Intellectual Property Bill [HL]

Written evidence submitted by the National Union of Journalists (IP 01)

The National Union of Journalists is the voice for journalism and for journalists in the UK and Ireland , working at home and abroad in all sectors of the media as freelances, casuals and staff in newspapers, news agencies, broadcasting, magazines, online, book publishing, in public relations and as photographers.

· The NUJ welcomes the proposal to bring design into line with copyright protection, provided that statute ensures freelance designers will be the first owners of copyright, that assignment of copyright will still be possible, and the issue of unfair contracts will remain

· Action is needed to outlaw this practice, whether this be through the IP Bill or as an addition to the unfair contracts legislation.

· Our concern in relation to exceptions is that the government is being pressed to move towards the US system of "fair use", and away from the UK system of "fair dealing". The UK version is more equitable, whereas "fair use" benefits corporations at the expenses of creators.

· Re performance rights, we do not believe the minister requires a new power.

1. The union represents more than 30,000 members working in the UK and Ireland. An increasing proportion of NUJ members - currently rising towards a third - are freelances, who make their living by licensing copyright in their work. Most of these are rights holders, offering media that publish or broadcast their work the licence necessary for that purpose and retaining the right to issue licences for second and subsequent uses, translations, and so on.

2. Only a small number of NUJ members will benefit from either the unregistered or the registered design right but providing that a freelance designer is the first owner of their work, regardless of who commissions it, the union welcomes the attempt to bring them closer to copyright in the bill.

3. The design right may still be assigned, which raises the issue of unfair contracts being imposed on freelance authors, performers and designers. Those drafting contracts will naturally obtain everything they can and contracts are frequently "offered" by a powerful commissioner to a sole trader on a "take-it-or-leave-it" basis.

4. The NUJ is determined that action is required to level the playing field for negotiation of contracts concerning creators’ rights, whether between a creator and an intermediary such as a publisher or broadcaster; or between a consumer and an intermediary such as a publisher, broadcaster or online service provider.

5. The NUJ is concerned at the approach taken in the Bill to exceptions to creators’ rights. The advantage of the UK’s "fair dealing" approach to exceptions is that the conditions under which a work may be used without permission or payment are relatively clear. This spares creators – very many of whom are sole traders - a significant burden of legal costs in determining whether the dealing has been fair.

6. The government is under pressure from overseas internet corporations to move toward the US approach, misleadingly labelled "fair use", under which a corporation with deep pockets may make use of a creator’s work on the assumption that they c annot afford a legal challenge.

7. The NUJ believes that a new wording should be developed that comes closer to the "3-step test " in which international law sets out how exceptions must apply – a) in special cases; b) they must not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject-matter; c)they should not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rights-holder.

8. The bill would allow the m inister to make regulations to allow implementation of international law relating to performance rights. The NUJ is not sure why the minister requires a new power, rather than implementing the European implementation of, for example, the Beijing Treaty.

9. The issue of moral rights . C itizens have a right to information that has not been intentionally distorted. The CDPA 1988 gives authors an integrity right ie the right that a piece of work should not be altered in a derogatory way. Genuine cropping takes place every day, and we are not arguing against the practice in itself. But a picture should not be cropped in a way that alters the context and leads the viewer of the image to a conclusion that the full picture would not support. This article on the way a picture of Mark Duggan was used illustrates this point :

January 2014

Prepared 31st January 2014