Except for this...
The government has held a very restricted consultation on plans to expand "exceptions" to copyright - the conditions under which a creator's works may be used without permission or payment. We were told we'd be allowed to comment only on the extent to which the proposed changes to the law accurately implemented the announced policy - see our first response to that here.
- the Creator's Rights Alliance response to the first "tranche" of proposals here (PDF);
- a letter to the Minister setting out continuing concerns about the policy here (also PDF);
- the Creator's Rights Alliance response to the second "tranche" of proposals here (PDF);
- the Creator's Rights Alliance response to the third "tranche", consisting of proposed widened exceptions allowing copies to be made for the benefit of people with disabilities here (PDF); and
- the Intellectual Property Office homepage for the exceptions here.
On private copying we observe that:
The Creators’ Rights Alliance believes that the current proposal breaches European law, which specifies that an exception for private copying may be enacted only with “fair compensation” for rightholders in Article 5(2)b of the “InfoSoc Directive” 1. Recital 35 does not provide a fig-leaf: no credible evaluation has been produced of the “possible harm to the rightholders resulting from the act in question”.
We note the overriding declaration in Recital 44 that:
Such exceptions and limitations may not be applied in a way which prejudices the legitimate interests of the rightholder or which conflicts with the normal exploitation of his work or other subject-matter.
For the avoidance of doubt: the Creators’ Rights Alliance does not oppose the introduction of an exception permitting private copying. We would regard officials’ arguments that the required compensation may be set at zero as an exercise in sophistry, were that not to be a slur on the actual Sophists2.
On education we observe that:
Our primary concern... is that the proposed new Section 32 would, if enacted as drafted, encourage a perception that uses which are currently licensed were covered as an exception.
The creation of material specifically for educational purposes is poorly enough remunerated as it is. Coercive imposition of unfair contracts is common. Income distributed through the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and the Design and Artists’ Copyright Society provides support to those who have dedicated themselves as professionals to the specialised work involved. Were there not to be such dedicated, independent creators, the provision of educational material would increasingly rely on sponsored material, patrons and amateurs – all of whom are likely to be motivated by an agenda other than the impartial imparting of skills and knowledge. This is not, we believe, government policy.
1 Directive 2001/29/EC Article 5(2)b
<http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32001L0029:EN:NOT> accessed 10/07/2013