We work to ensure legislation supports illustrators as far as possible.
We feed into consultations to ensure the voice of illustrators is heard when legislation is changed, and work to ensure the Government safeguards the UK’s gold standard copyright regime that is so vital for sustaining our world-class creative sector, now worth around £100bn a year to the UK economy.
We also feed into and influence national level strategies and projects from the Government’s Orphan Works Licensing Scheme to DACS Payback. We meet with politicians and law makers, raising concerns proactively.
“We have great copyright law in the UK but, as with any law, changes have been brought in over the years – and this will continue.”
We fed into the Department for International Trade’s consultation on trade with Japan in November 2019 which aims to inform DTI’s approach to the UK’s future trade relationship with Japan. You can read our submission: Japan Trade 2019.
The European Union Copyright Directive was adopted by the European Council on 15th April 2019.
This Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is an important piece of EU legislation designed to modernise copyright for the digital age, which will help ensure a fairer deal for those working in the creative sector.
The Directive was published on 17 May 2019. By 7 June 2021 all EU member states must have transposed the legislation into their national laws. The Commission is expected to issue guidelines on implementation later in 2019. Several EU member states have already published their considerations on transposition.
The options for the UK are subject to the details of the withdrawal from the European Union, so we may or may not adopt the Directive. If we are still in the EU at the point at which we must implement the directive, it will be achieved via “secondary legislation” (Art. 2 European Communities Act). If we are outside the EU without a deal, it will be a political decision for the UK whether to copy the provisions of the Directive and adopt them as UK law using primary legislation. If we are in transition or in an extension period, it all depends on the arrangements made in the withdrawal agreement and the political intention of Government.
On the Directive’s publication, the British Copyright Council stated that ‘The result is not perfect, but it is important progress. However, many will now feel the need to be watchful that where certain protections have fallen short, they will not be used to undermine the original overall objective of supporting a fair and sustainable online future for creativity.’
Trade considerations concerning UK withdrawal from the EU UK Department for International Trade July 2018
The UK is going to have to negotiate some new trade deals and we are working to ensure that our excellent copyright will be a benchmark of great practise and an exportable asset – not something to be bartered.
Again we are working with the BCC and we know we will be closely aligned with other large players in film, music etc. who all rely on copyright to sustain their industries.
British illustration talent is commissioned across boundaries, from the USA, Europe and the rest of the world and we want to make sure there are no barriers to that.
AOI wrote in July 2018 to the DIT supporting the British Copyright Council’s international trade consideration feedback concerning the withdrawal from the European Union.
Points include the importance of consultation on UK’s current copyright system regarding necessary modifications on withdrawal from the EU; that there must be level playing field between individual creators and online content-sharing services and other tech companies; that the UK should improve the streamlining of withholding tax procedures from other countries in trade agreements and that the UK’s strong copyright system be upheld. See the full document: DIT Trade Considerations
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
In October 2018 we responded to the Department of of International Trade consultation on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The UK Government is considering signing up to this, and it is important that copyright protected in any agreements with countries that do not have the UK’s robust copyright regime.
DACS sent a letter to the PM about the issues relating to the CPTPP in November 2018 and AOI was a signatory, along with Association of Photographers and Society of Authors. More details here.
The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) want to operate an Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) scheme and the AOI are broadly in support. Following an application in 2018 they withdrew this in the summer as they are waiting to see what happens with the EU’s Copyright Directive and how that might impact an application. This Directive was finalised in 2019.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) asked us to comment through a formal consultation process, which we did for the initial CRA application. They will listen to what we (and others) have to say to inform the final decision on whether the scheme is approved or not if it is reapplied for.
How the process works at present
At present, if your work is copied by organisations with a CLA licence you are eligible for royalty payment.
The CLA sells photocopying licences to schools, universities, government and businesses to cover photocopying of limited extracts from copyright-protected books on their premises. The licence fees paid are distributed back to the owners of the copyrighted material – for visual artists this is done via DACS.
The CLA are authorised to do this for visual artists by DACS. The AOI (and other organisations) in turn authorise DACS. The CLA collects money on behalf of all rights holders, regardless of their membership of a body such as the AOI.
What is an Extended Collective Licence?
The ECL formalizes the CLA as a licensing body with the ability to collect royalties on behalf of all rights holders, rather than just those who are affiliated to an authorising body.
Why are we supporting it?
The AOI supports a robust and transparent intellectual property regime within the UK to ensure that visual artists can continue to receive just income from their works.
The ECL formalises something that is already in existence, but provides an opportunity to improve it.
Therefore, in our official response to the IPO, we raised several points which we feel should be considered by IPO and CLA. These are:
Awareness of the ECL application: We want to be sure that creators who have rights are informed that an ECL application is happening as some may wish to opt some or all of their works out of it.
We are requesting the CLA to spread their publicity about the scheme across a broad range of communications and explain the scheme in plain English.
Opt Out: The process for opt-outing works must be clear, workable and efficiently operated. This means that the CLA database of works must be accurate, with work easily identifiable under an efficient search system (see ‘unique identifiers’ below).
Embedded works: These are works that are part of a larger work, e.g. an illustration in a text book or journal. It should be clear how embedded works will be dealt with. Currently these works are not identifiable via the CLA database, therefore their use may not be identified for payment under the licensing system.
A universal system of unique identifiers: Books and magazines have identifiers in ISBNs and ISSNs but individual works (embedded images, articles etc) do not. We encourage the CLA to work with creator organisations and other interested parties to develop and agree a universal system of unique identifiers for all relevant works (images, books and articles). These could then be embedded in metadata which would allow for more accurate search and identification of use within the CLA database of work
This is a proposed bill which will address many of the contract issues that creators have to deal with such as clarity in contracts, reasonableness of terms, fair remuneration and moral rights waivers – you can find out more here.
This is an important review which will result in a modern industrial strategy and economy that works for everyone. There is a specific section considering the Creative Industries. We have fed into the consultation for this, articulating the role of illustration and the creative industries within the UK economy and the need for ongoing support to see this thrive. You can read the final report here.
In May 2018 the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) responded to the submissions to the Intellectual Property Call for Views on the Industrial Strategy, which in November 2017 had asked ‘What can we do to encourage innovators to do more collaboration and commercialisation, to stimulate knowledge exchange and promote follow- on innovation?’
The Call set out a number of example proposals IPO had received, including the setting up of a Voluntary Intellectual Property Register which IPO proposed may give creators more ‘legal certainty’. In their 2018 response IPO noted ‘There was a lack of broad support for the establishment of a Voluntary Register for unregistered IP rights, with many respondents noting the additional legal and administrative burdens such a system could introduce.’
There is no requirement for copyright holders to register their IP in the UK, and AOI had stated that we didn’t believe a voluntary register would benefit creators. Our response had mentioned concerns over the additional time and effort required to register works for individual freelancers or small businesses, combined with the potential cost of registering works, which many individual creators will consider an expense they cannot afford. We also queried how the scheme would legally ascertain the veracity of claims of ownership in registered works – this could lead to confusion rather than legal certainty.
This is a large Act covering many areas which do not pertain to illustrators – however there are some technicalities which do – for example the online intermediary codes. This is where providers are required to take responsibility for content which may be infringing copyright. AOI support this legislation.