Stop43.org.uk stop confiscation of your property and Human Rights in the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill






Misplaced faith in "Consultation"

Labour MP Michael Wills has written the following in reply to a letter from a constituent:

“In any event, as the article you forwarded states, much of the detail is yet to be decided by public consultation. Consultations cannot be ignored by the Government, as the article alleges, and it is a requirement of the Consultation Code of Practice that consultation responses should be analysed carefully and clear feedback should be provided to participants so that they can see how the responses influenced policy.”

An Allegory

A large media company wants to paint the south-facing wall of their big building. They want it black so that their new “green” heating system can use solar heat from the black wall, cutting costs and their carbon footprint. They approach the Council.

Residents in the creative work/live units opposite hear about this and realise that the black wall will make their units depressingly gloomy, making it hard for them to work, forcing them to keep their lights on and considerably increasing their carbon footprint. They'd rather have a white wall. They approach the Council. The Council carry out a "consultation".

Question. What colour does the wall get painted?* - because it cannot be both at once:

a. Black
b. White

Of course consultation cannot be "ignored", but
the final decision is not legally bound to implement all points raised during "consultation", as Lord Fowler pointed out about the "consultation" process around BBC governance that resulted in the barely-workable BBC Trust system, which he says most of those consulted had warned against.

“Consultations” on changes in copyright law, started by the Gowers Review and continued by the Lammy Review, have been going on for more than five years, and yet it seems that “unanticipated consequences” of Clause 43 just keep on emerging.

Problems
concerning privacy and the rights of subjects within photographs, exclusivity of use, the practical impossibility of carrying out a “diligent search” and proving that one has or has not been carried out, and of establishing a “market rate” for commercial licensing of photographs of unknown provenance will not simply evaporate as a consequence of “public consultation”.

Are all of these consequences
really unanticipated? Or have they in fact been anticipated by the Bill’s proponents and authors but regarded as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of the Bill’s primary aims?

*(Answer: Black, of course. Don’t be naïve.)