Friday, 27 November 2009

IPO & The Digital Economy Bill

From the BJP...

The proposed Digital Economy Bill will make changes to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which has been debated for the past year by the creative industry and the Intellectual Property Office. The changes, targeting online infringement of copyright "will tackle widespread copyright infringement via a two-stage process. First by making legal action more effective and educating consumers about copyright on-line. Second through reserve powers, if needed, to introduce technical measures, such as disconnection."

However, changes to the copyright licensing scheme could impact photographers the most, as non-commercial consumers could use images without having to ask for permission or providing payment to the photographer.The changes are based on proposals unveiled by the IPO earlier this month.

In effect, the IPO believes that the current copyright system is too complex for users. "Much of this complexity can be addressed by rights holders and how they administer their rights,'" it says. The IPO also considers that "making non-commercial use less onerous for consumers, for example by removing the need to seek permission and make payment for personal use of individual copyright works, would help". However, it adds, fair compensation for rights holders would be required.

One of the IPO's proposals is to make copyright licensing simpler. "Having works or licences available legitimately reduces the incentive to infringe," the IPO says. "However, systems for licensing are complex, time-consuming to access and incomplete. Copyright is automatic and many works (such as photographs) do not incorporate details of their creator or rights holder. As a result, it is hard to get permission to use works. A user may find it impossible to identify the owner of a work. Making licensing easier benefits all who are currently involved and has potential to bring in new users of works as well."

The solution?

Slap an big copyright symbol through your work that appears online, with your name and URL so damn obvious that even a fossil of a judge could bang his gavel in your favour.

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