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.
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 -
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.
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.
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! 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:
An attachment containing:
The attachment should be
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.
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 -
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.
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