The UK’s Intellectual Property Office Report on Copyright in the Digital Age

TahoeFallRiverThe UK’s Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) along with the UK’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (“BIS”) have published a report entitled, “© the way ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age.”  Based on the findings, the Government’s reported intentions are:

for authors of copyright works; to support fair treatment through new model contracts and clauses and fair returns for use of their work by improving education about and enforcement of rights;

• for rights holders; to help secure a viable future by encouraging the development of new business models, modernising the licensing process and maintaining support for education about and enforcement of rights;

• for consumers; to allow them to benefit from the digital age by seeking to legitimise noncommercial use of legitimately-purchased copyright works and improving access to ‘orphan works’ such as out-of-print books;

• for educators and researchers; to support them by improving access to works, resolving issues around copyright and contract and ensuring exceptions to copyright are right for the digital age; and

• for businesses and other users; to work towards a simpler copyright system by, improving the copyright licensing process and encouraging the development of new business models.

This means:

• UK action to improve access to orphan works, enable extended collective licensing, encourage the development of model contracts and clauses, and tackle P2P file-sharing; and

• A willingness on the Government’s part to consider European action that provides commonsense rules for private, non-commercial use of copyright material that will give consumers much more freedom to do what they want (such as creating mash-ups) and make clear what they cannot do.

Based on these findings, the Government’s intentions
are:
• for authors of copyright works; to support fair
treatment through new model contracts and
clauses and fair returns for use of their work by
improving education about and enforcement of
rights;
• for rights holders; to help secure a viable
future by encouraging the development of new
business models, modernising the licensing
process and maintaining support for education
about and enforcement of rights;

More detail is available in the report. The balance between rights holders and users is getting precarious.

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