stop confiscation of your property and Human Rights in the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill


For the last three decades the UK has transformed from a manufacturing derived economic base into that of a services- and knowledge-centric economy. Often referred to as Intellectual Property (IP), the trading of skills and knowledge via the licensing of copyright-protected works has become a significant market within the UK.

IP takes various forms and covers multiple sectors, with varying degrees of protection afforded to IP in different disciplines. In any knowledge-based economy, dissemination of IP for educational and cultural benefit coupled with financial incentives for the creator are key drivers for economic success.

Enforceable property rights are essential to economic exploitation and are the absolute foundation on which this sector thrives. It is therefore vital to recognise and protect the property rights of IP creators as well as facilitate cost-effective delivery to the market that consumes. These simple requirements maintain market sector viability and underpin the capitalisation of knowledge.

These requirements create a tension between IP creators who wish to fully benefit from their creations, and the users of IP. Market forces set the price consumers pay, but for those consumers who prefer to circumvent the system to enjoy the benefit of IP for free, then IP Law exists to protect the rights of the creator while permitting strictly limited use free of charge. However, in part because of the complexity of copyright (IP) law, within the media and cultural sectors it is increasingly difficult for rights holders to protect their rights.

The matter of infringement is not new, but the enablement tools prevalent in every home and office has made it trivially easy for businesses and the public to exploit IP without either permission or payment. Until recently it has been challenging for rights holders to discover that their IP has been so exploited, and such attempts have been widely held to be pointless. Additionally, users of IP often cannot discover the identity of the rights holder from the IP alone, rendering it “orphan”.

New software makes it possible to track digital IP usage, to inform and educate prospective users that IP is copyright, and to link that IP and those prospective users back to the rights holder. This potential to facilitate a straightforward, simple and direct licensing agreement for IP use has much to commend it - for both the creator and consumer. Digital technology now provides the solution to the problem it has created.

Stop43 have devised a set of proposals based on such software. We have further developed it into
  • a method for preventing the orphaning of works;
  • for creators to readopt them;
  • for allowing the "cultural use" of all works;
  • and for creating a new one-to-one market in non-orphan IP between rights holders and prospective users.
In tandem with copyright law reform, we have called this proposal the National Cultural Archive. It is based on the use of existing software, technology and infrastructure - nothing needs to be invented - all the components of which are working and visible on the Internet today.


This proposal was first presented at the 2nd National Photography Symposium on 8th May 2010. At the end of the presentation a vote was called, asking the audience if they supported the proposal in principle. They expressed almost unanimous support. is an informal grouping of individual IP creators whose businesses are directly founded upon the exploitation of the very IP they create. Stop43 has sought to build a broad consensus for proposed change and now includes representatives from the cultural heritage sector whose curatorial, pedagogic and scholarly activities depend upon access to the IP of others.