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Copyright

At Open Rights Group we want to see a copyright regime that promotes innovation and creativity, and also respects basic rights such as freedom of expression and privacy. That is not the copyright regime we have now.

Copyright is the set of rules that determine how we can all access and use culture, information and knowledge. It can reward creativity and innovation where it grants creators the right to sell their works. And in setting up boundaries to that right, it helps make sure that people can access and engage with the culture and knowledge around them in useful ways. That means we can have both a booming creative economy whilst making sure our culture and knowledge is available to build upon and use.

The Internet has opened up extraordinary opportunities for people to create and share ideas. It has also created new ways for people to make money out of this creativity. However, current copyright policies are not allowing us to take full advantage of these. At the moment the rules are designed for a small cabal of rights holders with narrow financial interests.

As a result, too often the rules are overly restrictive and inflexible. That can make legitimate uses of work such as 'format shifting illegal, can lead to knowledge being unnecessarily locked up, and has seen the creative industries struggle to adopt new business online models quickly enough. Instead, simpler, more flexible copyright would stimulate innovation and creativity. It would allow people to engage with and build on the ideas and work of others more easily.

What's more, the enforcement of copyright has become far too aggressive. That can lead to unfair restrictions on how ordinary people can use a work, and can lead to them facing disproportionate intrusions and punishments. It can also put at risk the Internet access provided in public places like libraries and cafes. Instead the enforcement of copyright should be proportionate, involve real due process and be consistent with peoples' civil rights, from privacy to freedom of expression.

Open Rights Group campaigns for better copyright rules that facilitate more creative engagement with culture and knowledge, and which open up more consumer friendly business models. And we campaign to make sure those rules are enforced by legitimate and proportionate means.


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