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SOME telecoms workers are being persuaded by their employers - chiefly BT - to worry that freelances holding onto their copyright could cause the industry problems and - sharp intake of breath - cost jobs. So-called doubts about the ownership of works in electronic transit - or liability for transmitting illegal copies - could prevent the telecoms giants taking part in this lucrative commerce, say the telecoms giants.

This daft notion is particularly attractive to telecoms giants because they are in the process of buddying up to media giants. Why? To maximise profits from the trade in words, music and visuals over the internet, of course.

However, after a Communication Workers' Union rep came along to the NUJ's Policy Committee to discuss the issue, it was agreed that all relevant creators' and telecoms workers' unions would be invited to a weekend conference at the CWU's training centre to chew it over.

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The Journalists' Copyright Fund - the trust which receives income from photocopying of freelance work in Norway via collecting society Kopinor - agreed to support the printing of the Creators' Copyright Coalition standard commissioning forms, by fronting £1400. These are now available from Acorn House (and from other creators' organisations) and an online version will shortly be available from the NUJ website at www.nuj.org.uk.

The JCF also supported the printing of the ABC Guide to Photographic Copyright proposed by the British Photographers' Liaison Committee (£3000) and the NUJ's forthcoming new booklet on copyright (£5600).

Freelance Industrial Council is the union body responsible for freelances affairs in England and Wales.


Jul/Aug 1999
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