back to article UK.gov proposes massive copyright land snatch

Photographers, illustrators and authors will be amongst those to lose their digital rights under radical new proposals published by the Government today. New legislation is proposed that would effectively introduce a compulsory purchase order, but without compensation, across an unlimited range of creative works, for commercial …

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  1. Andrew Norton

    Collection Society

    It's a lot like PRS, or re:Sound in Canada then... except for pictures?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Collection Society

      #fail

      1. Eddie Edwards
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Collection Society

        #fail? Seriously? Is the mid-life crisis upon you?

        Elucidate. How is it not like that? Your propagandist analysis doesn't make this part very clear - certainly not so crystal clear that a commenter raising the comparison deserves to be tagged "#fail" (although hash tags only work on Twitter, Andrew).

        We have a requirement for organizations to be "significantly representative of rights holders affected by the scheme". Such organizations are hardly likely to be either fly-by-night, nor very numerous within a specific media segment. One might assume there would be no more than one per sector, after any initial competition died down. So ... just like the PRS then, really. A photographer would register his opt-out at one location. (If he wanted to. Except, he might find that his works are passed over for usage since they're not part of the one-stop shop for photographs, and then decide to join after all. Which is surely the *actual* problem with this idea - it's a sort of price-fixing cartel scheme, which you will in practice be forced to join. So, effectively, still a lot like the PRS.)

        It also seems rather unlikely that an organization could become "significantly representative of rights holders affected by the scheme" if they weren't volunteering to actually pay people. Although if they can't be found then we're into the orphan works section which looks eminently reasonable and upon which you make no comment here. Users of orphan works will be required to set aside payment in case the author is later found. I guess you skimmed that part.

        So what's wrong with this analysis and why are these collection societies SO different to the PRS?

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: Collection Society

        Poh-lease..

        This is just establishing collecting societies for other things, except they will have actual authority to do the stuff they do.

        But you know about the UK Gov's love of collection societies, after all they had a consultation on the topic of collection societies earlier this year (although it was stricter than the sham one run to support the DEA, since this one required evidence; SOURCED evidence, with methodologies etc, rather than the usual anecdotal 'we lose a lot and need extra laws really badly' sort of thing) or didn't you contribute? I certainly did (Norton P2P Research). Nope, just checked the Annex of contributors, no Register, Orlowski, or Situation Publishing (which is odd, since you CLEARLY have strong views.

        If you want to talk about 'massive copyright land snatch', then it's all the 'land snatches' of work from the public domain, by extending copyright terms, snatching it from the public trust. Funnily enough, I believe extended terms and this collection society bullwhah are being snuck in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

    2. El Presidente
      FAIL

      Re: Collection Society

      No, nothing like a collection society and nothing like PRS

      More like a bunch of government sanctioned thieves stealing individuals work and flogging it for profit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Collection Society

        "More like a bunch of government sanctioned thieves stealing individuals work and flogging it for profit."

        Copyright is not a nnatural right but only a state monopoly. If the government can create copyright law and make copyright expire after a limited time, it must logically have the power to scale down enforcement.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Collection Society

          Once upon a time that was true. In practice there's Berne Convention, WIPO (x2), the European Copyright Directive etc.

          And creators rights are human rights, so courts can agree to hear unfair assaults on creators rights by politicians and officials.

          You're on safe ground calling it a "synthetic property right", and keeping the argument to the real world.

      2. Andrew Norton
        FAIL

        Re: Collection Society

        Quoting "El Presidente"

        "No, nothing like a collection society and nothing like PRS

        More like a bunch of government sanctioned thieves stealing individuals work and flogging it for profit."

        Not had much experience with Collection Societies then, have you. Or have you, since your second sentence described them so perfectly

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Collection Society

      Bend over baby cos you getting it even if you don like it!

    4. mafoo
      FAIL

      Re: Collection Society

      Its basically like how google books operates.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Collection Society

        "Its basically like how google books operates."

        Yeah, strange coincidence that? Or maybe not, since it was obviously dictated by someone at Google.

    5. Fibbles

      Re: Collection Society

      To all those saying "oh it's just another collection society" please remember that copyright really is the only thing that stands between small content producers and financial oblivion. When raging against copyright remember that it's these giant collecting agencies / cartels that go around suing grannies and kids whilst simultaneously screwing over the content producers.

      Copyright isn't broken but the content industry has amassed a huge number of parasitic middlemen that make it seem that way.

  2. heyrick Silver badge

    When this comes to pass...

    ...we might as well say the concept of copyright is dead.

    It just cannot work in any rational way when commerical outfits "protect" their copyrights by enforced levies on media, threats of extortion, disconnection, fines equal to the national debt of Greece, harrassing children, etc etc (delete according to country/sanity level); while at the same time saying "fuck you, your rights, and the horses you both rode in on".

    With such a total lack of respect to our rights in our creations, why should we care about copyright at all?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: When this comes to pass...

      Spot on. What this means is, if you're a big copyright-holding company like Disney etc, you have the resources to police your own work and make sure nothing gets stolen. If you're a small photographer, composer etc, it's quite likely that someone else will end up profiting from your work without you getting a penny... and in some cases, without you even knowing about it.

      And on the other hand, if you're a big publisher like Google (Youtube, books etc), you get to make advertising money by stealing stuff from the small producers and giving it away for free, while if you're a small publisher, you can't even make money if you're ripping off your artists, let alone if you treat your artists fairly.

    2. bluest.one
      Black Helicopters

      Re: When this comes to pass...

      The Kleptocratic Plutocracy - (Neo-Aristocracy, if you like) - at its finest - stealing from the poor, the masses and giving to the powered, and the moneyed; stuffing their faces at everyone elses' expense.

      It's the only thing they know: greed and personal enrichment, regardless of the cost to others, in every respect and endeavour they engage in.

  3. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Fascism

    Alive and well in the UK.

  4. Reality Dysfunction
    Stop

    fckwads....

    Any amateur or pro photographers who feel they will be affected by this don't forget to find your local MP then follow them with an appropriate lense from a public area.

    Feel free to then distribute without charge the resultant photos to the press and internet.

    1. El Presidente

      WTF ? First up, why would photographers "distribute without charge the resultant photos to the press and internet" ? The idea is to sell images to the press, to make a living, not give them away.

