Based on the recommendations from the Hargreaves Review, which looked at how to bring Britain’s archaic IP laws into the 21st century, the consultation aims to encourage the creation and use of copyright material such as music, books or video.
It is estimated that successful reform of IP law could add up to ?8bn to the UK economy.
The proposals include:
- Creating an exception to allow limited acts of private copying (for example making it legal to copy a CD to an MP3 player).
- Widening the exception for non-commercial research to allow data mining, enabling researchers to achieve new medical and scientific advances from existing research.
- Introducing an exception for parody and pastiche.
- Establishing licensing and clearance procedures for “orphan works” (material with unknown copyright owners).
- Introducing provision for voluntary extended collective licensing schemes, which would make it simpler to get permission to use copyrighted works and help ensure rights owners are paid. These schemes would allow authorised collecting societies to license on behalf of all rights holders in a sector (except for those who choose to opt out).
- Modernising other exceptions to copyright including those for education, quotation, and people with disabilities.
The reform will coincide with European efforts to improve IP rules, for example by creating a standard single European patent.
Baroness Wilcox, the government’s IP czar, says the changes will boost growth and deliver real value to the UK economy while protecting Britain’s “excellent creative industries”.
“It is an exciting time for the development of intellectual property in the UK,” she says. “We have already appointed Richard Hooper to run a feasibility study into a Digital Copyright Exchange and this consultation is the next step to ensure copyright legislation in the UK keeps up to date with emerging technologies and consumer demand.
Entrepreneurs and business leaders are encouraged to submit responses to the consultation, which closes on March 21.