The title of the lecture was "The Need for a New Copyright Act: A Case Study in Law Reform". In case anyone has not guessed the answer after reading the title of this post, it is "yes", there is such a need; a point which was argued clearly and cogently by the speaker, who elucidated no fewer than 7 reasons why a new Act is needed, including technological change and wrong implementation of Directives.
As he explained, there were three United Kingdom Copyright Acts in the twentieth century, each preceded by a deep and holistic analysis of the then-current legislation. However, in the 26 years since the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was passed, we have seen endless tinkering, involving over 70 separate amending instruments; even the so-called major reviews, by Gowers and most recently Hargreaves, did not fully explore the impact of specific changes which were advocated on the copyright system as a whole.
Arnold J also called for a re-think of our approach to copyright law reform - in essence a return to the measured analysis by a well-qualified and properly supported committee, which is reflected in the reports which led to the Acts in 1911, 1956 and 1988.
This blogger welcomes the idea in theory, but has reservations about whether, in a world where the EU copyright consultation received 9500 responses, such a review is possible within a realistic timeframe and before changes in Brussels will lead to the need for such a committee to re-commence proverbially painting the Forth Bridge
The event's chair, Professor Johanna Gibson of Queen Mary, University of London, who holds the Herchel Smith chair in IP law, promised that the full text will be published in due course in the QM Journal of IP - in the meantime, any failure of this piece accurately to reflect the opinions expressed during the lecture is entirely mine.