Do we come to bury copyright -- or to praise it?

The IPKat is pleased to announce that his weblog is running, in conjunction with the 1709 Blog (which specialises in copyright matters), another event.  The notice, which also appears on the 1709 Blog so if you read the one, you won't need to read the other as well), goes like this:

“Do we come to bury copyright — or to praise it?”

Tuesday 12 July 2011

What’s the debate about?

Is copyright a vital tool for protecting authors, composers and artists, and for encouraging investment in the recording and transmission of their works to the public—or is it an outdated, cumbersome barrier to the spread of information and to the stifling of the very culture which it purports to promote?

The current state and future prospects for copyright law have never been more keenly debated than today, when modern technologies and the expectations of internet users are among the forces which have called for a radical overhaul of what, for others, is a sensible and practical basis for achieving justice while facilitating business.

This debate seeks to air the issues that make us ask: do we come to bury copyright or to praise it?

Four people who are deeply committed to finding an answer to this question will be debating it.  The audience will be polled for their answers both before and after the debate, so that we can see which side has been the more persuasive.

Debating the issue (in alphabetical order):

Crosbie Fitch (An R&D software engineer,  Crosbie has been researching and developing revenue mechanisms and business models for digital artists and their audiences for more than a decade. He has concluded from his work that  copyright is not only an ineffective anachronism, but that it is unethical and unnecessary)

Emily Goodhand (Copyright and Compliance Officer at the University of Reading, Emily enjoys engaging with others on copyright and IP issues and dedicates a lot of time to raising people's awareness of copyright. She writes the copyright4education weblog. As @copyrightgirl she is listed by The Times as a Top Ten tweeter)

David Allen Green (A lawyer and writer, David is head of media at Preiskel & Co LLP, a City TMT boutique firm, and was recently selected as one of The Lawyer’s “Hot 100” for 2011.  He is also legal correspondent of the New Statesman. His “Jack of Kent” blog was shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize in 2010)

Richard Mollet (Richard has been Chief Executive of The Publishers Association—the leading representative voice for the UK's book and learned journal publisher— since October 2010. He coordinates members' views on copyright policy and anti- infringement strategies.  Richard was previously Director of Public Affairs for the BPI, the UK recorded music industry body)

In the chair

 Mr Justice Arnold (Richard was called to the Bar in 1985, became a QC in 2000 and was appointed to the Chancery Division of the High Court in 2008)

Further details

Date: Tuesday 12 July 2011; Time: 5.00pm till 7.00pm; Venue: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, 65 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1HT, England (please use Tudor Street entrance).

Admission is free. Refreshments will be provided after the debate.

To register, please email Jeremy Phillips here using the subject line “Copyright Debate”.  
Do we come to bury copyright -- or to praise it? Do we come to bury copyright -- or to praise it? Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. "so that we can see which side has been the more persuasive to the selected audiance"

    Corrected. Let's not make this more than what it is, and let's be clear about what it is not.

  2. @Anonymous

    Selected audience? Selected by whom? The event is open to everyone and the venue holds a couple of hundred people.

  3. I can attest to the fact that anyone is welcome at this event, there will be at least one Pirate Party member in the audience.

  4. Jeremy,

    You take umbrage too easily.

    Yes, the event is open to all (no one said otherwise).


    How are you going to make sure that the audiance (so open to all) will have not only the right types of people who should be there - legislators, inventors and the like, but in the proper (whatever that is) ratios so that ANY voting and feedback means ANYTHING of substance?

    The answer is that you cannot, and thus, the "answer" of which side is more "persuasive" has NO meaning - this is an exercise in futility - or worse, if the results are trumpeted as something that they are not - which is far more likely than not given your defense of the same.

    Thank you but no thank you - I do not such an event with its unavoidable spin factor.

  5. And to answer your question fo Selected by whom? - the Obvious answer is "self-selected" - which I am sure you will agree will most assuredly not meet the criteria I just posted.

  6. Good gracious me! We do get quite worked up about a conference even before it has commenced -which can bode only well for the upcoming event.

    As an AmeriKat, I am very keen to ensure that both sides of the argument are given equal meaning; weight given not only to the proprietors of copyright but the users of copyright. I am sure our learned judges - both official in judicial form and administrative, in IPKat form will ensure the same.

    I can't wait! :)

  7. A different anonymous writes:

    Regardless of audience composition (and dependent only on honesty) it is perfectly possible to determine who has been more persuasive by comparing a poll at the start and end.

    Of course, some people in the audience will not be open to persuasion, but they can all lighten up and try to learn something.

  8. In response to "it is perfectly possible to determine who has been more persuasive by comparing a poll at the start and end.

    Of course, some people in the audience will not be open to persuasion, but they can all lighten up and try to learn something.

    Yes - but ignoring basic human nature is ill-advised.

    Just take my comments as they are - and stop the spin.

  9. Its a shame you're not streaming the debate over the internet - being in Australia its a tad hard just to pop down to watch it...


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