      You know, like a job only for less pay with fewer safeguards.

      Secondly, there's no e on the end of lens.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        FAIL

        speling natsee?

        lense if perfectly cromulent word. Sayed so in my dick shun ree.

  5. Steve Evans

    Amazing...

    You'd think HM Govt would try to hide just how much Big Corp controls them, but there's no hiding from it in this case.

    1 - If Joe Public "steals" a piece of music, and shares it with others (note, not even selling), he's a criminal and will have his internet cut off.

    2 - If Big Corp "steals" a photograph, and sells it to others, NADA!

    I'll either be emptying my Flickr account, or adding a huge watermark diagonally across all the images.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing...

      Any hint at what the huge diagonal watermark would be a picture of?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing...

        Goatse

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Amazing...

      But its not theft....

      The humungus internet corp is obligated to pay you fair market value for your work, right?

      Of course they get to decide what is fair market...

      And of course they have to know where to find you to send you the check.

      And if they can't find you... then its your fault.

      But its not theft because its allowable under the proposed law.

      BTW, you know you're off the grid if the likes of Google or FB can't find you. Here's a free clue. They could if they wanted to, but its not their responsibility now is it? You still have to let them know that its your work and that you want to get paid whatever that amount is...

      And here I thought those of us who live in Chicago, IL had all of the corrupt politicians. Looks like those in the UK make our politicians look like rank amateurs.

  6. DJV Silver badge

    Fuck, fuck and more fuck!

    Do those fucking idiots in 'power' have ANY idea what they're doing (other than screwing the general populace over and over until we finally cave in)? Don't they realise that SNAFU is NOT supposed the way things should be? AAARGH!

    The only person who entered Westminster with the right idea was a certain Guido Fawkes!

    More fuckity fucks...

    1. night troll
      Pirate

      Re: Fuck, fuck and more fuck!

      Unfortunately even he did not have the right idea, he wanted to blow it because he disagreed with their religion not what they were doing in governing the country (except the control of Catholics). He might of focused the attention of this lot of wankers a bit better though.

    2. dssf

      Re: Fuck, fuck and more fuck!

      They must be smoking, injecting, and rubbing on the same contraband they sieze at Customs.... Can't allow it (or sheer stupidity and assholery) go to waste....

      It now is time to ensure all kids learn to use watermarks and steganography. They also need to learn to put copyright nitices on all papers demanded or assigned by their schools so that they earn royalties or compensation from orgs like TurnItIn.....

      But, that just means a new fleeing to a newly-discovered land mass. But, instead of fleeing, jail the oppressors and wholesale IP thieves, even if the hide behind big money.

  7. LinkOfHyrule
    WTF?

    (c) teh interwebz

    To big publishing company - "Mate, its cool, just use whatever pictures you find on flickr in your newspaper or book, those pussiehole general public get no protection from us any-more man, you get me!"

    To member of the public - "Oi... you, you're taking liberties man, downloading that Justin Bieber song - we're guna fuck you up over this bro!"

    The government are running a protection racket. I know Goventards were suspected of banging one of the Kray twins in the 60s but that don't mean you gotta act like them. Blatantly ignoring various copyright treaties is rather gangster-ish if you ask me. And yeah, looks like the publishing industry ha been paying their "rates" for some protection against the public nicking their shit!

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: (c) teh interwebz

      It's a reminder that the state has more power than any industry lobby when it comes to nicking your rights.

      They've got guns, too.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: (c) teh interwebz

        'They've got guns, too.'

        Yeah but they were built by BAE so we're probably okay.

      2. Michael Strorm

        Re: (c) teh interwebz

        "It's a reminder that the state has more power than any industry lobby when it comes to nicking your rights."

        Surely the whole point of industry lobbying is that it *is* a means to gain power by influencing the thinking of government (and hence ultimately policy and lawmaking) in their favour?

        That's not to say that governments aren't quite capable of passing crap and/or unfair laws for other reasons, but it's definitely true that the whole point of *lobbying* is to co-opt government for lobbyists benefit.

        In this particular case, the decision blatantly smacks of Google's behind-the-scenes influence.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this what the RIAA do? get the cash for radio and TV play of songs then try to get in touch with the copyright owner, claim they did call but couldn't get in touch, then pocket the cash.

  9. Jamie Kitson

    Three little letters

    IPO/WMD (Delete as appropriate.)

  10. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    The frog boiling excercise notches up another degree.

  11. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

    On any topic whatsoever. However this is a travesty.

    It's hard to understand why anyone would think this is a good idea, unless it's the likes of Spotify who have a business interest in being able to pay a flat fee to some or other official body and then stream what they like.

    Legislators clearly just have no bloody idea.

  12. keithpeter
    Windows

    format shifting?

    This sounds like bad news. I'll write to my mp from the 'amateur photographer snaps of school trip used inappropriately in an advert 5 years later' angle.

    Will the new legislation make it legal to rip a cd and play it on your phone (at last)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

      I agree that this proposal is a travesty.

      But I thought that this sort of proposal was supposed to apply to actually orphaned work, not work hoovered up deliberately and having any identifiers deliberately ignored. I.e., that it was supposed to manage stuff X decades old where finding an owner was actually near impossible, not where that situation had been maliciously engineered.

      So what period of grace do you feel should be enforced before such orphan management becomes (arguably) reasonable? "Forever" seems a bit restrictive. 50 years?

      1. night troll
        Pirate

        Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

        "So what period of grace do you feel should be enforced before such orphan management becomes (arguably) reasonable? "Forever" seems a bit restrictive. 50 years?"

        As the copyright agencies (RIAA et al) want copyright to extend to 70-100 years I think that would be a good place to start. Plus maybe another 50 years just to screw with them.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

          It isn't solely a matter of creators copyright but also the privacy of people that may be in the images. Over the years the odd client has requested limits on how I use images taken of them, including not using them in my portfolio. I respect this and discussing model releases, copyright and print relases are a part of the presales process.

          Those clients trust me to abide by their requests. It should not be the case that this can be overridden within their lifetimes.

          I have yet to hear of any compelling instance where there was a lack of stock photography but an abundance of orphaned works which was causing the mass drowning of puppies.

          My grandfather passed away recently and I produced a book based on his memiors including stock photography. I found everything I needed via agencies at very reasonable prices. Sure I could have bought some postcards off fleabay and scanned them then whined about it being hard to track down the rights owners but frankly, if you don't have permission you cannot do it. You will survive.

