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.
Director of Policy, ActionAid UK
President, English PEN
Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
Parliamentary Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade
Director, Church Action on Poverty
Managing Director, Programs, Global Poverty Project
Executive Director, Open Rights Group