UK democracy with a copyright symbol

Crazy world where a Brighton and Hove local councillor can get sanctioned because of copying a council’s public web stream to YouTube without editing them.

Yes this is the silliness of UK’s crown copyright and other laws – public money or public office does not automatically mean public domain, sadly. Hence why rx could happily and legally chop up President Bush (ho ho) and not get into trouble, whereas the copyright laws here means a speech in Parliament is copyright, and thus cannot be legally reused unless you are a media organisation (and I’m guessing there is restrictions on that)

The fact is people in the UK are being ripped off with public money being used for private enclosed copyright gain – where really any gain should go to the public good? Surely the laws on copyright in the UK need overhauling (as they do everywhere) but the US model unlike other areas is actually very progressive in this area – most publicly funded governmental bodies work is in the public domain for transparency and reuse – hence NASA’s and orphaned/older Library of Congress pictures being free for anyone to use. Or the fact we get a lousy COIP (Information film site) with tiny clips, whereas you can legally download full HQ version of the US counterparts via US libraries or Don’t get me started with Ordnance Survey…

In my mind work created by public bodies should be public domain, publicly accessible and utilisable since we all paid for it – unless there is very good reason not to – and possible commercialisation should not be an option if it compromises the tenets of democracy, openness and transparency. Too often those tenets of capitalism are (ab)used to silence dissent and hide what’s happening.

Sign the Open Rights Group petition here.

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