The CRA has filed its response to the government's consultation on copyright.
Most simplified reporting of copyright and authors’ rights presents the issues as a series of conflict between “users” and “rightsholders” – presuming that creators and the publishers and broadcasters who distribute creators’ work are a single interest. But creators are of course among the heaviest consumers of other creators’ works. They rely more than most on the current “exceptions” that allow certain kinds of use of their works and others’ without permission – such as that allowing extracts for “review and criticism”. And – crucially – rapidly increasing numbers of “consumers” are creating works. Almost every child now in school will be a “published” or “broadcast” creator before they can vote – thanks to FaceBook and YouTube and NextBigThing™.
No-one can know which of these creators will go on to be the professionals who drive the future of the “information economy”. Most do not themselves know. They may place no cash value on their work now: that may change. It is our experience that they most certainly do mind when their work is taken from an online source and used in a way that they disapprove of.1
In this new environment, changes to copyright law affect every citizen. The primary changes may be motivated according to the terms of reference set for the Hargreaves Review – to promote economic growth (though we dispute that the effect of the changes will be to do so sustainably, or for more than a very narrow sector). But they imply “consequential amendments” that are necessary to protect citizens’ interests. 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
All creators having the right to be identified and to maintain the integrity of their work.
The CRA has been in discussion with consumer interests, notably Consumer Focus. We are agreed on these principles. See our report of a meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 13 March on what creators and consumers can find in common here.
You can read the full consultation response here (200k PDF).
1See the CRA submission to Hargreaves, available at http://www.creatorsrights.org.uk/media/hargreaves-cra.pdf