A high-profile review by Professor Ian Hargreaves has concluded that the UK's current IP framework is falling behind in the current climate of digitalisation and must adapt. Haven't we heard that somewhere before?
10 recommendations for change were made in the report. These include the creation of a digital copyright exchange to make simplify procedures for licensing copyright-protected works, the introduction of a general right to use works where the author cannot be found, and limiting the scope of copyright so that activities such as format shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library archiving no longer amount to infringement.
Permission to format shift (which currently amounts to copyright infringement in the UK) would be particularly useful for those of us who recently been given a new iPod having spent years building up a stellar collection of CDs, and the permission to parody would prevent YouTube followers being denied the delights of classic spoofs such as "Newport State of Mind" (a parody of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind") or the law-inspired version, "Through Court: Entire Weight Off Mind" (yet to be written).
This Naked Lawyer was also interested to read Professor Hargreaves' recommendation that the IPO should draw up plans to improve accessibility of the IP systems to smaller companies who will benefit from it, and that this should involve access to lower cost providers of integrated IP legal and commercial advice... Companies requiring good value integrated IP and commercial advice should be looking no further than Mills & Reeve!
To reassure any copyright holders concerned about the impact of these recommended changes, Vince Cable (Secretary of State for Business, Skills and Innovation) said that the "review isn't about sacrificing the interests of Britain's creative industries to those of Google" but is "about reforming our system to stimulate both technology and content creation".
There has not yet been a formal response by the Government to the review, but keep your eyes peeled to see whether the Government decides to implement any or all of the recommendations in the review - we'll certainly let you know if they do!