Intellectual Property Office Consultation
This page was used to draft the WMUK response to the 2012 Intellectual Property Office Consultation on "proposals to change the UK's copyright system", as described at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/consult-2011-copyright . The response that was submitted is given below.
See also: Copyright consultation from 2009
Wikimedia UK is the local chapter of the Wikimedia movement covering the United Kingdom. We exist to help collect, develop and distribute freely licensed knowledge (and other educational, cultural and historic material) - in particular, doing so via the the Wikimedia projects, which includes Wikipedia.
We achieve our Object by bringing the Wikimedia community in the UK together, and by building links with UK-based cultural institutions, universities, charities and other bodies. We also represent UK-based Wikimedians to the Wikimedia Foundation and in the global Wikimedia movement.
We do not wish to respond in detail to the 114 questions but offer these thoughts that we would like to be taken as an overall commentary on the area under discussion:
- On orphan works, we believe there is a case for much older orphan works going out of copyright rather than entering "orphan limbo". The proposed commercially-reusable orphan limbo is fine for commercial re-users like broadcasters or newspapers: it just means they have to do some due diligence and they can then use orphan works, safe in the knowledge that if the owner actually does turn up, they can pay market rate for it. For projects like Wikipedia, such reuse is incompatible with our policies and fundamental values.
- We would also like to point out that on orphan works "non-commercial" exceptions turn out to be less useful in practice, as the moral intuition they are trying to tap into doesn't actually fall along the non-commercial vs. commercial line but along the acting for the common good vs. private profiteering line. There are commercial uses that are for the common good (for instance, the Internet Archive might send out a book van charging 50p a copy for on-demand printed books, which could count as commercial use since it could potentially turn a profit, but it is not the sort of commercial reuse that is envisioned by the consultation document). Wikipedia does not use images that are available only under a non-commercial license, because we wish to enable reusers to have a wide variety of ways to reuse content including both commercial and non-commercial uses.
- On the matter of extended collective licensing and collecting societies, we would like to comment on the perhaps confusing position of content creators (e.g. photographers or musicians) who produce Creative Commons works for use in Wikimedia projects. It is confusing how online services and organisations like Wikimedia fit in to a collective licensing system. For instance, if someone were to take a photo from our media file repository, Wikimedia Commons, and use it outside of the terms of the Creative Commons license, should they be able to pay for it through a collective licensing arrangement or through a collecting society? Part of the point of Creative Commons and free culture is to encourage people to use the works under the terms of the license.
- On the exceptions to copyright, we are clear. Wikimedia UK believes the "use of works for quotation and reporting current events" is something that Wikinews contributors (and people who write Wikipedia articles about current affairs) would find useful. We also broadly support the extension. We would broadly welcome other aspects of the proposal that further our mission of. Wikimedia UK believes in general that extension of fair dealing and fair use-style rights are important to ensure that the copyright system is balanced and equitable between creators, consumers and re-users.
Wikimedia UK would welcome the opportunity to discuss our views in more depth.