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NUJ responds to copyright consultation

THE NUJ's response to the government's consultation on copyright is online here.

The key argument is that the proposals are hopelessly skewed towards the interests of those - such as Google - who want to make money by re-using existing words, pictures and sounds.

At the heart of the present consultation... is an economic illiteracy: throughout, income from licensing copyright works is counted as a cost to the economy - whereas fashion design, for example, is counted as income. The NUJ shares the British Copyright Council judgement that this represents an "unjustified ideological shift".

The consultation is not alone in this: it has been argued by COADEC, the "Coalition for a digital economy" whose prime sponsors are Google and Yahoo!8, that there should be an exception to copyright for small businesses9. What effect would that have on other startups that hope to make a living by licensing copyright works? Should electricity or water be free to startup businesses?

Further, because of the narrow way in which Professor Hargreaves interpreted his brief - to stimulate growth - and because the government adopted the proposals arising from the report without fully considering the implications, the present consultation fails to ask questions about the "consequential amendments" that are absolutely necessary if certain of the proposals are to be implemented.

These consequential amendments include:

  • Provision to ensure that individual creators are rewarded for the use of their work; and
  • Provision to ensure that individual creators are entitled to be identified and to maintain the integrity of their work.

Without creators, of course, there are no creative industries. Too much of the focus of the Hargreaves report and hence of this consultation is on ways of re-using already-created works for profit. The economic purpose of copyright, however, is to reward those who produce new work, so that they may dedicate themselves to producing new works as professionals building their expertise. Without new works, the creative industries die.

A longer summary and more links to relevant responses will appear here soon.

One very significant development is that Consumer Focus is supporting the above principles: for a report of a meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 13 March on what creators and consumers can find in common, see the Creators' Rights Alliance site.


Might as well include the footnotes from the quoted portion...

8 accessed 21/03/2012

9 accessed 20/03/2012

Last modified: 24 Mar 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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