Some stuff came out of the IPO today about copyright: here and here. The UK government's current temporary IP stand-in, David Lammy (pictured right, and apparently in some pain; did someone electrify the lectern?), wants to have a "debate" about where copyright is going by issuing a "wide ranging consultation [...] on the future of copyright". The consultation document, available here (pdf), makes for some quite dull reading (although it is mercifully brief), as it doesn't really say anything of substance. What it does say is the usual guff about "creative industries" being important to the UK economy in the 21st century. What it doesn't say is why these creative industries need copyright terms that will, in many cases, last well into the 22nd century.
For anyone still interested, the consultation identifies four areas for debate:
1. Access to works: Is the current system too complex, in particular in relation to the licensing of rights, rights clearance and copyright exceptions? [IPKat answer: a very big YES; just look at the state of the CDPA 1988] Does the legal enforcement framework work in the digital age? [IPKat answer: oh yes: just ask Davenport Lyons; the correct question should instead be whether this is a good thing]Go ahead and speak your brains, if you must. This Kat is going to have a lie down...
2. Incentivising investment and creativity: Does the current copyright system provide the right incentives to sustain investment and support creativity? [IPKat answer: incentives, yes; the right incentives: no] Is this true for both creative artists and commercial rights holders? [IPKat answer: creative artists are always expoited by commercial rights holders, who always get the better deal; changing copyright law is not going to change this commercial reality] Is this true for physical and online exploitation? Are those who gain value from content paying for it? [How does one 'gain value from content'? Was this inserted by the BPI?]
3. Recognising creative input: Does the current system provide the right balance between commercial certainty and the rights of creators and creative artist[s]?[IPKat answer: no, obviously] Are creative artists sufficiently rewarded/ protected through their existing rights? [IPKat answer: some are, some aren't; why should copyright law care? Why would any more rights affect this?]
4. Authenticating works: What action, if any, is needed to address issues related to authentication? [IPKat comment: eh?] In considering the rights of creative artists and other rights holders is there a case for differentiation? [IPKat comment: what is this nonsense about?]