Peter Mandelson Accepts Responsibility For Copyright Infringing Political Poster?

from the ain't-that-always-the-way... dept

What is it with politicians who push for “three strikes” and other draconian copyright laws always being caught infringing on copyrights themselves? We’ve already covered how Nicolas Sarkozy, who claims credit for the original “three strikes” plan, has been caught infringing on copyrights multiple times.

Now it appears the same may happening with Lord Peter Mandelson, the unelected politician in the UK (who had been forced to resign twice in his past), who suddenly started pushing for a similar three strikes law — after a UK study had outright rejected it — after dining with entertainment industry bigshots. From that came the Digital Economy Bill.

But it appears that even Mandelson, the great defender of copyright, isn’t above getting into a bit of trouble with copyright himself. It appears that there’s a bit of a controversy over a recent political ad put together by his Labour party — and Mandelson is taking responsibility for the ad. That was in response to the fact that the ad backfired and seems to have rallied opponents.

But, as PeteProdge points out, it also appears that the ad very well might infringe on copyrights. That’s because it takes an image from an old (popular) TV show in the UK, and replaces one character’s head with a politician’s head. The link here is a bit full of hyperbole, as it comes from someone who seems to be against orphan works legislation and in favor of even more ridiculous copyright laws. The BBC says that it never would have licensed the use of the program, however there are some questions over who might actually have the right to license the image.

I’m not entirely sure this is a big deal. One could probably make a pretty strong fair use/parody argument for allowing the use of the image here. However, for a politician who is so in favor of stricter copyright law, you would think he wouldn’t go around using other people’s works.

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Comments on “Peter Mandelson Accepts Responsibility For Copyright Infringing Political Poster?”

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14 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“One could probably make a pretty strong fair use/parody argument for allowing the use of the image here. However, for a politician who is so in favor of stricter copyright law, you would think he wouldn’t go around using other people’s works.”

Their no fair dealing aruge for this at all in the UK. Fair dealing mostly cover text in the uk and Wikipedia says “fair dealing is limited to the following purposes: research and private study (both non-commercial), criticism, review, and news reporting (s. 29, 30, 178). Although not actually defined as a fair dealing, incidental inclusion of a copyrighted work in an artistic work, sound recording, film, broadcast or cable programme doesn’t infringe copyright”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_dealing#United_Kingdom

MRK says:

You have to understand there are two standards. There is the strict standard to which the citizens are held; and there is the loose standard that celebrities, politicians and corporations are held to. These people are more equal than others.

With the three strikes law, If the BBC, Mandelson, or Sarkozy infringes on your copyright a thousand times you will never get their internet cut off.

Laws are never intended to be applied equally to everyone, that would be absurd. Can you imagine a world where the rich receive the same punishment as the poor? Ridiculous!

misterfricative (user link) says:

looks like infringement to me

Fair use? I don’t think so. As for parody, for that defense to work, it would need to be a parody of Gene Hunt or ‘the Glenister’, whereas the original Labour poster is a satirical (not parodic) shot at Cameron.

As it says on one of the sites you link to (TheDrum), ”If Labour and Conservative parties can’t even understand normal licensing procedure themselves, then how can they be trusted to legislate changes to it?”

PeteProdge (profile) says:

Re: "old"

Hi, I’m the contributor, I guess it’s my fault “old” description was used!

When I wrote my submission, I knew it’d be going out to many readers outside of the UK, so I put a note in about how Ashes To Ashes is “a 1980s cop show”. I guess I should have clarified that it’s actually a modern TV show *set* in the 1980s! Gah!

My apologies to Mike, yourself and the various Brit readers here!

Anonymous Coward says:

What is it with politicians who push for “three strikes” and other draconian copyright laws always being caught infringing on copyrights themselves?

It’s simply because everyone infringes but those who are pushing for draconian copyright laws are more likely to be have their actions scrutinized for copyright infringement.

anon says:

Lib Dems

The Lib Dems are probably the best mainstream party for those of you concerned about the freedom of the internet.

Less free internet + copyright laws mean a lower quality of life for those under the heel in the UK.

I hate politics but even I am getting out to vote for them, make sure you do your part too and turn this around.

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