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Thursday, 7 December 2006

GOWERS HAS LANDED - PART 2


Gowers has landed - Part 2

Right: pundits responding to the latest proposals for improving UK IP law

If you want to know more about the Gowers Review, attend the IPKat's Gowers Review briefing sessions on 11 December 2006 or 8, 22 or 29 January 2007. The four-hour intensive course, conducted by IPKat co-blogmeister Jeremy, costs just £80. Email Jeremy here if you want to attend.

Meanwhile, here's a small selection of current literature on the topic.

Pre-Gowers

Jo Gibson (Patenting Lives, right) comments on the Sainsbury Review of Science and Innovation Policies of Government, adding:

"The subject matter of the new Review appears to be strikingly similar to some issues just considered in the Gowers Review, which may lead one to ask why a new Review is commencing before the other is reported".
Pangloss speculates over the anti-ci-pation (an oblique nod to Cliff Richard's 'Con-gra-tu-lations') of the Gowers Review and asks:
"Will private copying and sharing of mix tapes be legalised? Will term in sound recordings be left as it is? will Cliff Richard turn green and burst out of his leather trousers? only the Shadow knows!!".
Becky Hogge (openDemocracy), writing from a political rather than a technical IP law perspective, asks:
"Why has there been so much interest? Perhaps because, until this point, there has been no effective, accessible forum for debating IP in the UK - or indeed anywhere".
Post-Gowers

The Register takes a wait-and-see line:
"A series of recommendations surround the flexibility of intellectual property law ... The report's recommendations are just that, however. Which ones become government policy remains to be seen".
The IPEG blog highlights nine major recommendations, one of which is that the Patent Office pilot Beth Noveck's Community Patent Review - something that has definitely caught the imagination.

Victor Keegan (right), writing on Guardian Unlimited, notes:
"About 15 months ago I went, rather dutifully, to a meeting about digital rights in London's Soho. I was amazed to find quite a big crowd talking animatedly about a subject that was difficult to raise in polite conversation at the time. I was told that this was an inaugural meeting after 1,000 people had pledged £5 a month to get a new pressure group, Open Rights (openrightsgroup.org) established. Its aim was to campaign for people's rights in the digital age when decision-making is dominated by governments and the huge lobbying power of the music and publishing industries. It is clear that it has already become a force to be reckoned with and has had a big influence on making the Gowers review of intellectual property rights, published this week, more consumer-friendly".
The popular Slashdot site has ended up with a one-paragraph note under the heading "UK Report Suggests Tougher Copyright Laws", which is certainly not everyone's impression of Gowers' conclusions, particularly those that facilitate or legitimise copying and format-shifts.

UK lawyers' compulsory reading Legal Week reports that lawyers have given a warm welcome to the Gowers Review, which is only to be expected if its proposals generate more enforcement work - even though neither of the solicitors interviewed said anything about fast-track litigation with capped fees ... a subject that escaped the readable and name-enriched summary in the Financial Times - where Eric Clapton, Sir Simon Rattle and Katie Melua rub shoulders with legal luminaries such as CMS Cameron McKenna's Isabel Davies, who comments:
"Andrew Gowers overall seems to be prepared to leave what’s not broke unfixed and to recommend steps to reach the parts that are broken or in need of reconditioning".

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