Unfair Copyright Clauses

With any luck and a fair wind, unfair copyright clauses could one day be a thing of the past -- in the UK at least. One thing which especially galls me is the insertion of a clause which deprives authors of their moral right to be identified as the author of the work.

Interestingly enough, I was looking at one of these only a couple of days ago. It was one of these article repositories that pay you a proportion of the advertising revenue  of the ads which appear on your article page. I have grave doubts about all that, which I'll write about separately, but for now the issue is as follows.

When I delved into the "small print" there was not only the usual clause which states that you hand over the copyright in your work -- which is an insane thing for anyone to do voluntarily in my opinion -- but also one which stated that they reserve the right to continue to use your work ad infinitum without having to give you credit as the author. Um, no thanks.

A recently-published report (which I haven't read yet) apparently calls for a review of contract law in this respect. It states:

Contractual waivers of moral rights are inserted frequently into copyright contracts. If these rights were made unwaivable by statute, such a persisting link between author and work might improve the author’s bargaining power.

At first glance it sounds like a reasonable idea to me, although, of course, a change in UK contract law would have no "clout" outside the UK. Still, it would put down a marker, as it were, about what is, and is not, morally acceptable in this complex area.


Academics must check contracts' effects on user rights