Government response to IP Review

Hargreaves Review on IP and Growth

Government’s response to Hargreaves was published on 1 August. It said it broadly accepted the Review’s recommendations, and outlined how it proposes to act on them.

Government support the creation of a Digital Copyright Exchange, a ‘marketplace for owners and purchasers of rights’, and have set a deadline for end of this year to test run the Digital Copyright Exchange, which given the complexity of creating this, seems unfeasible. We hope that rightsholders (creatives) will be involved with developing the Exchange.

Government propose that orphan works (works with untraceable owners) should be available for commercial use as well as cultural (AOI wanted works to only be used for non-commercial purposes). But they say they want safeguards for the interests of owners of orphan works and rightsholders, and that orphan works should be licensed at going commercial rates.

Copyright exceptions will be introduced on format shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library archiving.

We were disappointed that there was no mention of moral rights strengthening, even though government said they ‘will not neglect issues outside the scope of the Review’s conclusions’. One of the moral rights, the right of paternity (the right to be identified), being made unwaivable would help in preventing future works becoming detached from their creator, and made ‘orphan’.

Small claims track in the Patents Country Court for copyright cases was proposed by the Review, and has been welcomed by government, which is positive for illustrators. Currently, copyright cases cannot be taken to the Small Claims court.

Although government also say that ‘rights holders must take responsibility for the exercise and protection of their rights’ and ‘educate and guide consumers.’ We believe that government should take a lead in educating and guiding consumers and that the burden should not be laid solely at the door of rights holders.

There will be more upcoming consultations on the points raised in the Report.

Creator’s Rights Alliance reaction here
Society of Authors reaction here

17th August 2011

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