Britain Moves Toward “Fair Use” Of Copyrighted Material On Internet!

From the BBC –

(Bizarrely, enough, the British are envious of our Fair Use provisions, and the article begins with praise for the American doctrine. This is bizarre, because there are current proposals in Congress to butcher these protections.)

“Over there, they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services.

“So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”

The six month review will look at what the UK can learn from US rules on the use of copyright material without the rights holder’s permission.

It will also look at removing some of the potential barriers that stand in the way of new internet-based business models, such as the cost of obtaining permission from rights holders and the cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights in the UK and internationally.

If only we had the kind of forward looking leadership here to encourage a lessening of our over protections of copyrights (SEVENTY years plus the life of the author). What genius thought that was appropriate protection? Why should a publishing company hold those kinds of rights for so long? The only answer is that the publishing industry has a tremendous influence over legislation.

What that means in practice is that hundreds of thousands of works that should have passed into the public domain are lost to time, discarded by libraries, thrown away by owners who don’t realize their value, or simply decay into the dust. These things could be preserved for every future generation of Americans by web sites like Project Gutenberg.

But because of the rapacious greed of American companies and their minions in the Congress, a good sized chunk of American’s intellectual heritage is discarded like used toilet paper.

Imagine the writers and the thinkers who thought they were creating a legacy for their fellow citizens to be frustrated by the shallow fundraising of the the flag waving hypocrites of the American Congress. It is hard to think of more disgusting show of influence than these well financed companies and the Congress of the United States laying waste to American ‘s past for the long green.

James Pilant