Thursday, 4 August 2011

NUJ unhappy at Government over copyright law

The NUJ says it is "disappointed" at the government’s response to Professor Ian Hargreaves' report on copyright.

The union claims
it fails to foster creative opportunities for journalists to make a living as independent professionals dedicated to making high-quality new work.

The proposal that the use of work by uncontactable authors is licensed and the fee reflecting the commercial value of such uses is welcomed by the NUJ.

It says this is some recognition of the distorting effect that Hargreaves’ proposals would, if carelessly implemented, have on the market in which individual journalists, including reporters and photographers, make their living.

If there were to be licensing of so-called “orphan works” it must be done by bodies accountable to journalists and other creators; and the licences must be reviewed if the creator shows up.

The NUJ also welcomes the commitment to set up a copyright small claims jurisdiction for cases involving sums of £5,000 or less.

It urges the government to introduce new rights for creators in UK copyright law because under the current laws, creators do not have an enforceable right to be identified – that is, given a credit or byline – nor to defend the integrity of their work.

According to the union, this new measure could be introduced alongside legislation that permits the use of works whose creators cannot be identified.

The NUJ wants all creators to have the right to be identified with their work and says to ignore this issue would be to guarantee that there was a growing number of “orphan works” and create a system that promotes abuse.

It claims these “moral rights” of identification and integrity are crucial to creators in building and maintaining a career and that creators should have the right to be identified so they are able to negotiate on a level playing field to obtain fair remuneration for their work.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Journalists should be able to publically claim their work and decide who and how journalistic work is used. This is vital for fostering a creative and sustainable economy able to grow and flourish. Creative rights are vital for journalists to be able to make a living as independent professionals dedicated to making high-quality new work.”

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