Friday 9 July 2010

Young Guns Go For It

On Thursday Night (8th July) Berwin Leighton Paisner kindly hosted one of the regular bi-monthly BLACA meetings (British Literary and Artistic Copyright Association) and this one had a particular twist – the topic was copyright but seen through the eyes of two young copyright professionals, the joint winners of BLACA’s 2010 competition, the prize being the chance to make this presentation!

Chaired by Professor Alison Firth (University of Surrey), the first presentation was from Mark Smith, a newly qualified solicitor at Osborne Clark, and was simply titled “Copyright in the Digital Age”. I won’t dwell on the detail as this and the following presentation will both be available soon on BLACA’s website at . Suffice to say, they are both well worth a read and Mark gave a professional speech in a wide ranging presentation. The second presentation was by Ed Cameron , who comes from a science background and has just completed a MSc in the Management of Intellectual Property at Queen Mary College, University of London. Ed focussed on the Digital Economy Act in a presentation titled “The Digital Economy Act - are ISPs under Attack?”. This Blogger has to admit he has not really looked at the finer details of the enforcement provisions of the DEA (particularly those referred to as the ‘three strikes’ system), and Ed did, where there was clarity in the Act, makes some sense of what look like rather complicated enforcement provisions. As with Mark’s presentation, read the detail online.

The sometimes challenging question and answer session was deftly handled by Prof. Firth and a recurring theme was the role of the collection societies in new business models, along with the need to educate the consumer and some comment on the failure of domestic and even the pan-European copyright regimes to provide effective enforcement tools for content owners in the global digital age. I have to say I thought both of the speakers did really well – a brave challenge for two young men who were students this time last year – faced with a room that included some well seasoned copyright lawyers ..... and a few less seasoned ones as well!

Details on this year's BLACA prize can be found at

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