UK Copyright Law To Be Revewied Again (For The Benefit Of Google & Facebook)

As reported by the British Journal of Photography, the new UK coalition administration intends to review copyright law once more (this is in addition to the Digital Economy Bill introduced by the last government).  Specifically, a ‘fair use’ policy will be considered to make it easier for Google, Facebook and other aggregators of third party content to use intellectual property:

The government proposes to look at four different areas, according to [David] Cameron – Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders; the cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally; the interaction between IP and Competition frameworks; the cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.  According to Cameron, some of these goals could be achieved with the introduction of a improved “Fair Use” policy similar to the one in place in the US. “Fair use” allows for limited use of copyright material – such as images – for commentary, criticism, news reporting and other research.” [Read More]

Industry bodies representing photographers and notably the single issue group: Stop43 were successful in removing the controversial Clause 43 from the Digital Economy Bill earlier this year.  Their alternative proposals, however, were to strengthen rather than relax copyright laws so it seems another battle between independent content producers and the government is likely over this issue.

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