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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 13:04 GMT
Copyright campaign targets contracts
Sheet music
Composers are worried about their intellectual property
British composers and writers launched a new alliance to protect their intellectual property rights on Wednesday.

The Creators' Rights Alliance says that creative people from all sectors are facing threats to their livelihood because broadcasters and the media are increasingly taking complete control of the copyright in their works.

Speakers at the London launch included writers AS Byatt, Maureen Duffy and Alan Plater, cartoonist Steve Bell, film director Maurice Phillips and journalist Alex Pascall.

Chairman of the Alliance David Ferguson told the BBC News Online that the Alliance's first target would be what he called the "appalling contracts" offered by major broadcasters.

Moral rights

"We must get the government to enforce existing legislation on moral rights and not allow market forces to determine creators' rights in the UK," he said.

Moral Rights are the provisions in copyright law which protect an individual's authorship, and are often signed away in contracts.

The Alliance will be meeting again on 21 March to produce what Ferguson called "a plan of campaign".

Fair treatment

A BBC spokesman said that the corporation was already in discussions with the CRA and some of its member organisations about their concerns.

David Ferguson
CRA: planning copyright campaign

"We hope to resolve these issues in a way that meets the needs of the licence fee-payer and the BBC in the new multi-media environment, while at the same time treating individual contributors fairly," said the spokesman.

The Creators' Rights Alliance includes organisations like the National Union of Journalists, The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, The Directors' Guild, the British Actors Equity Association, the Musicians' Union, The Society of Authors and the Association of Photographers.

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