    2. AdamWill

      Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

      "It's hard to understand why anyone would think this is a good idea"

      The key is the phrase Andrew mentions once but doesn't expand on: 'orphan works'. The justification for these kinds of plans is the Google Books one - it was Google which first pushed for this kind of arrangement, when they got going on their Google Books plan and found, to their SHOCK and AMAZEMENT, that they couldn't just go and scan seven billion books, put them on the internet, send a cheque to Macmillan, and call it good. They'd actually have to, oh bother, find the people/organizations/estates who actually owned the copyright to all those books, where it wasn't a publisher, and pay them. Copyright ownership can become extremely complicated to track over time and with all the various arrangements different authors may have with agents and publishers and so on.

      So Google decided to try and sell governments on the idea they could pay those big companies that it's nice and easy to identify and pay - your Macmillans and so forth - and screw over everyone else, by declaring that their books were 'orphan works'. In this definition, the word 'orphan' means 'we couldn't be arsed finding the parents'. The idea is to set up a series of inventive hurdles that you have to leap in order to be really considered to own your own works - register with some agency, be sure to keep them up to date with your name, address and all conceivable forms of communication, then hole up in your office with all your cellphones, landlines, pagers and fax machines turned on 24x7 so that the agency can't call you on a number you gave them fifteen years ago, at 3am in the middle of June when you're on holiday, let it ring once, then declare that you weren't contactable and take your money.

      In any case where the requirements aren't met, your Google or whoever just has to pay the agency - or no-one at all, depending on the circumstances - and it can go ahead and sell your stuff on to someone else.

      It's fine and dandy if what you want is for giant organizations to be able to hoover up vast piles of 'content' wherever they like, bundle it together, and sell it on. For the user, such schemes are convenient, of course. If you phrase the question in terms like 'wouldn't it be great if there was one big site where you could go to read every book ever published?' it's pretty easy to get the answer you want.

      1. PyLETS
        Flame

        minefields are expensive places to do business

        "The idea is to set up a series of inventive hurdles that you have to leap in order to be really considered to own your own works - register with some agency, be sure to keep them up to date with your name, address and all conceivable forms of communication, then hole up in your office with all your cellphones, landlines, pagers and fax machines turned on 24x7 so that the agency can't call you on a number you gave them fifteen years ago, at 3am in the middle of June when you're on holiday, let it ring once, then declare that you weren't contactable and take your money."

        It's not your money until you have earned it. Imagine having to contact everyone who has ever owned land in a village before you can walk through it on footpaths without risk of a massive trespass civil suit. Land law doesn't work that way, I hear you say. It doesn't and can't, and IP law shouldn't work that way either, but currently for many purposes for those researching and presenting recent history it does. What's proposed seems inherently sensible, to limit the damages accessible for owners who have not erected boundaries or signs, which means the walker can estimate the cost of their walk in the countryside when neighbouring rights owners are effectively unidentifiable and uncontactable. What happens currently is that the rights owners in the area when contacted won't define the boundaries of their intellectual property for your convenience. What they will do is ask for a blanket fee so you can walk over however much land they may or may not have in the neighbourhood wherever that may be on the day you intend - whether you need to walk over their land or not.

        Try writing and publishing a local history from postcards of the area where you live published 60 - 70 years ago. Some of the publishers will be traceable, others not. Some of this work will be by photographers still alive, some by photographers long deceased. For some of it the photographers will have retained rights, in other cases the rights may have been sold on many times over. The fact you pay the danegeld asked by those contactable who bother to respond to enquiries, if you can afford to do so, doesn't prevent you from being sued by those who are not contactable or who did not respond to your enquiries but will check recent local history publications and take you to court anyway if they can establish a claim, and settle expensively out of court for slightly less than your estimated costs if you fight them. That's a description of a legal minefield, and who wants to start an enterprise on such risky grounds ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: minefields are expensive places to do business

          why should land law and ip law be similar?

          1. PyLETS
            Boffin

            Re: minefields are expensive places to do business

            why should land law and ip law be similar?

            Both are rent-seeking monopolies with economic implications affecting society as a whole not just for owners, tenants and leaseholders. For some purposes IP and land are competitive, e.g. I may be able to take as good a photo of the Eiffel Tower as you, or there may be other development plots I can buy in the area if yours isn't for sale.

            For other purposes these monopolies are economically restrictive, e.g. there are only so many postcards or photos researchable for my locality covering local history in the 1930ies, for an intended local history publication, or the reuse rights on a TV documentary series made 5 years ago were only obtained from the hundreds of other rightsholders for a single showing of the series to cut costs, so repeats can't be shown again based on likely advertising revenues for another 100 years by which time all rights needed will have lapsed, without expensive renegotiation which can only occur if the historical significance of the series is major. That's a similarly chilling economc effect to having just one or a few landowners for the region as a whole, similar to how economic progress was suppressed in the middle ages. If the owners of the Eiffel Tower are able to claim that design rights transfer to all photographs taken, this also chills the market for photos of the Eiffel Tower.

            The Internet and reference software which implements this set of standards only became possible due to an open source approach to IP as other approaches were made uncompetitive due to IP transaction costs.

            Land transactions have become more efficient over time due to the existence of a land registry. Occasionally a purchase of land not yet registered occurs in the UK, but these are now few and far between and establishing ownership credentials for unregistered property is more expensive. Having something similar for IP could be economically effective if designed and operated well, or an expensive disaster if parties which have something to gain from current market inefficiency and high transaction costs able to influence the design and operation were in a position to sabotage it.

            1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Re: minefields are expensive places to do business

              "Both are rent-seeking monopolies"

              The individual musician photographer, songwriter or poet or has a monopoly for a fixed period of time. They can choose who brings their creativity to market, and can decide to renounce it altogether.

              Once again, Richard, we can see how your argument requires confusion and deception. The truth is that creators are the end of the food chain and you support making the shitty deal they have today even shittier. This doesn't look cool, it's a very reactionary position.

              Hence the reality bending, misdirection, and verbosity.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Devil

          @PyLETs Re: minefields are expensive places to do business

          Your analogy doesn't work.

