Having not read the minor parties’ manifestos cover-to-cover (Take a look at the Lib Dems’, and tell me it seems like a good use of time -Ed), I missed this particular policy until it was pointed out on my Facebook feed last night.
Quoted directly from the section of the Green Party website on intellectual property:
“EC1011 On cultural products (literature, music, film, paintings etc), our general policy is to expand the area of cultural activity, that is ways that culture can be consumed, produced, and shared, reduce the role of the market and encourage smaller and more local cultural enterprise (see CMS200 onwards). Specifically we will:
“b. introduce generally shorter copyright terms, with a usual maximum of 14 years;“
Now this really is radical policy. And not in a good way. By any objective analysis this is completely bonkers, and will likely destroy the creative industries in Britain — and here’s why.
At present, copyright lasts (in most cases) for life plus 70 years. This means that for the entire duration of the creators life, their rights to their work are protected, and after their death for 70 years. There are legitimate arguments for shortening that 70 year posthumous continuation, and a reasonable reduction would, I think, be well received by most.
But that’s not what the Greens are proposing.
The wording of the policy is crystal clear on this, they are talking about total duration of copyright. With a “usual maximum” of 14 years.
To put this into context: if the Greens got their way, somehow got into government, and managed to pass an Intellectual Property Bill to put this policy into practice, Harry Potter books one through four (at least) would have already entered the public domain. Anyone who was writing something today (Like, oh I don’t know, me? -Ed), would lose their rights to it in 2029.
Which, in the creative world, is basically nothing.
Their policy on peer-to-peer sharing is also a bit concerning:
“c. legalise peer to peer copying where it is not done as a business…“
So as long as you’re not selling the books/films/music/whatever you’re stealing, then you’re a-okay with the Greens.
I know many of my writer friends see income stolen away from them with the illegal downloading of e-books, and these thefts cannot be batted away with the superficially acceptable argument as applied to big corporations, that it’s not hurting anyone. These are hard-working people who put a lot of time, effort and soul into their craft, and they don‘t deserve to have their pockets picked by what are frankly barmy policies.
The irony is that the Greens have been shouting around how they are the only party who will protect the arts. Based on their own policies, it looks to this writer like they’d destroy them.
Based on this, I can see no reason for anyone in the creative industries to vote Green on May 7th.