Simpsons Solicitors

UK Government to introduce major copyright reforms

August 4th 2011

The UK Government has announced its formal acceptance of the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review of intellectual property, and will now set about introducing these major reforms in the UK.

According to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, the recommendations endorsed by Government include the following:

• A Digital Copyright Exchange for the UK – a digital market place where licences in copyright content can be readily bought and sold. A feasibility study will begin immediately and the Government will announce arrangements for how the system will be driven forward later in the year.
• Copyright exceptions covering limited private copying (e.g. format-shifting).
• Copyright exceptions to make it legal to parody someone else’s work without seeking permission from the copyright holder.
• The introduction of an exception to copyright for search and analysis techniques known as ‘text and data mining’.
• Establishing licensing and clearance procedures for orphan works.
• 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.

These changes were recommended in the report produced by Professor Ian Hargreaves (Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth), which was released in May this year and has won a substantial level of support from both the technology sector and copyright owner groups in the UK.

Some of the legislative changes are a non-event from Australia’s perspective, as they are already enshrined in its national copyright legislation (e.g. format-shifting for personal use; an exception for parody). Others, such as the Digital Copyright Exchange and orphan works legislation, break new ground.

To read more about this topic go to: http://www.copyright.org.au/news-and-policy/details/id/1991/

For the full UK Government response to the report go to: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipresponse.htm

For inquiries relating to publishing and copyright law please contact Adam Simpson.