          You have the current land owners. Not those who owned the land prior to the current owners and there's a record in the town hall of the property owners. They fail to pay tax then the land becomes part of the city unless they confiscate it and resell it.

          Sorry but the rest of your argument makes no sense.

          1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: @PyLETs Re: minefields are expensive places to do business

            PyLETs argument only makes sense if we all agree to misunderstand copyright in the same, unique way that PyLETs misunderstands it.

            The same applies to the PyLETS currency

            To be fair to Richard, he's never angry or abusive on here (or by email), but at the end of the day, ideas that are based on a rejection of reality are as much use as a chocolate teapot. And some people prefer making chocolate teapots to systems that ordinary people can use and benefit from.

            1. PyLETS
              Stop

              chocolate teapots are very tasty

              "ideas that are based on a rejection of reality are as much use as a chocolate teapot"

              While the potentially rejectable reality concerned is mostly human construct, for most ideas I'd agree with that (including some or all of my own - and only time can tell), but we'd be rejecting some potentially quite useful ones if we applied the exclusion universally, including:

              Controlled use of fire, democracy, the wheel, electricity, nuclear power, semiconductors.

              The best ideas change the nature of perceived reality through willingness to reject current perceptions, and we don't really know which ideas are the game changers until we've tried them . Democracy was tried amongst a very small group (citizens of Athens, not slaves) a couple of thousand years ago, only worked to a very limited extent then, and wasn't tried again seriously for quite a long time afterwards. For some reason, some uncommonly stubborn and persistent buggers didn't learn from the Athenians mistakes.

              1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

                hating democracy - wonder why?

                "Democracy doesn't work"

                You think? Time for the capes, then:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUpbOliTHJY

                Democracy is good for at least one thing, though - it obliges people to come out of their garden sheds, and present their most nutty ideas before their fellow citizens. Who can then judge them for rationality, prejudices etc etc.

            2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
              WTF?

              @Andrew...Re: @PyLETs minefields are expensive places to do business

              I don't know Richard, only that I couldn't make sense of his argument.

              Looks like I'm not alone.

              I'd like a chocolate teapot, not to use as a teapot, but as art, if there is any actual artistic value in the teapot.

              Other than that... sorry, but clearly Google forgot to close the green curtain which they normally hide behind....

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Big Brother

        @Adam WillRe: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

        I guess then the States could tax the shite out of Google. Except that they aren't in the UK but in Ireland reaping the benefits of their tax laws.

        Or what you could do is essentially remove the market from Google. Pass a law that any orphaned works that had been scanned couldn't be sold and had to be given away for free since they neither created the work, nor compensated the author or their estate. This way the public wins.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

      Indeed, shocked at being in agreement with Count And/Or...

      What gives?

    4. Mike VandeVelde
      Angel

      Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

      If it drives Andrew into a fit, I usually assume it's something I might like. If Andrew says it's great, I usually go over it with a fine tooth comb to see where the catch is. Just kidding, it's all light entertainment ;)

      So doing something to copyright to ease access to orphan works is just like invading Iraq. That's "analysis" for you! Some kind of Godwin's law for the 21st century? Thanks for that 8-D

    5. night troll
      Pirate

      Re: I usually disagree with pretty much everything you have to say

      Legislators clearly just have no bloody idea.

      A prerequisite for entering politics in Britain it seems.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously, I'd never suggest breaking the law...

    ...but government should realise that the public have a tendency to only adhere to laws when they apply both ways. If you insist on criminalising breaches of copyright against the entertainment industry, whilst also taking away the default protections and compensation mechanisms for small and independent content creators, it should not be surprise if you find more people treating films and music with the same sense of entitlement as their own product is being treated with by copyright law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obviously, I'd never suggest breaking the law...

      There's a big difference between wanting to get your own back because something you've produced has been pilfered for Giant Corp's gain and pirating all your movies and music because you're cheap...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obviously, I'd never suggest breaking the law...

        I believe the key line here was:

        "...as their own product is being treated..." - with regard to smaller producers.

        If you steal from content creators, they will steal back from you... It's a kind of creatives civil war...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obviously, I'd never suggest breaking the law...

          You really think that the vast majority of pirates are small or independent content producers out for vengeance? Pull the other one...

  14. Samuel Penn
    WTF?

    GPL?

    So how does this work if an image is licensed under the GPL, CC-BY-NC, or something similar?

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: GPL?

      A licence like GPL requires strong copyright to function: it is only the protections afforded by copyright law that prevent commercial organisations pilfering GPL-licenced code and selling it as their own work.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the bright side ...

    ... when the next set of pictures of a negligee-wearing Tory MP being flagellated by his special advisor gets published, the MP won't have a copyright defence.

  16. danny_0x98

    Let's see, rights holders building a new revenue stream and, probably, building better fences while transferring costs of monitoring and collection to third parties. But, a system designed, as a practical matter, to nullify the rights of the too-small, from where disruption originates. All this done via a subterranean process.

    I think I smell the gentle hint of the designer fragrance Rupert.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Are you suggesting Dave owes Rupert a hummer for having nonce of the week support him in the election and is therefore doing him a solid and legalising IP theft for large lazy crap peddlers? How very dare you!

  17. Michael Hawkes

    Dear sir or madam,

    Her Majesty's Government has recently give my company, Bastard Ltd, the copyrights to 10,617 Nigerian business proposals. We are looking to transfer the copyrights for these documents to you personally. If you send £1000 by wire transfer to handle the administrative fees, our company will arrange for an international courier to deliver the copyright documents to you.

    I await your prompt reply.

    Yours,

    D. Bastard

  18. Peter Galbavy
    FAIL

    TL;DR

    Not yet read the proposals but it does sound like a complete nightmare.

    Is there the option of anyone and everyone signing up as a licensing agency and then copying and distributing all the big media content until they finally lobby for a change or repeal? Surely a legal framework like this has to be equitable or somesuch to stand up to scrutiny? Or am I just too innocent?

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: TL;DR

      Don't be silly, only big media need apply (assuming they're taking advice on the "application and vetting process" by the appropriate ex-minister).

  19. Roger Stenning
    Thumb Down

    Gordon Bloody bennett :-(

    So much for the sodding Berne Convention, then.

  20. Hollerith 1

    Because it's a lot easier than just doing the right thing

    I once working for a licencing and collecting society. We collected the photocopying, library lending and other copyright fees for writers from the UK and Europe (and other places around the world) and paid the writers. For some less-famous, older or niche writers, this was often the only income they got.

