In response to the earlier outcry from writers and other creatives against the UK Green Party’s apparent proposal to reduce the duration of copyright to just 14 years – with also some initial ambiguity over whether this was 14 years after the creator’s death or 14 years after the work’s first appearance – the Greens have released a communique on their party website that only appears to make things worse.
The UK Society of Authors said in response to the original furore:
Our stance is that copyright needs strengthening, not weakening. Authors and other creators make their livelihood from their intellectual creations and a period of only 14 years would not allow them to fully benefit from their work. In practice it is likely to mean that once the period expires large corporations will pick up the work and continue to develop, license and exploit it without rewarding the creator. With authors’ earnings already far below the national average, such a proposal would mean that authors could not survive.
The Greens have now announced that “The Green Party is undertaking a review of its copyright policy, including inviting representatives of the creative sector, such as writers, artists, musicians, illustrators, and composers to a special session of its next conference.” Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said: “The Greens are the only party where every member has a say in our policies. Inviting artists and creatives to our next conference will help make sure future policy on copyright is developed in partnership with those it most affects.”
This really makes you wonder why the policy wasn’t developed in partnership – or apparently even in consultation – with those it most affects in the first place. And a friendly invitation to join the Greens in their party conference hardly sounds like an adequate basis for consultation – more like a thinly disguised recruiting drive. Is this really supposed to be politics with a difference? It sounds more like more of the same old careless and arrogant indifference to the plight of the politicked-upon.