For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Report Speculated to Have Done What it Was Asked to Do

The Hargreaves Report (or Gowers II, as it is affectionately known in some parts) is expected to be released into the wild tomorrow (Wednesday 18 May). Unsurprisingly, the IPKat has been keen to get his furry little paws on the report for some time, and was planning on actually possessing and reading a copy before posting on its contents, however, as with all the most tempting delicacies some people have decided to nibble around the edges a little ahead of time. The tide of media pressure has therefore led this Kat to stoke the boiler of the speculation bandwagon a little more ahead of tomorrow's anticipated grand unveiling.

Those that have been living in an isolation bubble for the past few days will be delighted to learn that some of the details of the report have already made their way into the hands of the media. In an exclusive article yesterday, the Financial Times (one of the IPKat’s favourite papers – the preference for which is dictated solely on its salmon-fresh page colouration (well, that and the “How to Spend it” magazine – a Kat, even one that gets a university wage, has got to dream…)) proclaimed “Hargreaves to push for online ‘rights’ exchange”. The article (link here: registration required) explained that the report was to “urge the government to create a digital rights exchange, a one-stop online shop for clearing the use of copyright content, to “make the UK the best place in the world to do business in digital content”.” The FT also noted that the Report will call for changes to the current UK copyright laws that render the ripping of a CD to an MP3 player an infringement of copyright, thereby allowing, as day follows night, “the concentration of punitive enforcement action on those who exploit the copyright of others commercially, such as piracy websites.”

This morning, the Guardian followed this up with a story entitled “Report calls for overhaul of UK copyright law” (readers may recall David Cameron’s launch of the project at Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch late last year (noted by the IPKat here) where he proclaimed that the Government was launching the review “to see if we can make [our IP laws] fit for the internet age”. Given this history, and the many months of discussions, cogitation and comment that have passed in the meantime, Merpel notes that it would have been a bit of a let down if the report was now going to do anything other than call for “overhaul of UK copyright law”. However, she also notes that the headline “Report simply does what it was asked to do” does not have quite the same ring to it…). The Guardian’s article has a slightly different lilt from that of the FT, and notes, among other things, that “Professor Ian Hargreaves’ wide-ranging report on intellectual property will recommend that the government scrap strict laws on parody that often deter comedians and other content creators – including those who make videos for internet services such as YouTube – from caricaturing people’s work without permission.” (Merpel can only wonder at what will be proposed to deal with the “strict laws on parody” – presumably, she suggests, recommendations will be made that the little-known (and entirely fictitious) Parody Act of 1852 should be repealed, and then a limited exception akin to the U.S. concept of fair use should be introduced (OK, maybe not the first bit), but she waits to be amazed by the Report's contents when they arrive in full).


Whatever is suggested, we’ll find out more tomorrow...

1 comment:

Confuciused said...

Um, I might be missing something here - but what does the Parody Act of 1852 have to do with Rick Astley (and his incredibly high waistband)? Is someone reluctant to repeal the Act?

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