NUJ condemns Gowers review on copyright

The NUJ has expressed “alarm” at the Gowers Review into intellectual copyright.

The Government review – led by the former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers – does not propose any major changes to UK law but made a number of suggestions for improvement, including tougher penalties for online copyright infringement and lowering the cost of litigation.

The NUJ has said that it is disappointed that although Gowers recognises the difficulty that authors have in “enforcing their rights against piracy perpetrated by large corporations”.

However the union did welcome the recommendation to lower the cost of litigation by consulting on the use of fast track litigation and encouraging the use of mediation in all international property cases.

NUJ freelance organiser John Toner said: “It is alarming that in proposing private copying be legalised Gowers ignores the principle – and the letter of European Union law – by rejecting any workable scheme for the fair compensation of authors and artists."

He added: “Although it was anticipated, we are nevertheless dismayed that Gowers has focused so tightly on patents and on the music industry that he has largely ignored the role of creators of texts, of images and even of films.

“The one area where we would congratulate Gowers is that he has not bowed to pressure to undermine the essential role that the rights of authors play in the creative process.”

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