    My job was to find the owners of the money. The internet was still new, but I used that and libraries and voting records and phone books and you-name-it to identify authors, get their current addresses, and pay them. It was mostly correcting a wrong name on the original record or making sure the right Smith was identified. We handled half a million pounds of fee back then and there was only me to do this research, and my clean-up rate was good.

    So I know that it is not impossible to pay people what they deserve for their creative work. In today's more far-reaching internet, almost nobody can stay hidden for long. It just takes the will to find them and one salary. Any claim that it is 'too hard' to find an author (or photographer or composer) and therefore all their work can be given to private corporations for their own profit, or can be used by anyone with impunity, is mendacious rubbish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because it's a lot easier than just doing the right thing

      I assume you got paid for your work? Presumably that money was taken as a cut from what the writer had earned? So instead of the big company paying out of pocket to find the author and giving him what he was owed the company gives the author's money to a collecting agency the author didn't sign up to, that agency then takes it's cut and gives what's left to the author... And they author is supposed to be grateful for this?

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: Because it's a lot easier than just doing the right thing

        Yes, I got paid. A pittance. We are more or less on minimum wage. The cut we took was about 5%, and it was out of money they otherwise would not have received. So 95% of something is better than 0.

        Someone has to do the work, and the team I had the honour to work with put in long and thankless hours to make sure we accounted for every penny. Authors were, in fact, grateful for this: they had no way of collecting money owed to them from libraries, European countries etc., and their publishers or agents weren't going to do this for them (or would have taken a massive % for it).

        I am a published author myself and, although I never saw money through the agency I worked for, I would have been happy to have them ferreting out sources of revenue unknown to me and paying it to me regularly. Authors earn so little, and everybody is ready to steal, 'borrow', 'fair use' or otherwise releive them of the one source of income they have. A collecting agency is the least of their worries.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Because it's a lot easier than just doing the right thing

      It's just reflective of modern society - nobody can be arsed doing anything properly any more so it's just easier to legislate around the habitual laziness.

  21. Gary F
    FAIL

    One thing leads to another

    What next? Government official or bank knocks at your door. No one is in so they leave a note saying we tried to contact you to make a compulsory purchase of your house, so we're just going to take it anyway and we don't have to pay you now. This is pretty much what this new copyright change is doing.

    No way will the million creative people in Britain allow this to happen. It's another screw up policy that no doubt will come with a U-turn once everyone has been really angry about it.

    I have millions of brain cells and I'm more than happy to lend one to the Govenrment.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: One thing leads to another

      Who's going to get all angry and shouty about it? The BBC, Sky, the newspapers, Google? Oh, you mean small content producers?... Strange, there was nothing on the news about these massive protests...

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: One thing leads to another

        @Fibbles: Big business may own the Government but it's still the little man that decides which flavour of thieving duplicitous cnut holds power.

        1. CD001

          Re: One thing leads to another

          Big business may own the Government but it's still the little man that decides which flavour of thieving duplicitous cnut holds power.

          ------

          Big business may own the government but the media owns the electorate - in this instance the big business that will benefit most IS the media - so we're screwed.

  22. PyLETS
    FAIL

    registered property == lower transaction costs

    It's true that any sequence of bits can be manipulated, making a search e.g. based on a hash signature arbitrarily difficult. But when image ownership rights become conditional to some extent upon interested owners having to register ownership with a search facility and provide appropriate search keywords, this makes it more feasible for honest re-users to identify active owners, and be able to prove good intent, without having blindly to purchase blanket reuse rights which may not be needed due to asymmetry of information about who owns what.

    Ownership isn't an unqualified right here, in the sense of unlimited resources being available for legal dispute resolution. They are not, and making damages for use of assumed orphans dependant upon owners' willingness to make search feasible enables use which otherwise wouldn't occur. It's also not as if this is the first time we've seen the need for property law to be streamlined. To avoid land ownership rights becoming a veto upon economic progress, land registration becomes obligatory, and compulsory purchase legislation makes building a road, railway, canal or shopping centre into a quantifiable cost.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: registered property == lower transaction costs

      Translated into English (PyLETS is developing his own weird language, like A Man From Mars):

      "Grabbing other people's property would allow the grabber to profit, which I call economic progress. Abolishing property rights is necessary for the Greater Good."

      But Hooper's DCE would allow uses which would otherwise occur, too. As would Stop 43's Cultural Exchange. Or any similar exchange that lowers transaction costs - all of which can be achieved without breaking away from the international rights framework of laws and treaties.

      So no landgrab necessary, and your argument is superfluous wibble.

      1. PyLETS
        Big Brother

        landgrab very necessary

        Without some kind of compulsory purchase, recent history is suppressed by this kind of property being taken to obnoxious extremes.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyes_on_the_Screen

        So what property right justifies this kind of historical research and presentation being prevented from being legally shown in public for 13 years ? Most of what is suppressed by unreformed copyright will be suppressed for longer than this, due to few resources being likely to motivate the kind of campaign needed to clear the rights needed in the case of "Eyes on the Prize". The 13 years suppression of this documentary series and the filesharing campaign in defiance of it resulted in this famous quote:

        "Therefore, in the spirit of the Southern Freedom Movement, we who once defied the laws and customs that denied people of color their human rights and dignity, we whose faces are seen in "Eyes on the Prize," we who helped produce it, tonight defy the media giants who have buried our story in their vaults by publicly sharing episodes of this forbidden knowledge with all who wish to see it."

        Orwell reference for obvious reasons, in consideration of Winston Smith's job in the 1984 novel to rewrite history to suit the propaganda du jour of the Party.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: landgrab very necessary

          Please explain how giving big content the right to steal peoples copyrighted works work have prevented that situation? If anything it will just create more situations like that.

          For example, lets say you had a collection of photos documenting the '84 miners strike and decided to digitise them and put them online for researchers and documentary makers to use freely. Under this legislation they could be declared orphan works and the copyright seized by Bastard PLC, who then demand payment from the researchers and documentary makers who used them in their works.

      2. Wibble
        Paris Hilton

        Re: registered property == lower transaction costs

        To whom do I submit the invoice for using my name?

  23. GreyWolf
    Flame

    Why don't they just go away?

