A copyright agenda for C21?

Tim Padfield signaled yesterday (nra posting) that the Intellectual Property Office are undertaking a new review of copyright legislation in the UK. An issues paper, designed to start a debate, was published on the IPO’s website in December. This new review is intended to build on the work of the 2006 Gowers Review; the paper says that work arising from the Gowers Review continues to be taken forward (format shifting is specifically mentioned, I’m pleased to say), but that there has been change enough in the ‘technological and commercial landscape of the creative industries’ to merit new consideration.

The issues paper is succinct and there are a few interesting ideas in it, such as:

  • to what degree should creators be able to control the way in which their work is re-used?
  • how can exceptions to copyright remain effective while contractual and technical measures override them?
  • does a personal blog deserve the same copyright protection as the work of a best-selling author?

The paper solicits responses to the following four questions:

1. Does the current system provide the right balance between commercial certainty and the rights of creators and creative artist? Are creative artists sufficiently rewarded/protected through their existing rights?

2. Is our current system too complex, in particular in relation to the licensing of rights, rights clearance and copyright exceptions? Does the legal enforcement framework work in the digital age?

3. Does the current copyright system provide the right incentives to sustain investment and support creativity? Is this true for both creative artists and commercial rights holders? Is this true for physical and online exploitation? Are those who gain value from content paying for it (on fair and reasonable terms)?

4. What action, if any, is needed to address issues related to authentication? In considering the rights of creative artists and other rights holders is there a case for differentiation? If so, how might we avoid introducing a further complication in an already complicated world?

-Susan Thomas

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