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The Green party have come unstuck with yet more of their policy.

The latest ill thought out part of their manifesto is over the ever controversial copyright law with they propose to limit to 14 years. This has been met with protests from many artists who rightly believe that ownership of copyright is one of the few things they actually have left in a fast eroding world of creativity where only the rich can afford to make art.

The Greens manifesto, which has many holes in it already, has copyright proposals that make it a further nightmare to be creative in a world where the internet and modern attitudes to the worth of art have further eroded what it’s actually worth and many artists are looking to political parties to support them as they attempt to survive and not have their right to survive whilst they create eroded by selfish policy makers.


The Greens claim that they are trying make the imperfect copyright ‘shorter in length, fair and flexible’ and that they would achieve this with shorter copyright terms of up to 14 years which effectively takes the art and the music out of the hands of the creators and into the hands of big business. At the moment it’s 70 years – effectively the creators life time- have the Greens just not thought this through? or do they genuinely want to take the rights of the artist and hand them away to big business- whose side are they on?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. John, why haven’t you included the broader context of the Greens’ proposed Citizen’s Income in this article? You know perfectly well that in the same manifesto, all arts makers (and everyone else) would get a real safety net from poverty. So copyright is only reduced in a broader context that people’s decision to spend time making music (or any other art) comes without the threat of destitution.

    We’ve had the debates about copyright over and over. You’ve hosted some. They’re very complex and involve a lot of people in fear of their livelihoods – and we’re clearly in a stage of long-term transition that will make life difficult for many of us.

    So to use that issue as a flappy fish to smack the Greens with because you’re a Labour man is very poor.

    Of course, Greens won’t form a government – but the simple fact is, life for arts makers and musicians would be far easier, not tougher, if more proposed Green policies were adopted than current Labour policies.

    And I think you know it. I wish you’d assessed the policy more honestly, instead choosing disingenuous, borderline dishonest lanugage for a partisan attack.

    • The Citizens’ Income is rubbish as far as I am concerned. I am not a UK citizen, do not live in the UK. yet have books published by UK publishers and thus subject to UK copyright laws.
      There are thousands of foreign authors in this position.
      Would we get a Citizens’ Income? Really? I thought not.

      A very badly thoughts out alternative. Most writers I know would much prefer to live from reader appreciation of their work, rather than a Government handout.

  2. They are proposing to change it to 14 years AFTER THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS DEATH which this article completely fails to mention. At present it’s for the life of the copyright holder + 70 years and they are proposing to change that at an indeterminate date in the future to the life of the copyright holder + 14 years.

    • If it’s supposed to be “after death” then it must say so. If it doesn’t say so it is “after publication”. Very simple to understand. It might be a mistake in the wording but what does this say about the Party? Do they actually understand copyright law?

  3. Typical Greens. You read the manifesto and it says one thing and means another. The party for luvvies who think running a country is easy and they should have a go. I’ve read the manifesto and it’s about as clear as an interview with their leader on TV or the way the run Brighton council.

  4. Doesn’t sound right this. The devil is in the detail and there is no detail here. I do know this doesn’t fit with the Greens ideology so i’m going to say there is context missing from this… Sadly, clearly communicating is the Greens biggest downfall.

  5. ….aaaaaaand there is the detail. Its 14 years after artists death. Sad that it takes research to understand a very simple statement.

  6. Some clarification – be part of the discussion not misinformation –
    “14 years after the creator dies, not 14 years from the point at which their work is first copyrighted. The proposal isn’t in our general election manifesto because it is just a proposal…I know that many often live in poverty for years before seeing any financial reward for their work and I would never back any proposal that did not take fair account of that fact.” Caroline Lucas


  7. Caroline Lucas may have said, after the controversy arose, that she thinks the policy should be interpreted as 4 years after the creator’s death but that is not what the Green Party Spokesperson said when first contacted by the press. They said it would “ideally begin at the date of publication”. httpss://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/23/green-party-plan-to-limit-copyright-attacked-by-writers-and-artists

    Nowhere in the policy document does it say post mortem. If you look at the broad thrust of what else they’re saying in this policy area, it’s clearer in favour of releasing up content for everyone to use, along the open rights model.

    As for the Citizens Income – it’s only £72 per week (and unfair and undeliverable but that’s another matter). Taking away copyright isn’t just about money either, it’s about an artist’s right to retain some control over their work, without it being bastardised by big corporate without their consent.

    • I’ve addressed this in another comment but the Citizens’ Income is of no interest to foreign authors who publish in the UK, as presumably we would not be eligible. And anyway — we want to live from reader appreciation, not charity.
      Citizens’ Income — very badly thought through. Not all writers are British!

  8. Unfortunately many visual artists only see success late in their careers, shortening copyright would deny their estate and offspring the opportunity to benefit from the often meteoric rise in interest in their work post-mortem.

  9. Typical Green Party – say one thing and then another. They are the 21st centiry Lib Dems for self rightous Guardian readers who think they know how to run our lives but don’t have a clue.

  10. Typical slippery Green Party. Make a grand statement about something you know little about. Get caught out. Then claim you didn’t say it and chnage your policy. Middle class dinner party politics from tipsy Guardian readers looking down on the ‘masses’.


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