UK Artists - Fight For Your Moral Rights

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Wednesday, 31 August 2011 00:00

The UK Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has announced its intention to conduct an inquiry into the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and the Government’s response to that Review. According to the UK Government website the inquiry will focus on "The recommendations set out in the Hargreaves Review on Intellectual Property and the Government’s plans for the implementation of its recommendations." They are seeking written submissions from individuals and companies about the proposals contained in Professor Hargreaves review of copyright. Every creative should make a submission, the deadline is 5th September 2011.

Concerns with the Hargreaves Review of Copyright

  1. The moral rights of authors are not automatically granted as in other EU countries.
  2. Moral rights have still not been made unwaivable as in other EU countries.
  3. No sanctions are proposed for the removal of digital copyright information from digital works.
  4. The review proposes allowing orphan works to be used for commercial purposes.
  5. That remedies for unauthorised use are restricted for those who have not registered their works.
  6. Creators are not given a level playing field with industry.
  7. Artists rights have not been recognised as human rights by the IP review.

These are serious matters that will adversely affect every creative in the UK. The UK Government appear to be trying to push these proposals through at speed in advance of any EU directive on the harmonisation of copyright and the proposed treatment of orphan works. This is unfair and will damage the already fragile business prospects for the UK's creative citizens and small businesses. If you want to influence the review -

  • Present your submission to the UK's Intellectual Property Review Committee.
  • Do it by 5th September 2001, the deadline, do it now!
  • Your future livelihood is at risk, every artist who cares about their rights and ability to make a living needs to make a submission. We explain below how you can do this.

The Intellectual Property Review Committee Members

The members of the committee are noted below, their name, their party, and what their political interests are. Click any name for much more information about that MP as recorded on the UK Parliament website. A brief scan through the list below reveals that none of the MPs on this committee has expressed any political interest in or commitment to the arts, intellectual property law, copyright, orphan works, or the particular concerns of small creative or on-line businesses. One MP has not listed any political interests at all, we assume this must be an error.

  • Mr Adrian Bailey (Chair) Labour/Co-op; Co-operatives and mutuals, urban regeneration, animal welfare (anti-hunting with dogs), taxation, economic policy, child protection policy.
  • Mr Brian Binley Conservative; Business, local government.
  • Paul Blomfield Labour; Universities, education, housing, voluntary and community sector, youth affairs.
  • Katy Clark Labour; Equality, human rights, economic and social justice, transport, environment.
  • Rebecca Harris Conservative; Small business, education and skills, planning.
  • Margot James Conservative; No political interests.
  • Dan Jarvis Labour; Defence and security, policing and immigration, business, innovation and skills, health.
  • Simon Kirby Conservative; Business.
  • Ian Murray Labour; Education, services for disabled people, social justice, equal opportunities, environment, conservation, business.
  • Mr David Ward Liberal Democrat; Education, community cohesion.
  • Nadhim Zahawi Conservative; Business, foreign affairs.

When making a submission it should be assumed that the committee members need guidance to understand the concerns of creative people. Do not assume they understand moral rights, copyright, orphan works and the concerns of creators about these subjects.

Where and How to Make your Submission

The preferred method is by email to this address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Submissions must be emailed by Monday 5th September at the very latest.

NEWS FLASH! Friday 2 Sep 2011 15:45 The mailbox for the above email address is full and is rejecting submissions. We have written to the UK Government and Intellectual Property Office personnel to request this problem be fixed as soon as possible. This notice will be updated when we know the mailbox is ready to accept submissions again. Because of this problem we have asked for an extension to the submission deadline.

NEWS FLASH! Monday 5 Sep 2011 10:55 We are told that mailbox issue is fixed. Send submissions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it AND also to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The second email address has been provided in case further issues arise with the biscom email address. We have asked the committee chairman to extend the deadline for two further days to accomodate those who have been unable to submit since Friday and may be away on business today. Hopefully this request will be granted.

NEWS FLASH! Tuesday 6 Sep 2011 13:30 UK Business Innovation and Skills have now confirmed that they will accept submissions sent before close of business on Friday 9 September. If you missed your opportunity due to the mailbox being full you now have another chance to make a submission to the Inquiry Committee. Use it!

