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All go on the copyright front

THE NUJ is putting more and more effort into defending members' copyright the basis of every freelance's living.

Most directly challenging is the Digital Economy Bill. At present the key section for freelances is due for debate in House of Lords Committee on 9 February. That's the section that would start setting up mechanisms for licensing of "orphan works" - and for "extended collective licensing" by bodies

Working through the Creators' Rights Alliance (see last Freelance), the NUJ has promoted amendments to the Bill that would extend the right to be identified and the right to defend the integrity of works to all creators, including text and photo-journalists.

You can read the full list of amendments on the Parliament website though you'll need a copy of the Digital Economy Bill as proposed and an updated copy of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 to hand to make sense of them.

There's a list of amendments that the CRA is supporting, with brief notes on what they're for, here (small PDF).The debate on these has been scheduled for the afternoon of Monday 8 February. See

We'll update you after we've digested the debate.

Meanwhile, the government is consulting on two other sets of changes. One would alter the "exceptions" to copyright. It would, broadly, allow libraries to make copies for archiving purposes. And it would allow schools and colleges to extend an existing licensing scheme that pays authors (including visual authors) through collecting societies, to cover audiovisual works.

Another would allow "deposit libraries" such as the British Library to hoover up the publicly-accessible parts of UK-based websites, again for archiving purposes.

We're all in favour of libraries (considered as friendly neighbourhood buildings) and of education - the devil is in decoding what the detail means.

More on these, too, as that becomes clear.

Last modified: 15 Feb 2010 - © 2009 contributors
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