Labour will legislate to protect BPI copyright, but not respect the copyright of a Walthamstow blogger

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 22 April 2010

I tweeted about this earlier today, but following my own advice I thought it worth a quick blog post.

The Waltham Forest Guardian is reporting that the local Labour party have used one of blogger Freewheeler's copyright images in an election leaflet without his permission.

They are not the first party to get into trouble over their choice of image - remember the BNP's Polish spitfire, or the DUP and UCU use of stock images. They are also not the first people to lift an image from the Internet and fail to respect copyright or give proper credit - even our newspapers do it.

What they are, though, is the party that just forced through legislation in the shape of the Digital Economy Bill. That enshrined in law the principle that even being accused of using the Internet to facilitate copyright infringement can see you being cut off from the web.

And that is what makes the response of the party in Walthamstow so galling.

"It appears in this instance that one of our design team has made an innocent error"

Whilst digital copyright theft would be a crime for you and me, it is merely "an innocent error" when perpetrated by my local Labour party.

[Full disclosure: My father has been a Liberal Democrat councillor in Waltham Forest for 20 years, and is standing for re-election as an independent candidate in a different part of the borough to where this leaflet was distributed]

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