Harman: UK can 'pay its way in the world' through literature

Harman: UK can 'pay its way in the world' through literature

People who create content need to be protected, Harriet Harman told The Publishers Association today (8th May).

Giving the address at the PA’s a.g.m., Harman, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, also said that creativity, culture and literature needed to be at the heart of the school curriculum.

Speaking about Intellectual Property, Harman said young people needed to get paid for the things they created if they were to earn a living from them.

“If people have created something then they own that creation and there needs to be different ways of thinking how you get that creativity to the consumer,” she said.

“I don’t think there is an equality between the issue of people wanting to get something for free and people who have created that property.

“We have to protect the ownership of people who have actually created that property and that’s where the public interest lies.”

Harman said it was a time of great change for publishing, and that as the UK headed towards next year’s general election all the political parties were thinking of their “offer on public policy to support publishing, literature, the arts, culture, the creative industries”.

Harman told the a.g.m she was an “avid reader” and that she wanted all the people in her constituency to have "the same sense that books are for them, that publishing as an opportunity could be for them, that creative writing could be for them”.

Harman said that the question of equality and access and opportunity was at the heart of that agenda.

The UK is a “a great literary nation,” said Harman, and that was one of the ways it could “pay its way in the world in the future”.

“The interrelationship of literature, like the book that leads to a film to a play, it’s one of our great assets and we think that public policy needs to support it, at a time when there are massive technological and global changes,” she added.

Harman also joked about her book, The Century Gap: 20th Century Man/21st Century Woman - How Both Sexes Can Bridge the Century Gap, released in 1993 by Vermilion, was “ahead of its time” and an “absolute turkey”.

The PA’s a.g.m. was held at Bloomsbury House in London.