Feeds

Parody is illegal, say barmy bureaucrats

Our prisons are full of oppressed satirists, apparently

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The IPO chose Office Party Friday last week to unveil 15 more proposals on intellectual property reform. This is traditionally the most alcoholic workday of the year - and ministers might need another stiff drink as they digest the surprises that ideologically fanatical bureaucrats have been preparing for them. Among the proposals is the suggestion to make copyright opt-in, which means the UK will be breaching European and international law, and the strange notion that parody and satire are illegal in the UK.

Traditionally the civil service is not supposed to set policy, but carry it out. The advice they give ministers is expected to be dispassionate and weighted. But this is the Intellectual Property Office. It's carjacked the policy bus and is driving it at the UK's creative industries, freelance sectors and creative amateurs too. These fifteen documents fully reveal the IPO's hand.

As an example of capture, we discussed the idea of "extended collective licensing" here on Friday, which barely rates a mention in the Hargreaves review but is the centrepiece of the consultation.

Together with orphan works reform this threatens to destroy the market for professionals and would reverse the internationally agreed legal protection against being ripped off for amateurs and professionals alike. Chief copyright bureaucrat Ed Quilty's first big idea on joining the IPO two years ago was making copyright opt-in - and finally, he sees his chance.

"It's like your local council licensing a massive gang of shoplifters, then giving them a rent-free shop on the high street in which to sell the goods they've just stolen from the other shops," is how one commenter describes it.

Since Berne and other conventions clearly state that IP legal protections are automatic, this promises a huge fight.

But no proposal is more surreal than the exemption for parody - so if you were ripping off Stairway to Heaven for your own rib-tickling Zepp parody, you wouldn't need to ask permission or expect to get sued if you get to number one in the charts with your derivative work. The system works just fine as it is - nobody is in jail - but according to the Maoists at the IPO, parody is illegal. Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself:

"FREEEEEZE! Put that parody down" - the world according to Ed Quilty [PDF]

It should be remembered how well the system works now. There is no copyright exemption for parody and satire, and yet satire booms. Professional parodists simply ask (and get) permission when they need it. The rest of us don't ask, but pay pennies to the creator in the unheard-of-event of it becoming popular - which is only fair. Yet according to the IPO, the exemption would create almost as much value as the entire UK TV industry in new works of parody.

This and more from the Maoists, can be found here.

I can't quite discount the idea that "the IPO" itself is an enormous parody, a sophisticated satire of how groupthink and utopianism can infect a small Whitehall department. We shall try calling Antony Jay, and find out. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?