Thursday, May 02, 2013

Important: Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (ERR)

This could affect all of us, not just those of us in the UK. Please raise awareness by sharing this article on Facebook, Twitter, your blogs and anywhere else you can think of. This only slipped through the net because people weren't aware enough of it when it was happening.

From the AOI's Website. Read the complete article there:

The EER Bill completed its passage through parliament on 24 April 2013, and amongst a host of other new measures included within it the Government is pushing through ill thought out changes to copyright. This is information that all those making income from creative works should be aware of. The Government claimed that allowing use of Orphan Works and Extended Collective Licensing and the broadening of exceptions through this Bill would generate income to UK plc, even though their own assessments on the maximum benefits of the proposed changes have been reduced by up to 97% since the original - unsubstantiated – claim of £26bn. A huge drop.

Copyright ownership of your work is the foundation on which illustrators base their income; it is the right to copy (reproduce) your artwork. Elements of this Bill will take this right and allow usage of certain works in certain situations. It doesn’t mean a literal co-opting of your artworks, however it will mean that that works may be allowed to be used more broadly without your specific permission:

The changes to copyright include expansion of exceptions to copyright (which allow people to use copyrighted material – your artwork or writings – without your permission under certain situations); allowing use of Orphan Works (OW) andintroducing Extended Collective Licensing (ECL). 


A Digital Copyright Hub was proposed by Government to act as an umbrella portal site for those seeking to licence content. This has been set up by industry, and it has been launched as a company limited by guarantee. It is still in early stages.

None of these proposed schemes should replace the freelancer’s ability to licence individually (although the Copyright Hub may facilitate this). On another point, Moral Rights, which include the right to be credited (right of Paternity), should have been strengthened in the UK as part of these ‘reforms’ to ensure future works do not easily become orphans. If works have to be credited then it’s less likely the creator’s name will become detached from it. But this was considered outside the scope of this Bill in spite of lobbying to include it by creators organisations such as the Creators’ Rights Alliance, of which AOI are members.

AOI will continue to report on developments with the ERR Bill.

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