Silicon Roundabout urges government to update copyright law

The Silicon Roundabout technology community is urging the Prime Minister to implement Professor Ian Hargreaves’ recommended changes to UK copyright law before the end of the year.

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The Silicon Roundabout technology community is urging the Prime Minister to implement Professor Ian Hargreaves’ recommended changes to UK copyright law before the end of the year.

In an open letter to key members of the Cabinet, including prime minister David Cameron and business secretary Dr Vince Cable, the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, said that Hargreaves’ Independent Review of IP and Growth report outlined changes to Britain’s intellectual property laws that needed to be made to support business, social and technological change.

“In the interest of ensuring that Britain has a dynamic, world-leading digital economy, it is essential that the government heeds the Hargreaves report closely and implement its recommendations thoroughly.

“We call on the government to draft and introduce the necessary legislation as soon as possible...Preferably before the end of the year, and in no event later than the end of the 2011-2012 parliamentary session,” Jeff Lynn, chairman of Coadec and Ian Ryder, deputy chief executive of BCS, wrote.

They back Hargreaves' comments, who said: “Laws designed more than three centuries ago with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators’ rights are today obstructing innovation and economic growth.”

For example, Hargreaves believes that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) should be given the power to issue statutory opinions to help clarify copyright law and take other measures to help ensure that Britain’s IP system remains focused on promoting innovation and growth, and that the IP system should be made more accessible to smaller companies.

Other recommendations included promoting copyright exceptions for text and data analytics at EU-level.

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