    This thing of fighting the same battles again and again gets really tiresome. We've told them firmly the first time. Why do they keep coming back? Are they hell bent and determined on getting the entire population riled up, to the point where everyone and her granma are in jail for ripping off music, photos, books? Come back Guy Fawkes, we need to tell them again!

  24. crowley
    Black Helicopters

    Bastard Ltd

    So when Bastard Ltd have registered themselves as dealing in photos, will they be exclusive registrars for that particular media, or will we have Buggers Ltd, etc too?

    It's just, when I start routinely spamming my extensive, superfluous, holiday snaps at them to avoid their unauthorised use, it'd be good to make sure I'm helping overload the servers of all involved.

    Maybe I'll set-up my Raspberry Pi to upload a snap of the contents of my toilet every time the flush is pulled. Of course it's art. It's meant to provoke reflection on commoditisation, juxtapose questions of identity in consumer culture, and challenge notions of what is truly disposable if we're now the product.

    Perhaps if I turn the camera to point up, I can have a second sequence about what the marketing of entire lifestyles has left as one of the only creative acts for most people. Fab!

    Concept (c) 2012 Blow it out yer a$$ productions... oh, wait - where do I send -that- to?

    P.S. That's not a helicopter, it's a 'chocolate starfish'...

  25. Dave Bell

    If this grab and resale of copyright is effectively illegal, though EU directives and international treaty, how can any media operation afford to take the chance of "buying" rights from a seller known to be acting outside the law?

    Existing bodies such as the PRS might just be able to get away with it, on what are almost back catalogue items, but can you be sure that this sale of rights will be valid in all the markets where you might want to use a work?

    And then there are the rules on the Single European Market.

    This is so dumb that you wonder that they are trying to slip through in the confusion.

  26. Rocket

    so could I ...

    With this legislation could I register myself as a company and say "Suuure I tried to contact the rights owners of my media collection, but no-one was home." Then sit back and watch lawyers fight it out between themselves. In a cage preferably. With water pistols. And baboons

  27. Keep Refrigerated
    WTF?

    So basically...

    The UK government is shamelessly selling us down the river to their friends in big media and are not even bothering to hide it.

    If I understand this they're making it so that the MAFIAA can produce a film or song, then go fishing for images to use in cover art and marketing material and don't have to compensate the photographer fcsk all - with no threat of legal repercussions. Then, if said photographer later downloads the song or film infrin^H^H^H^H^H^H using their work, the MAFIAA can wring the poor sod for every penny he has?!

    I'm no fan of current copyright law, but if it is a necessary evil then I think even most copyfighters would be supportive if copyright was limited to the original artist and corporations could not 'own' copyrights, only license them. This seems to be the complete opposite!

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: So basically...

      Sadly KR I think "copyfighters" have been barking madly up the wrong tree. Now the man has come for their rights, too.

  28. Adair

    This is tradtionally known as...

    ...a landgrab, and is conducted by whoever has the most guns/money/power/chutzpah in an area of virgin territory (never mind the natives---they get sorted out later).

    As far as I know there are two traditional solutions:

    1. Revolution---this can be violent;

    2. Marginalization---this is sneaky, rendering the landgrabbers irrelevant, but can be tricky to implement.

    Either way it's no different to dealing with the playground bully---there have to be enough people willing to work together to take him/her down, whether by force or guile.

    Then there's always the problem of: 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss',

    but that's another story.

  29. oopsie

    I wonder if they've thought about the number of photographs that amateur photographers take every week. Would Bastards Ltd have to charge for registration of works or be overwhelmed?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So No More Apple Claims about appearance then?

    Title says it all, how will they now be able to claim anything to do with appearance - so perhaps there is some good news?

  31. mordac
    Pirate

    This goes both ways, doesn't it?

    TFA says "significantly representative of rights holders affected by the scheme". So how much is "significant"? 100? 1,000? 100,000? It doesn't matter.

    Imagine that Mr Pirate buys one of these licenses, (I presume there's a licensing fee). Let's say he picks the "popular music" category. And then he gets a few mates (100, 1,000 or 100,000 - whatever) who create "works" in the category so that he can represent them. Those works don't have to be terribly good, someone singing "yo ho a pirate's life for me would probably count.

    That's it. He now has a license to distribute *all* media in that category, for any fee he likes. Perhaps he could choose a fee of zero.

    TPB can set up in this country, with the blessing of Cameron and all his cronies.

  32. Oninoshiko
    Go

    there is only one problem

    Actually, this proposal is not THAT bad. You SHOULD have to register your copyrights, and be tracable for the duration of time (you wish/are allowed) to enforce them.

    The only problem I have with a proposal like this is that it is some compan(y/ies) that you have to register with. It should be an office of the government.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: there is only one problem

      The whole point of copyright is that you don't have to register it - as I understand it is yours upon creation of the work. The problem is often that whilst a photographer may embed the copyright details in the metadata of their work often sites will strip out this data upon upload. I believe Facebook is but one example. This then gives the industry a "we can't trace the owner" excuse (not necessarily in the case of Facebook) and things have rolled merrily along from there with a complaint of "it's all too difficult" to the current bunch of arseholes in power.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: there is only one problem

        The whole point of copyright is that you don't have to register it

        I dispute this. In many juristictions proper notice was required until Berne. The point of copyright is to allow an artist to exclusive rights to provide copies of their work (normally for profit). anything else is extending the point.

        - as I understand it is yours upon creation of the work. The problem is often that whilst a photographer may embed the copyright details in the metadata of their work often sites will strip out this data upon upload.

        Exactly why registration is useful. just check the registry. problem solved.

        I believe Facebook is but one example. This then gives the industry a "we can't trace the owner" excuse (not necessarily in the case of Facebook)

        Having a registry makes this defense IMPOSSIBLE. Did you check the registry? No? You didn't try so it's a willful violation and you pay 3x your gross income from whatever product used it.

        and things have rolled merrily along from there with a complaint of "it's all too difficult" to the current bunch of arseholes in power.