The commons select committee has published the following guidance for written submissions -

Written evidence should consist of the following documents:

A covering email containing:

  • name and contact details
  • any request to give oral evidence
  • any request for information to remain confidential

An attachment containing:

  • a summary of the main points you are making
  • a brief introduction about you
  • factual information you would like the committee to be aware of
  • any recommendations that you would like the committee to consider including in its report

The attachment should be

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length / run to no more than eight sides of A4 paper;
  • as far as possible comprise a single document attachment to the email;
  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • have numbered paragraphs;
  • be in Word or Rich Text format (not PDF) with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

If you think it would help you to see submissions made in the past by other individuals and organisations you can see all the submissions made to the original Hargreaves review of copyright on the UK IPO website.

What to Include in your Submission

This will have to be in your own words, expressing your own views, we cannot write this for you. We have however summarised the main concerns with regard to the Hargreaves review and provided a little more detail with links to further information to help you.

The moral rights of authors are not automatically granted as in other EU countries. It should not be necessary to assert your moral rights as at present under UK law, this should be an automatic right granted to all UK citizens. Further information about moral rights is given at this link.

Moral rights have still not been made unwaivable as in other EU countries. The right to be identified as the creator of a work should be absolute, the law should prohibit any person or organisation from requiring that the creator waive their moral rights. It is illogical to bring forth legislation for the licensing of orphan works when the law as it stands has no provisions which will prevent or significantly reduce the creation of orphan works

No sanctions are proposed for the removal of digital copyright information from digital works. At present it is necessary to show that removal of digital copyright information has been done with intent to infringe before it can be recognised by the courts as an offence under current UK legislation. Yet worldwide, every day, millions of digital works are having their digital copyright information stripped rendering these works as orphans.

This is morally wrong, it is the equivalent of physically removing a signature from a painting, an act that all would agree was reprehensible. Yet Professor Hargreaves, knowing this, has recommended the commercial exploitation of orphan works. This will only make it more difficult than ever for creators to make a successful business when there is huge rersource of orphan works to exploit, a situation which will only get worse as time passes.

The review proposes allowing orphan works to be used for commercial purposes. There is no proven need for orphan works to be commercially exploited, and Professor Hargreaves said that copyright law should be evidence driven. There is no published evidence that shows that UK industries are disadvantaged through being unable to commercially exploit orphan works. There is no doubt a desire with many sectors of the UK industry, such as publishing, to have commercial access to orphan works at a price and on terms below what the rightful owner would require. This is robbing Peter to pay Pay, where Peter is the creator. This is unjust and unfair. There may be a case to permit orphan works to be used for cultural purposes, such as in libraries or museums, providing that a precise definition of cultural use can be defined and agreed.

That remedies for unauthorised use are restricted for those who have not registered their works. Registering creative works at a national level is completely impractical in a global market. It will lead to anomalies of the type already exposed by the US system of copyright registration where a creators remedies for infringement are compromised if they have not registered that work in the USA. If every country were to go down that road, as could happen, creators would be in an impossible situation, needing to register their work in every country, but unable to afford the time and expense of doing so. If registration has to come into the equation it should be a global system. Such a universal system already exists and is supported by the PLUS Coalition.

Creators are not given a level playing field with industry. Industry at present can strip digital copyright data from creators work, not credit them, require creators to waive their moral rights or risk losing a contract, assign their copyright or lose a contract, all of which impose grossly unfair terms on the creator.

Artists rights have not been recognised as human rights by Hargreaves IP review. Both the UN and EU Human Rights act have declared that artists rights are also human rights. The following information has been published by Stop43 on their campaign website -

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 27 (2) states:

1 Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

2 Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Note also that a recent UK court ruling (20thC Fox vs 'Newsbin2') established that -

Copyrights are property rights protected by Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, as also expressed in Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Human Rights Act 1998;

piracy of copyright work is a breach of the copyright holder's human rights;

the copyright holder is therefore entitled to legal redress;

and, because 'so far as possible, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with human rights', legislation drafted and enacted subsequent to the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 must also be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with human rights.

For further detail on this topic please refer to the first class detailed presentation on the Stop43 campaign website. They have raised an issue which is at the heart of the matter, that artists rights are human rights, please take time to read and understand their arguments.

Further Resources

A number of artists representative organisations have published more detailed criticisms of Professor Hargreaves review, we suggest you read those that are relevant to your particular discipline. Note that the Stop43 campaign, Action on Authors Rights and the Creators Rights Alliance reports encompass all disciplines;

Stop43 - Initial Response, Stop43 - On Governments Response, Creators Rights Alliance, Action on Authors Rights, Association of Photographers, British Institute of Professional Photographers, National Union of Journalists, UK Music, Musicians Union, British Photographic Council, Society of Authors, Authors's Licensing and Collecting Party, Labour Party

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This article was contributed by Pro-Imaging and Wolf Photography