|Title:||Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Problems Facing Freelance Creators in the UK Media Market-place|
|Citation:||Bently, L. (2002). Between a rock and a hard place: The problems facing freelance creators in the UK media market–place. London: Institute of Employment Rights. ii. Canada.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Many of the datasets referenced are documented through various reports and consultations, especially through representatives of the various members of the CRA.
Various secondary data sources are used as support for recommendations and findings.
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||Yes|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
The Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) is an affiliation of organizations, established in October 2000, representing copyright creators and content providers throughout the media, particularly television, radio and the press. These organizations represent an important section of the UK’s cultural and economic resources. Their members produce the work that is at the heart of the information technology society, and vital to the future of the economy. However, increasingly concentrated corporations which control the media industries confront individual creators with ever more economically and socially unfair and abusive practices. The CRA is particularly concerned that the interests and rights of its freelance members (who include authors, playwrights, journalists, directors, photographers, composers, songwriters and musicians) are being trampled upon throughout the media sector. These abuses are perpetrated not only by the traditional pirates and counterfeiters but also, more significantly, by legitimate businesses: publishers, broadcasting companies, Internet Service Providers, data banks and the like who are undermining the work and livelihoods of the very people who are creators of all the content they wish to exploit. Not only are these problems economic, but fundamental rights of free expression are also under threat. Unlike the majority of their European counterparts, UK freelance creators are frequently coerced into waiving their moral rights, often irrevocably, to grant unlimited rights to publishers and broadcasters to edit, copy, alter, add to, take from, adapt or translate their contributions. In commissioning this report, the CRA aims to highlight practices which are not only detrimental to the future of the UK’s economy but are presently devaluing and demoralizing the vast majority of creators and thus discouraging ingenuity, originality and innovation throughout the media.
Main Results of the Study
- A number of abusive practices have been documented in various studies and consultations over works and in contradiction of the rights of authors, which are not illegal or even criminal under the law of the UK.
- Because UK copyright is transferable like any other property, authors are vulnerable to the effects of the market. This puts freelancers in a difficult position as they are often bound by individual contracts imposed on them by publishers, broadcasting organizations and other entrepreneurs whose businesses have been created expressly for the exploitation of the works and who usually have the benefit of legal opinion.
- The transfer of rights is becoming a standard business practice, often through forms that require authors to transfer their rights on a perpetual basis for a one-off payment.
- The current UK system permits waiver of moral rights, which undermines the protections and calls into question their effectiveness.
- UK contract laws are in conflict and often overcome intended copyright protections.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Without widespread awareness of individual rights and ideal contracting practices, legal reforms would possibly prove ineffective. If reforms are to have a significant impact, this will be through the adoption of collective agreements in particular sectors of the cultural industries.
Three reasons why reform of the law of authors’ contracts is desirable at a global level are:
- creators’ rights are human rights, and therefore strong moral rights and rights to remuneration should be available to all authors;
- reforming authors’ contracts and moral rights at an international level will significantly resolve the problems of “conflicts of law”; and
- international harmonization of these provisions will prevent exploiters electing to commission work in countries where the law protecting authors is weak.