        Under the present system, everything must be assumed to be under a copyright, and the only safe thing is to not only not use anything (they might have violated someone else's copyrights, so even finding them, you may be found to be in violation). Even original photos have run afoul of others copyrights, because something happened to be in-shot. The shear amount of litigation (and threats of litigation) should be a clear sign the system is broken.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: there is only one problem

          "Under the present system, everything must be assumed to be under a copyright, and the only safe thing is to not only not use anything"

          The safe thing is to pay the sodding person who created it. Or just ask. Daily Mail take note: marking a photo '(C) The Internet' doesn't cut it.

          Reducing the overhead involved is obviously a good thing. More like this http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/14/stop43_national_cultural_archive_proposals/ for example.

          Automatic copyright has these benefits: much lower overheads and bureaucracy than your opt-in registration scheme, lower costs for users, and the fear of doing a Daily Mail keeps most people honest.

    2. PyLETS
      Boffin

      Governments not always very efficient

      It should be an office of the government.

      Take the number of people employed by the land registry as an example. That's quite an expensive database considering what it holds. The problem is how to get costs down through competition, while searchers don't have too many databases in competition with each other to search through. Also if all the competitors use different APIs that's much more expensive and flaky software on the client side compared to if they all use a standardised API.

      1. Fibbles
        Facepalm

        Re: Governments not always very efficient

        Your comparison with the land registry is flawed. Land is a finite resource and therefore there is an upper limit on the amount of work the registry can expect to do. Copyrighted works are created constantly so for any proposed registry to avoid being swamped they'd need to create an artificial barrier to entry. This is likely to be an upfront monetary cost.

        What you've then created is a system where the little guy has no rights over his work (or at least not all of it) because he can't afford the registration costs. Big business on the other hand can still afford to protect all of their work and better yet, they now have access to a wealth of copyright free material produced by smaller firms and independent artists.

        1. Oninoshiko

          Re: Governments not always very efficient

          such a cost wouldn't have to be high, just a nusence. say £5 and filling out a form attached to a copy of the work.

          Just enough to make it only people who are willing to go that extra step. It would also help offset, but that's really not it's purpose.

          What I've done is create a system where everyone can afford to protect any work they desire (you really are going to have a hard time convencing me anyone can't afford £5), but anyone who doesn't care doesn't do anything.

          I've also created a system where tracking down the owner of something is downright trivial.

          1. Fibbles

            Re: Governments not always very efficient

            I've created 4 works today that I own the copyright to (vector images to be used as stock). I may possibly break them down into their constituent parts in which case that's a dozen creations. To be granted copyright to these images in your world I'd have had to pay £60 today up front. Now consider that I created these vector images on the prospect that I might earn some money from them in the future.

            Why are you people so insistent on stripping away my rights just to make things easier for big business? It's utterly bizarre.

            1. PyLETS
              FAIL

              @Fibbles - Re: Governments not always very efficient

              To be granted copyright to these images in your world I'd have had to pay £60 today up front. Now consider that I created these vector images on the prospect that I might earn some money from them in the future.

              Simple. Copyright is created automatically but isn't treated by reformed law and courts as worth very much until the owner registers it (e.g. maximum cost you can charge for reproduction per copy of an unregistered photo £0.001 ). You still own the copyright and can register it whenever it suits you. I dispute the need for a fee as high as £5 to put a hash signature, description, small watermarked copy and search keywords onto a public database, but let's assume that £5 is what it costs the creator to register it. If it's worth less than £5 to you, the creator, then why on earth should your cheapness in being unwilling to pay £5 bankrupt anyone else who uses your copyright reasonably thinking it to be in the public domain because notarised searches which they can prove they have carried out have not located it ?

              If I've put it on my website and the logs say a couple of thousand accesses were made, charging me a couple of quid isn't going to bankrupt me, and I'm less likely to ignore your invoice once you do register it. The fact you subsequently register after your discovery of it on my site will encourage me to take your ownership claim as genuine as opposed to a cheap shot I should ignore until legally summonsed, if making a false registration claim is something with criminal consequences.

              And if you discover the Daily Mail have reproduced 1,000,000 copies of the photo you valued at or less than 1p/copy , because you thought it unlikely to be copied 5000 times, you can still get £1,000 off them for it even if they can prove they diligently searched. You can always register your photo later, and if it's of enough interest for someone to print 1,000,000 copies, chances are it should become a regular earner.

              1. heyrick Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: @Fibbles - Governments not always very efficient

                Why the fsck do I have to pay for something I have created in order to prevent it being ripped off by some other bastard? I'm sorry, but unless some big national paper/magazine steals something of mine and I can hit them for ££££s, then this just looks like a lose/lose situation to me; everybody else looking to profit at my expense, on the off chance that something of mine may be worth something to somebody sometime.

                That you don't seem to get this is just utter FAIL.

              2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

                Re: @Fibbles - Re: Governments not always very efficient

                "I'm less likely to ignore your invoice once you do register it."

                UN Human Rights Act - Article 27(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."

                You ignore invoices at your peril. The court system needs a fast-track for small copyright claims. Hargreaves heard this and ignored it.

                All your proposal does is weaken univeral rights, and create the expense of a vast bureaucratic overhead with additional costs.

                Technology means everyone is now a creator. Automatic rights make more sense than ever.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Who thinks this crap up - what a cock of shite

    Seriously it is so crazy that whoever came up with this should be let go and save the country some money.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    copyright holder has to contact the publisher

    what if you just make it almost impossible to get hold of the publisher ?

    for example: flog some Disney pictures/movies and have only a web presence without an email address (like so many big companies) and with a phone number that is only operative 5 minutes a day and a PO box as an address.

    Would it be up to Disney to contact you and then also to prove that they contacted you ?

  35. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Land Grab or Blank Titles ?

    If you define a lending library by its revenue stream (the occasional fine) and classify other assets (the books, films, etc) as undeveloped resources, then by wilful ignorance alone you allow maintenance of the fiction that IP is either been transferred to some big dog for its own protection or orphan.

    This used to be known as the Maverick Fiction in the US. A "Maverick" is an unbranded calf, or at least it used to be before the Republicans went to work on it. Poor Sam Maverick would not even recognize himself.

  36. Crisp Silver badge
    Go

    The Pirate Bay are "significantly representative of rights holders affected by the scheme"

    Is this legislation being brought in to make sites like that legal?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is why copyright is wrong

    when you create something you are giving it to the world, you cant say that you're not giving it to the world or that they cant have it.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: this is why copyright is wrong

      Why is 'creative' a special category? Does it cover only writing and poetry and music and visual arts? Trademarks? Does it cover film? Does it cover design? Such as technical design? Source code?

