Earlier today, fellow Kat Nicola posted an item the title of which opened with the cunningly rhymed words "The Authority's Priorities". This piece reviews the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO)'s research and evaluation priorities for the coming year. Sadly these priorities do not include tidying up the country's appallingly muddled copyright legislation.
How does one find an accurate text of the CDPA? The version posted on the IPO website is not accurate. A glaring example is that it wrongly does not include section 44B, 76A, Schedule 2 para 6I [inattentive readers: that's 6 plus the letter 'I', not the numeral '61'] or Schedule ZA1 (in force since 29 October 2014). But it correctly does not include section 28B and Schedule 2 para 1B, since the Regulations which inserted them were quashed by Green J in the BASCA case.Incidentally, the version of the Act on the IPO website is uncomfortably headed by the following disclaimer:
The same is true of the version on legislation.gov.uk [which is headed with the rubric "Changes to legislation: there are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations"].
By contrast, the version on Westlaw correctly includes section 44B., 76A, Schedule 2 para 6I and Schedule ZA1, but wrongly shows section 28B and Schedule 2 para 1B as being in force.
How is anyone supposed to know what the law is if the text of the statute is inaccurate in every online source (let alone out-of-date print sources)? How are even specialist practitioners supposed to give accurate advice to clients?
This document is an unofficial consolidated text of the main UK legislation on copyright. It has been produced by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office but we cannot guarantee its accuracy and it has no legal authority. Only the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as enacted and the other Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments amending it, or making provision on copyright and related rights separately from the Act, are authoritative. These can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/.This Kat is puzzled as to why this shameful state of affairs should be allowed to persist. Here is a system failure that should never have been allowed to exist in the first place and which -- unlike many of the country's commercial and industrial issues -- can with relatively little time and effort be put right. Will the IPO please rise to the challenge, make this a priority and grab this opportunity to secure some easy brownie points with its users?
Merpel adds: can we not do some crowd-funding to pay for the time and effort it would take to redraft the CDPA, renumbering all the sections so that they can be more easily understood and located by users of the legislation?