Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the UK intellectual property laws are to be reviewed to ”make them fit for the internet age,” the BBC reports:
The six month review will look at what the UK can learn from US rules on the use of copyright material without the rights holder’s permission.
It will also look at removing some of the potential barriers that stand in the way of new internet-based business models, such as the cost of obtaining permission from rights holders and the cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights in the UK and internationally.
It will also look at the interaction between intellectual property and competition law – and how to make it easier for small businesses to protect and exploit their intellectual property.
The review, which will report next April, will recommend changes to UK law, as well as long-term goals to be pursued by the British government on the international stage.
The announcement was welcomed by internet freedom campaigners, who said the government had to redress the balance after the controversial Digital Economy Bill, which gives copyright holders the power to block access to websites hosting illegal content.
”It is long overdue. Some of our copyright laws are frankly preposterous,” Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, told BBC News.
”The Digital Economy Act left a massive hole of missing user rights like personal copying and parody.
”It’s great to have the opportunity to make the case for modern copyright that works for citizens and artists rather than yesterday’s global publishing monopolies.”
The Digital Economy Bill was rushed into law in the dying days of the Labour government but has yet to be enacted.
Mr Killock said he hoped the government would introduce ”basic user rights” so that people could make personal copies of music and videos, or transfer them from one format to another, without fear of prosecution.
He also called on ministers to relax the laws on parody – citing the case of a recent You Tube clip parodying rapper Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind.
Newport State Of Mind has been taken down by YouTube due to a copyright claim by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Mr Killock said relaxing copyright laws would also give companies more freedom to innovate.
Read the article at the BBC.
This is good news, and an initiative that should be supported.
The copyright laws we have today, on both the European and the national level, are not working, and are harmful to both fundamental values and the digital economy. We have to look for a better way.