03 March 2009

UK Government Fails to Get Web 2.0

This is so depressing:


There should be no new exemption from copyright law for users' adaptations of copyright-protected content, the UK Government has said. To create such an exemption for user-generated content would ignore the rights of content creators, it said.

...


"Another significant concern is the extent to which such an exemption might allow others to use the works in a way that the existing rights holders do not approve of and the impact that exemptions in this area might have on remuneration," it said.

In fact reading the full report is even more depressing, since it constantly harps on "stakeholders" - by which it means content owners - and clearly doesn't give a toss for the general public's concerns or needs.

The UK government is clearly still trapped in the mindset that it's about telling the little people what they can do with the stuff kindly provided by those magnanimous content corporations. Even extending exemptions for teaching and libraries are frowned upon as self-evidently bad things - can't spread that dangerous knowledge stuff too widely, now can we?

2 comments:

Roger Lancefield said...

"Another significant concern is the extent to which such an exemption might allow others to use the works in a way that the existing rights holders do not approve of and the impact that exemptions in this area might have on remuneration,"

(I realise that I'm 'preaching to the converted' here, but...) If I were the government and rights holders, I'd be "significantly concerned" about the fact that there is a massive oversupply of most types of content. Attaching overbearing conditions and implied threats to the bulk of existing rights-governed digital content will simply ensure that much of it gets ignored by those who would otherwise be happy to use it.

An O'Reilly Associates author contacted me the other day via my flickr account in order to ask whether or not I minded if he used one of my images for his upcoming book "iWork '09: The Missing Manual". I was fine with that and the Creative Commons licence that governs the image was fine with that. Despite possessing only basic photographic and digital imaging abilites I supplied "content" to a commercial project, free of any charge, thus cutting out of the loop image libraries such as Getty Images, who typically bundle up their images with a pack of draconian licensing conditions and absurdly expensive fee structures. If Getty's licenses and fees were far more reasonable, small commercial projects would probably be throwing more money their way on a regular basis. As it is, at least for low-end rquirements, many are clearly picking and choosing from the wealth of Free, or else very low cost, content out there.

Having picked on Getty, I confess, I haven't looked at their licensing deals for at least two years now and perhaps they have since made their image licensing deals more attractive for small businesses and individuals? They were prohibitively expensive and restrictive the last time I looked.

glyn moody said...

Thanks for detailing your experience. The UK Gov has got so far to go on this, it's really depressing.