What is the All Party Writers Group?
The All Party Writers Group (APWG) was established in November 2007. All party groups allow MPs and Lords from all sides of the political spectrum to keep both government and opposition parties informed on specific policy issues, taking on board opinions from both within and outside Parliament.
The APWG’s aims are:
To represent the interests of all writers
To safeguard their intellectual property rights
To ensure they receive a fair level of recognition and reward for their contribution to the economy and society as a whole
Among the issues it has tackled since it was established, the APWG has:
Instigated a Ministerial review of the PLR scheme to encompass digital users
Examined the issue of illegal downloading via peer-to-peer file sharing networks
Lobbied for the maintenance of PLR payments at current levels and the PLR office to remain at Stockton upon Tees
Provided journalists with an opportunity to raise concerns over contractual terms and practices with the secretary of state for culture
Reviewed government proposals for new copyright exceptions, notably those relating to private copying and education
Encouraged the extension of the current PLR scheme to be implemented to include audio-books and on-site loads of e-books in line with the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010.
UK PLR has proved such a success in sustaining our writers and is seen as a model throughout Europe and now even in developing countries such as South Africa. It was achieved by a combination of the practical solutions devised by writers and the support of MPs of both Houses, against misunderstanding and outright opposition, in providing the necessary legal framework.
We are now, through technological changes, in a similar situation to that of the great post World War II explosion in library use, and once again we need the help of MPs to provide equitable and workable solutions for a growing problem that threatens the creative base of our industry.
Author, playwright and poet.
Honorary president of the ALCS and President of Honour of the British Copyright Council.