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TALKINGCOPYRIGHT T


HE majority of people in our industry are familiar with the principles of copyright. We can see why the laws are there, what they try to achieve and, in the main, we are


collective respecters of them.


But to anyone who has had even the slightest cause to call upon those laws, at best they seem down right contradictory while, at worst, they’re achingly unfair with a capacity to shelter wrongdoers rather than expose them. To us laymen, the arguments as to whether Cadbury should be able to protect a particular shade of purple for the packaging of confectionery seem asinine and far removed from everyday life. But for every Cadbury, there is an artisan chocolatier coming up with a uniquely-gorgeous treat, who needs to know it will remain unique for as long as possible, and a surface pattern designer whose designs are used on the packaging, who needs to be properly paid for their work.


For them, the need for copyright is clear, but what about the rest of us?


The history of copyright law in this country dates back over 300 years, to a time when privileges were devised to help protect printers, or stationers, as they were then called. In essence the present-day laws (however


ineffective or effective you consider them) are there to help protect the originator. But their existence and effi cacy have far wider implications on our society as a whole.


For me, copyright protection, when properly applied, also nurtures the very creative spirit which has been the life blood of Britain and its economy for many years, and, arguably, is our future. According to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, Britain’s creative industries are collectively worth more than £36billion a year; they generate £70,000 every minute for our economy, and employ 1.5million people.


Strikingly, these Government fi gures


reveal that creative industries actually account for around £1 in every £10 of the UK’s exports. In short, creativity is worth a bob or two to all of us in Britain and, like any egg in a self-respecting nest, it’s worth sitting on and protecting – not just by the lone creative hen, the whole fl ock should take a turn, and that, dear reader, means you as well. We in Britain pride ourselves on our individuality, we have a certain style which others in certain quarters seem to like. We might have upset a few people over the course of history but, for every garlic-breathing, Brit-baiting Frenchman, I’ll show you a Pret-eating, Burberry-wearing Anglophile humming a tune by One Direction and reading Harry Potter.


Every year our arts universities and


colleges produce some of the fi nest creative talent in the world – but where would this talent be if everything they ever did was rendered valueless by their ideas being stolen by the guy next-door? More to the point, where would we, Great Britain plc, be?


Our bank manager (another British classic and, yes, they do still exist) told me recently that the banking


36 www.greetingstoday.co.uk The banks believe the talents of Team Creative are


the route forward for Britain but the support of all of us is required – as the old adage says, laws are there to be broken, and so in reality they are only as good as the people who uphold them. What stops you and me from breaking into a


neighbour’s house and stealing his telly, is not the lock in the UK.


But it is also potentially fragile so, making our own part of the chain work properly and ensuring the whole thing continues to benefi t us all, is down to us as individuals, and our morals. T: 020 8288 9696 www.carolinegardner.com


Suppor eam


industry predicts it will be another fi ve years before our economy fully recovers.


My maths makes that a full decade from start to


fi nish however, leaving aside the crisis, who started it and whether we’re still in it, she added it’s the creative industries which are leading the way, and companies in these sectors which need supporting.


Support Team


Creativ


Creative


Britain’s creativity is the country’s lifeblood, accounting for a tenth of the UK’s exports and helping us climb out of the recession, here Angus Gardner explains how it needs to be both nurtured – and protected.


on his door, or even the law that forbids it, but the moral code we have saying it’s just plain wrong. The damaging effects of plagiarism have the potential to be felt far beyond the owner of the infringed design.


For every designer, there is a manufacturer who makes the product; for every product there is a warehouseman who stores, an agent who wholesales, a stockist who retails and, fi nally, a consumer who buys and enjoys it.


The whole thing is an established symbiotic chain, held together by trust. Competition is a healthy part of the


creative process and of business in general but, to be of benefi t, the rules of fairness need to apply – it’s less about the law and more about moral judgement. It’s not just the bloke down the pub selling knocked-off DVDs, but also the High Street retailer who employs a legal team to advise their designers how far they can go to copy a rival’s product. Or perhaps the lazy competitor, who draws more than inspiration from someone else’s hard work; to the salesman who knowingly carries a plagiarised product, and the people, retailers and consumers alike, who buy it.


It’s a wonderful industry we’re in, one which produces amazing, unique products and is a hugely strong force


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