Recently a Government action has come to my attention that’s quite frankly unbelievable. Not only that it’s been suggested, but it seems there’s a good chance it could very well come true.
To spare you the brain melting, nose bleed inducing legalese, it comes down to this basic summation.
Under this new ruling, your Intellectual Property will be at risk of being taken by some private company and used for whatever purpose they want. Worse yet, they’ll get to choose how much, or even IF, they pay you anything for your work, which under this new ruling on Copyright regulations won’t technically be “yours”, but public domain.
Of course, those trying to push this through HAVE put something in their dense, indecipherable-without-a-degree-in-copyright-law proclamation. There is an OPTION to opt out of this and choose to retain the sole rights to YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. That’s right, they may be money grabbing bastards, but they’ve been thoughtful enough to include a clause that allows you to take ownership of something you owned in the first place. The problem being, of course, most people won’t be aware of this, because it’ll be hidden amidst a flood of long, latin sounding words you need a dictionary to fully understand.
But the fact they’ve included an option to object to this new ruling is meaningless. It’s an empty gesture that shouldn’t be required in the first place. We’ve all agreed to the terms and conditions of itunes without reading it, and the government know this. It’s why they’ve included this option, to cover their arses in the case someone notices this borderline Communist idea.
My problem isn’t with the idea of people’s I.P being freely used by anyone, after all we live in a world where doing so can lead to great things. Unfortunately, the people that will be taking advantage of this ruling are the wrong kinds of people: not fellow artists, musicians, actors, writers and directors, but companies. The problem is, the idea of public domain content isn’t new, and more often than not, if you ask the owner of something cool and creative about involving their creation with yours, they’re more than happy to do so. We live in a world where more and more people are doing their own thing, and despite what some would have you believe, there’s a lot of creative types out there willing to help follow members of their community. What this addendum to copyright law means is that someone wants to control the flow of content that they don’t and can’t currently regulate.
It needs to be the other way around. The IDEA behind this is a good one. Unfortunately it’s being played out in such a way that goes against the whole point of Intellectual Property. There should be an option for people to create something, put it out into the world and say “Hey, people. Do what you like with it.” This of course already happens, but as I said earlier, currently you can’t make money off of using someone else’s work without their permission and royalty payments.
If this sounds wrong to you, (and if you don’t you need to read this blog again because you obviously haven’t been paying attention, after all this change would mean your instagram pictures and flickr account would all be susceptible to this) then PLEASE follow this link http://www.change.org/petitions/uk-government-dept-of-business-innovation-skills-abandon-proposed-changes-to-orphaned-works-copyright-law?utm_campaign=petition_created_email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=guides# and sign the petition, because not doing something while you have the chance will definitely come back to bite you sooner or later. After all, if they come for your neighbours and you do nothing, eventually you’ll be the only one left. And then they’ll come for you.