Links Roundup for 22 August 2011

Here’s a roundup of recent good and bad news from the United Kingdom that could impact fans:

  • Discussions about blocking websites that are considered to infringe on copyright have been shelved by the U.K. government. However, the idea has been postponed rather than abandoned, since the decision to shelve turned largely on the details of the plan rather than the general intent. Similar efforts may spring up again in the near future. This article from the BBC News discusses fan fiction, specifically, as an example of the “remix culture” that must be recognized and accommodated in any new copyright revisions.
  • The U.K. has been focusing on updating copyright laws for the digital age. This overview of an in-depth report on the state of copyright in the U.K. suggests that the revamp may be a good thing for the economy, but it stops short of endorsing “fair use” exemptions similar to those in the U.S. One idea proposed in the report was a central clearinghouse for all copyrighted works. It remains to be seen how such an institution might affect fanworks.
  • If you’re interested in hearing discussions on how copyright can better serve artists and the general public, the Global Congress on Intellectual Property and Publication is taking registrations until 23 August for its webcast.

If you would like to add information to Fanlore entries on copyright, the site is open to participation from all fans and would welcome your contributions.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

2 thoughts to “Links Roundup for 22 August 2011”

  1. The BBC article mentioning fanfiction is unfortunately inaccurate when it says this:

    Updated laws on copyright could have a profound effect on the popular culture that can be created, albeit one that was hard to measure, she added.

    One example is that of Doctor Who writers Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat who wrote fan fiction about the time lord earlier in their careers. Greater leniency around copyright could produce more works such as Doctor Who, some argue.

    This implies that fanfiction is currently a breach of copyright in the UK. It is not, per se. It can be, of course, but a character itself isn’t a copyrightable work in UK copyright law, so unless one is actually reproducing the story or actual words of an episode, merely writing fiction involving the character of Doctor Who is not a breach of copyright.

    Sources for this are Robin Fry of Beachcroft Wansbroughs (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3188813.stm), and Nick Bohm (general legal council to the Foundation for Information Policy Research, in personal correspondence).

    I think it needs to be shouted from every possible rooftop that CHARACTERS CANNOT BE COPYRIGHTED IN THE UK.

  2. That’s helpful to know for future copyright stories, thanks.

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