

There are countless other works that will stay behind an intellectual property paywall for an additional two decades thanks to the TPP.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, you can argue copyright law round or flat, but there’s no arguing this:

The TPP is a total Trojan Horse – check that, Trojan Mule. Assuming the mule is “not imported for immediate slaughter.”

Really – you don’t wanna know.

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2 Responses to Marshall McLuhan, What Are You (Not) Doin’?

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    Is the U.S. copyright already 70 years?

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