UK Publishers Pretend To Embrace Copyright Reform… In Order To Kill Copyright Reform

from the nice-try dept

One of the bolder ideas in the UK’s Hargreaves report was the suggestion that a Digital Copyright Exchange should be set up. The idea here is to promote innovative uses of digital content by making it much easier to acquire the necessary licenses from rightsholders.

So it’s interesting to see the UK Publishers Association (PA) backing the idea:

The Publishers Association (PA) has today called for the development of a new online platform that would act as a “one stop shop” for the exchange of information about how to license copyright works online. Such a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) would counteract the need for dangerous changes to copyright law proposed by government in a parallel consultation, the PA argues.

However, as this indicates, the PA’s support for the DCE is actually an attempt to get all the other suggestions in the Hargreaves report thrown out:

In supporting the development of the DCE, The PA urges government to suspend progress of the parallel Copyright Consultation launched by the Intellectual Property Office late last year, which recommends drastically weakening copyright. The PA maintains that many of the consultation’s proposals would remove or undermine the ability of rightsholders to develop licensing business models, and go against the grain of the market-based voluntary arrangements proposed in the DCE.

This is, of course, nonsense: there’s no suggestion of weakening copyright, just trying to update it for the digital age — and only in very minor ways. Proposals include things like permitting format shifting and also freeing up orphan works — hardly radical.

Moreover, it turns out that the PA is only supporting the DCE if it’s watered-down to the point of uselessness :

The PA makes the case for a DCE as a fully voluntary, interoperable platform, for use by businesses and the public, which could allow rights to be licensed more efficiently and openly. Its submission makes clear that the DCE would not be a place to set prices or terms, but rather to put potential users in touch with the rightsholders in a work, in all forms of content.

In other words, the PA wants the DCE to be a totally toothless system that would not solve the problems faced by innovative startups seeking to explore new uses of digital copyright material, but would allow publishers to simply carry on as before.

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Comments on “UK Publishers Pretend To Embrace Copyright Reform… In Order To Kill Copyright Reform”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:


For many people in the content industry its a way of life. The wheeling and dealing, the insider club, the exclusivity, once you get there you have a small group surrounding you. A group that you tend to stick with. That shares the same values, have their own dialect, and has the same faith in the way things have always been done.

Groups like this tend to strike out at anything that threatens their way of life. Religious, and Political groups all do this. They rationalize their actions and believe anything, no matter how logically incorrect, to support their point of view. In order to maintain the coherence of the group they always find another group or a concept to demonize. For the longest time it was any sort of change, now their demon is the internet and they are using Google as its face.

If large enough these groups become stuck in a perpetual denial, anger, bargaining loop. The loop is driven by a meme gaining strength and giving hope, running its course through the group. Each time through the loop they push further, each time thinking this will fix the problem. The content industry has been doing this for 30 years now. The end result is the copyright in its modern form.

Paddy Duke (profile) says:


It’s not just limited to these industry groups though. I have met people (even young people, in their early 20s!) totally unconnected to these industries who unequivocally believe that stronger copyright law is a) an effective deterrent against file-sharing, b) utterly essential for an artist to make any money from their art, and c) a moral imperative that governments must heed, at any cost to personal freedom or speech.

In their minds, this is not and has not ever been a debate about defunct business practices. They actually view all unauthorised file-sharing as literal theft.

In my experience they are significantly in the minority, but they are still numerous enough to represent a significant obstacle to copyright reform. Let?s not forget that a lot of them seem to have made it into our governments.

Suja (profile) says:


I have met people (even young people, in their early 20s!

i’ve seen, met and been harasses by people even younger than that

i’m talking people as young as 13 or 14 who where already convinced that copyright is this holy savior end be all of artistry and anything to do with creativity and permission culture is the “cool” “right” thing to do

they start early with kids like that, i was one of those kids, what they do is they catch you doing something that ANY NORMAL KID WOULD DO like copying something like artwork especially and then they hound you

my mistake was making fan art of another artist’s characters, and sending them the link it like “hey look at what i made with your guy in it!!”

my god was i was just absolutely torn into, from the way this person treated me you’d think that i just raped their whole family, robbed them blind and burned their house down, they even had their entire circle of snotty friends aid them in bashing me down

why? apparently because i didn’t “ask permission”, to make fanart because i like somebody? are ya fucken loopy? well, put simply, i am no longer a fan of that person, i hate them infact

i was only like 11 or 12 years old at the time, this is NOT something any child should have had to deal with, when i was in school and/or with friends NONE of the kids even knew about or gave a fuck about copyright, we copied, we shared, we reused and that was the end of it

it was then that i fucking hated copyright and wanted nothing more than to see it wiped off the face of the earth

most kids would have already given in to their demands and conformed to copyright faith, i did not, instead of converting me they won an enemy that day, they’ll learn to regret that

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