Hands Off My Copyright – Lynne Garner

As I type people are going to the polls to place an X in their chosen box. I’ll admit this time around I really don’t know who to vote for. I’ve always voted Green but this year they’ve proved once again (well to me at least) that politicians really don’t have a clue what they’re doing. The reason I’m uncertain is the Green’s attack on my copyright.

I’ll allow The Bookseller to explain (to read the entire piece click here):

"The UK copyright term is currently set at the life of the author plus 70 years, but in the "Intellectual Property" section of a policy statement the Green Party says it wants to “expand the area of cultural activity……. The EC1010 proposals would not only reduce copyright terms (to 14 years) but also legalise peer-to-peer copying where it is not done as a business….."

Copyright is a big issue and I agree with them that our copyright law, as it stands is no longer fit for purpose (the internet put that spanner in the works). What we need is more protection not less.

I’ll try to explain why I’m so annoyed with this policy.

I’ve been writing professionally since 1997. At that time when writing for magazines I usually sold first serial rights only. This meant I could resell the feature (usually I tweaked to suit the new market I was selling to) and increase my income without much additional time outlay. However today the vast majority of magazines want (no demand) full rights, which means I’m unable to use the piece again to generate additional income.

So what’s the big deal?

Firstly magazines want more (full copyright rather than first serial rights) but are paying the same amount I received in 1997, so in essence I'm working for less than I was 18 years ago.

Secondly because I have to hand over my copyright (I have no choice if I want to continue earning from feature writing) my copyright portfolio is growing at a greatly reduced rate.

So I want to keep hold of my copyright for as long as I can not less, even if it is only so I have something to pass onto my relatives when I’m gone.   

This new policy annoyed me so much that I wrote to my Green Party candidate. And all credit to her, even though she was on the campaign trail she bothered to reply to my email: 

"The Green Party is fully committed to a total review of the policy. As your MP I can assure you that I would not act on it or support it in Westminster. My sister is a writer and many of my friends work in the creative industries, and I absolutely would not support the policy as it currently stands. I see my role as protecting and supporting the artists, writers and musicians in my constituency, to the best of my abilities." 
Sophie Christophy - Green Party

She also included a link, which states the Green Party are now reviewing this policy and intend to invite ‘creatives’ so they can give their opinion – and so they should (just a pity they didn't do that before they added it to their manifesto). I only hope they listen to those who will lose out and give ‘creatives’ like myself more control over the ‘product’ we create rather than less.


P.S. Oh I feel better for that rant!


Jan Needle said…
good rant, and spot on. but what were the green party?
Susan Price said…
Couldn't agree more, Lynne - a political party openly supporting theft?
I suppose you've got to admit it's honest.
Nick Green said…
Slightly off-topic, but I must say this or burst: everyone who didn't want a Tory government, and who voted for an alternative that wasn't Labour... effectively voted Tory.

Dennis Hamley said…
Well,it hardly matters now as far as the election is concerned, but I was very angry to read it in the first place. My brief flirtation with the Greens ended at once. Nick, you are right. Tactical voting has let me down yet again. I've been voting in every election since 1959. Fifteen in all. I Never has my vote counted for for anything. Only once has the candidate of my choice actually won. That was in 1966, when I lived in the West Riding of Yorkshire and the candidate I voted for had an 18000 majority. Churchill once said that democracy was the worst possible form of government except for all the others which have been tried and I think that in this case he wasn't far wrong.
Lee said…
I can't decide whether 'copyright' or 'creatives' is my new c-word.
Lydia Bennet said…
I totally agree with you Lynn, sadly the result means copyright may be the least of our worries, important though it is.

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