Resisting attacks on electronic copyright

In recent weeks some members of the Chartered Society of Designers have come under increasing pressure from newspapers and other periodicals to assign their copyright, including moral and electronic rights, in return for a one-off flat rate fee with, in most cases, no further payment for subsequent exploitation.

The demand to assign copyright and waive the moral rights is not new. It dates back to the passage of the 1988 Copyright Act, and we have always advised our members, in particular photographers and illustrators, to resist this pressure.

What is new is the extension of this demand into the field of electronic rights. A number of publishing companies are trying to claim control for the full term of copyright “throughout the universe” and even throwing in rights, such as rental and lending rights, which have not yet been enacted in Parliament.

All creators should resist these demands until it is at least clear what the term electronic rights means, and until methods are in place to ensure that creators can be properly paid for the exploitation of their works in these new media. The CSD, working in conjunction with the National Union of Journalists and other creators’ organisations, is pursuing these matters vigorously.

Brian Lymbery

Director

Chartered Society of Designers

London WC1

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