|Today's proposals: more
'ups' than 'downs'?
"Sweeping intellectual property reforms to boost growth and add billions to the UK economy
The Government today announced plans to support economic growth by modernising UK intellectual property laws. Ministers have accepted the recommendations made in an independent review which estimate a potential benefit to the UK economy of up to £7.9 billion.
The recommendations were made in May 2011 by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report, - ‘Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth’. Modernising intellectual property law is a key action from the Government’s Plan for Growth, published in March alongside the Budget, which will help create the right conditions for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs. ...
Among the recommendations that have been accepted are:
- The UK should have a Digital Copyright Exchange; a digital market place where licences in copyright content can be readily bought and sold. The review predicted that a Digital Copyright Exchange could add up as much as £2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020. A feasibility study will now begin to establish how such an exchange will look and work. The Government will announce arrangements for how this work will be driven forward later in the year.
- Copyright exceptions covering limited private copying should be introduced to realise growth opportunities. Thousands of people copy legitimately purchased content, such as a CD to a computer or portable device such as an IPod, assuming it is legal. This move will bring copyright law into line with the real world, and with consumers’ reasonable expectations.
A copyright exception may allow this parody,
but it's not much comfort if there's still
a risk of trade mark or design infringement
- Copyright exceptions to allow parody should also be introduced to benefit UK production companies and make it legal for performing artists, such as comedians, to parody someone else's work without seeking permission from the copyright holder. It would enable UK production companies to create programmes that could play to their creative strengths, and create a range of content for broadcasters.
- The introduction of an exception to copyright for search and analysis techniques known as 'text and data mining'. Currently research scientists such as medical researchers are being hampered from working on data because it is illegal under copyright law to do this without permission of copyright owners. The Wellcome Trust have said that 87 per cent of the material housed in the UK's main medical research database is unavailable for legal text and data mining, that is despite the fact that the technology exists to carry out this analytical work.
- Establishing licensing and clearance procedures for orphan works (material with unknown copyright owners). This would open up a range of works that are currently locked away in libraries and museums and unavailable for consumer or research purposes.
The 1709 Blog expects that it won't be long before readers' comments will be arriving. A follow-up post is planned, bringing news of some reactions from interested parties on all sides of the continuing copyright debate.
- That evidence should drive future policy - The Government has strengthened the Intellectual Property Office's economics team and has begun a programme of research to highlight growth opportunities. One report has already shown that investments made by businesses in products and services that are protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs) are worth £65 billion a year. ..".