There have been numerous press articles recently on what the Government will and won't be picking up from Professor Ian Hargreaves' review of intellectual property law (nice to know it's still of interest!) but the main two topics that seem to be the most likely subjects for reform are formalising a right of parody and providing for a private copying right.
The 'parody' exception will be something (I presume) akin to an extended fair dealing or fair use right, and it seems the most likely reform. Almost all of the articles I have read mention the (in)famous 'Newport State of Mind' spoof of 'Empire State of Mind' by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - performed by unsigned rapper Alex Warren and singer Terema Wainwright and pulled from YouTube after a takedown notice from EMI Music Publishing - to much knashing of teeth in the cyber community. Most comment is that the 'YouTube' amendment will be accepted by Government as a reform.
The introduction of a private copy right in the UK would be more complex - and whilst giving citizens the right to make private copies of CDs or otherwise format shift does seem to make sense in the digital age, content owners including the major and big indie record labels and film companies are likely to push for compensation - and possibly (the very un-British) introduction of some kind of levy on digital music players and other hardware, similar to the levy systems that exist in many European countries where the private copy right has been part of the copyright landscape.
I would have thought that new provisions for non-commercial research and library archiving stand a fairly good chance too, but the European dimension is going to make the task a challenging one with some of Professor Hargreaves's other recommendations.
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is due to make the announcement tomorrow. Watch this space
Photo by Nick Cordes (c) 2008 Glastonbury Festivals Ltd