back to article Biz law reform: Bad news for lawyers, good news for hippies

Vince Cable presented his new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, promising more action on competition, streamlined employment tribunals and a £3bn Green Bank that will funnel cash into eco-friendly energy and tech industries. The proposed changes to employment law will encourage work- …

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Copyright Extension

Here we go again, because we cannot have the beatles coming out of copyright into the public domain now can we?

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Looks OK except for copyright extension

Why this gift to idle tossers who profit from somebody else's creative laurels?

I think copyright should be limited the later of the author's death or 20 years after first publication. That would suit me if I was the author and should give enough time for a publisher to recoup his outlay. Anything more just panders to third party greed.

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FAIL

Copyright FAIL

"Cable also announced an extension to copyright for artistic works, extending it to the author's life plus 70 years."

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, this is absolute horseshit! Is the purpose of copyright to encourage creativity by allowing creators to profit exclusively from their creations? Or is it to allow companies to keep re-hashing the same tired old themes for 100+ years while profiting from someone else's creativity?

The term of a work should be from the date of first publication / exhibition. Firstly, using the author's death as a starting point will just allow creators to rest on their laurels after 1 big hit, and secondly, many works such as big studio films are copyrighted by a corporate entity, not a person. That corporate entity can "live" forever, so does it get an infinite copyright term??

Secondly, 70 years is way too long, 20-25 years is more than enough. Does anyone know of any book, film, song etc that lay in obscurity for 20-25 years and then suddenly became a huge hit? I very much doubt that any such exist. Artists and creators can make plenty of money in 20-25 years, and if they want more royalties after that, they can create some new stuff.

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Angel

it's all right because...

...they'll be balancing the extension with fair use provisions.

oh, wait...

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Coat

Bad news for lawyers, good news for hippies

I can't wait for that new iPad game that's comming out soon - Lawyers vs Hippies!

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FAIL

Copyright extension? It needs a reduction.

If 25 years is enough for a patent then 25 years should be good enough for copyright. 25 years should also mean 25 years from date of creation. As the law stands the copyright period can be extended by advances in medicine. That is both wrong and stupid.

My opinion of Vince Cable just plummeted.

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No, no, no, no

"Does anyone know of any book, film, song etc that lay in obscurity for 20-25 years and then suddenly became a huge hit?"

It's not the people who make huge hits who need the extension. It's the ones who turn out mid-market work that has to keep selling steadily to keep food on the table.

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WTF?

Re: No, no, no, no

Could you please explain to us why a person who's been dead for 69 years still needs food on their table?

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Anonymous Coward

Not just for the creator

One point worth mentioning is that the idea of the copyright is that it will provide for the provide for widows and orphans as well as the creator himself - writers tend not to have pensions, they have this instead. So there is an argument for having copyright extend until after death, but there's certainly no need to extend it to 70 years. 20-25 years will last until any infant offspring have finished school and can fend for themselves.

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Re: Not just for the creator

writers tend not to have pensions

At last, I understand how copyright works. It's free money for stupid people that can't see beyond the end of next week.

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Re: Not just for the creator

Why don't they just buy life insurance like the rest of us ?

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Re: Not just for the creator

Writers tend not to have pensions? You need to think before your tiny brain engages its mouth. Most people do not have private pensions, so do you propose that everybody get their salary paid to their next of kin for 70 years after their deaths?

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Stop

it's not just the copyright TERM that is being changed

It's not just an increase in copyright term - made without any evidence that it will benefit the economy, and in the face of the clear evidence that it harms the interests of citizens, consumers, and those who wish to build creatively on old works.

The Secretary of State is taking the power to issue orders and regulations (instead of needing laws) that will "add or remove" exceptions to copyright!

Given the Government's attitude to consumers (as shown by the increase in the already extraordinary length of copyright), what direction do you think these virtually un-scrutinised changes will go in? If they need to INCREASE copyright protection, what's wrong with legislation that can be properly scrutinised?

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Anonymous Coward

Big corp greed

"extending it to the author's life plus 70 years" So not only does the creator get a lifetime's control of a single piece of work, but his children and his children's children get money from it too?

Why? Who is this supposed to benefit? The answer, as always, is the big corporations who buy copyright.

Long gone are the days when it was common place for authors to release updates of their books with corrections and notes based on criticism of the original. They had to work (a bit) for there money and society benefited as a result.

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Stop

actually, not so much

Hang on. I don't think this is an "extension to copyright for artistic works, extending it to the author's life plus 70 years."

This change applies to "effect of exploitation of design derived from artistic work" - which cityam.com says means: "Encouraging investment in design by extending copyright protection for mass-produced art (e.g. designer chairs, lamps) to the life of the creator plus 70 years."

http://www.cityam.com/latest-news/enterprise-bill-promises-cut-tribunal-costs

Not sure what the current period is... or whether people really need the extra decades to break even on their designer tables.

But it's not quite such a disaster as El Reg thinks. Sir Cliff is not getting his copyright extension. We will just lose the right to make pooh bear chairs or Mickey Mouse ears for an extra 20 years or so.

But still, if they are going to look at copyright, maybe they should be decreasing it. A lot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: actually, not so much

Hate to burst your bubble but mass produced art includes music. The 'chairs and lamps' example is a bit of smoke and mirrors designed to obscure the fact that this law is (as was the same law when passed in the US) designed to ensure Disney doesn't lose control of Mickey Mouse.

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Boffin

fair point... so here's what to do

Good point. The Bill was unclear, but the explanatory notes are helpful:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2012-2013/0007/en/13007en.htm

Part 6 of the bill repeals section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 so as to provide full copyright protection for the period of the author’s life plus 70 years. Creates a power to amend exceptions for copyright and rights in performances without affecting the existing criminal penalties regime.

I suspect this is just implementing EU directive 2006/116/EC

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/term-protection/term-protection_en.htm

So it MAY be too late to stop this right now, since the government MUST implement directives... Our anger should be directed at the European Parliament and the Council, for passing the directive, and at our government of the day for supporting it, and at the labels who lobbied for it.

Write to THEM!

http://www.writetothem.com/

It's a good opportunity to push for rebalancing of rights, "for the 99%" - at the EU and international treaty level.

You'll have to battle the "don't you know there's a recession on" brigade, and the "think of the businesses" free-marketards and lobbytards of course. Since we throw "tards" around such a lot at el reg. But a more liberal regime will almost certainly stimulate the economy, overall.

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WTF?

Copyright was already 70 years from death

... at least for some artistic works. Last year I was setting a number of poems to music, and wanted to include one by Dylan Thomas. He died in 1953 and has no descendents. But his copyright is owned by a ***** of lawyers, who told me I'd have to pay them:

- an administrative fee (OK, I could accept that)

- 50% of all royalties and performance fees I might earn (good grief!)

And worst of all, accept restrictions on where/how I could publish my work, and withdraw it completely within ten years (what???)

Conclusion: more than half a century after the poet's death, copyright is still preventing his work being creatively used. Absurd by any rational standard!

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WTF?

How ...

... on Earth does having a ludicrously long copyright term create "the right conditions ... to encourage investment and exports, boost enterprise, support green growth and build a responsible business culture!? Who does it help now?

The point is taken that this is probably another over-literal incorporation of an EU Directive, but seriously - WTF?

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Go

Ask your MP

To read to the House the Hon. Mr. Macaulay's comments on the subject. [1] It seems to me it deserves to be read every 160 years.

(I can't ask mine 'cause I'm stuck with the Mickey Mouse copyright situation to your west.)

[1] http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/OpposingCopyrightExtension/commentary/MacaulaySpeeches.html

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