      The commodification of creativity might be the curse of capitalism, but if other inventions of the mind can be 'owned', why not a painting or a piece of music or a short story or an article? Why is it that these must be free? Why is 'ownership' so odious for these and not for brand names?

      Worth checking to see why the concept of copyright protection was invented in the first place. It's easy to condemn someone else to give their all for free -- just so long as YOU don't work for free.

  38. Adrian Midgley 1

    You should not have to register your copyright.

    It exists.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    David Cameron is obviously in Google's poclet

    Cue re-run of Spitting Image David Steel/David Owen.

  40. Joe Montana
    FAIL

    Corruption

    Yet more evidence that the entire copyright system is massively corrupted to favour big business at the expense of everyone else...

    How about massive reform, reduce copyright terms to something thats reasonable given today's technology... 20 years was reasonable at the time, when distribution of media was slow... Now we can distribute media worldwide in seconds, the terms should be MUCH shorter.

    And with much shorter terms, the problems of orphaned works become much smaller too.

    Any system like copyright needs to be a fair give and take with all parties benefitting...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kleptocracy

    Or, as some famous Americans might have said (but they were too coy):

    "So that government of the people, for the rich, by the hirelings of the rich, shall not perish from the earth".

  42. A J Stiles

    Is it really so bad?

    Look. People still created art before there was copyright to protect them from greedy publishers. And they will carry on creating art, long after copyright has ceased to protect the greedy publishers from artists and members of the public.

    You had a nice ride, and you made a lot of money and wasted most of it, but it's over now. You keep saying you have to eat, and I don't dispute that. But just because something was hard work, doesn't mean you have an automatic right to get paid for doing it.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Is it really so bad?

      No, no right up until the point somebody wishes to use my work, then I have every right to be paid for my work. Also how do you know how I have spent my money? I'm close to retiring and not half way through my biblically alloted time, so not entirely wasted.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it really so bad?

      You're conveniently ignoring that before copyright there wasn't an effective means of cheaply mass manufacturing copies (China, etc.) or a means of cheaply mass distributing creative works (the Internet).

      Creative works are expensive to produce in time. If a person is going to devote vast quantities of time to creating something then they're going to want paying so that they can eat and maintain a roof over their head. There are two methods of dealing with this cost.

      The first is how things used to be before copyright. As mentioned art is expensive to produce and without any legal protection for licensing the whole cost of the work needs to be paid up front to maintain the artist during its creation. This means only the rich can afford to commission art and therefore all art is produced according to the tastes and sensibilities of the rich.

      The second requires copyright. The artist produces an expensive work (remember, time = money) and then recoups that cost by selling licenses at a fraction of the cost of the artwork. This allows many people to consume the creative work by maintaining a low cost for the consumer whilst still fully compensating the artist for his time. This also allows for much freer expression. An artist can produce anything so long as he thinks there is enough demand worldwide to recoup the production costs rather than having to find a rich patron who also shares his vision.

  43. Simon B
    Devil

    Watermark all your pictures with 'Fuck Off it's mine!' will likely stop anyone from using your pics for adverting and such like! ;)

  44. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    23456

    No need to worry.

    It is to do with IT and anything with IT in it will be cocked-up by the government and then written-off after about 18 months. It will be run by Fujupyou ... with your money which HMG thinks it owns (well, it does, actually).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not normally the sort to get stirred up about this but

    "Gentlemen, to the barricades...."

  46. JaitcH
    Meh

    Would Virtual Immigration Circumvent the Law?

    Apart from the fact the government seems to protect big business and put the boot to the small guys, would claiming to be Canadian or Russian continue to offer predication?

  47. Dave 3
    Thumb Down

    This sounds an awful lot like Readability's business model.

    http://www.readability.com/publishers/faq

  48. Directphoto

    UK Copyright Law sucks

    Yes, the only problem here is that when the big corporations Can Exploit, they will. Nothing New here. The problem is that the U.K. Copyright Laws allow such a thing to occur. For example, here in France (where I live) (and I think also in Germany) Such a rights grab would not be possible. Why? Because the Copyright law as it stands doesn't allow it. Although, much misunderstood by people outside of France, The "Droits d'Auteur" law is the best protection there is. I begin to wonder if this is a reason why the British didn't want to join the E.U ? Your law only protects the big corporations not the Artist. The problem here is that you have left the 1% to dictate their terms in forming your Copyright Law.. The QUestion now is.. When are you going to change it?

    1. Arcadian

      Re: UK Copyright Law sucks

      I am sorry to have to tell you this, Directphoto, but earlier this year the French legislature smashed a huge hole in the droit d'auteur. Read this post: <a href="http://blog.authorsrights.org.uk/2012/02/28/france-guillotines-copyright/">France Guillotines Copyright</a> and this post: <a href="http://blog.authorsrights.org.uk/2012/03/08/the-new-french-legislation-further-points/">The New French Legislation</a>.

  49. El Presidente
    FAIL

    Blimey

    There are some seriously retarded people commenting here.

    80% of the comments above don;t appear to relate at all to the issue.

    What I don't understand is if someone is so clueless about a subject, why comment ?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Blimey

      "What I don't understand is if someone is so clueless about a subject, why comment ?"

      Because it perpetuates the Dream World.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Iraq War ?

    '...but as with the rush to Iraq nine years ago...'

    Irrespective of the legalities of the Iraq war and indeed the significance of this story in relation to copyright, invoking the term 'Iraq war' in this context smacks of trying to sensationalize this story unneccessarily - come on Reg, bit more professional please

  51. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Another reason why politics is broken

    On wonders what would happens to the councillors on a *local* authority that went ahead and spent money on something that they knew beforehand was illegal. Depending on the amount of money spent and the obviousness of the illegality, one suspects it could involve fines and dismissals for the members responsible.

    Of course, such rules don't apply to MPs, just like normal accounting standards don't apply to government spending. Perhaps they should. After all, there are no fundamental reasons why the body that *makes* the law should need to be *above* it in order to do its job.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Performing Rights Society

    This is pretty much what that shower do with music. So we'll soon see a day when you get threatening phone calls because you looked at an image etc.

  53. Freshp2
    Megaphone

    Somebody got the big wheels roll'n

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