Letter: Parody must be protected
21 Mar 2014

The following letter was printed in The Telegraph:

SIR – The British sense of humour is famous around the world. Anyone who has watched Prime Minister’s Questions can see that even our MPs are funny – occasionally intentionally.

Satire is a vital tool for campaigning organisations to create debate, expose hypocrisy and change opinion. However, the importance of parody in public debate is not recognised in copyright law. This omission has led to the removal of material that is undoubtedly in the public interest – such as Greenpeace films taken down from YouTube.

Since 2005, two governments have run reviews on copyright, both of which said that there should be a copyright exception to allow parody.
We now have less than a week for the Government to commit to a vote. If it doesn’t, the opportunity to change the law may be postponed until after the next election. That isn’t funny. We call upon Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and Lord Younger, the minister for intellectual property, to act now and ensure that an exception to copyright for parody is put into law.

Jenny Ricks
Director of Policy, ActionAid UK

Maureen Freely
President, English PEN

Kirsty Hughes
Chief Executive, Index on Censorship

John Sauven
Executive Director, Greenpeace UK

Thomas Hughes
Executive Director, ARTICLE 19

Ann Feltham
Parliamentary Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade

Niall Cooper
Director, Church Action on Poverty

Simon Moss
Managing Director, Programs, Global Poverty Project

Phil Booth
Coordinator, medConfidential

Jim Killock
Executive Director, Open Rights Group

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