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UK to review its IP laws?

We have been here before.  In 2006 the previous government 
commissioned the Gower Review of Intellectual Property, which 
reported late in 2006.

Prime Minister Cameron's announcement does not presage immediate 
reform. What was important in his announcement was that a 
six-month review has been commissioned, to be led by Prof Ian 
Hargreaves.  It will be an independent review.  Given the state 
of the economy, it will look at aspects of intellectual property 
law that inhibit economic growth, especially in small and 
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which tend to drive growth and 
employment.  The review will report in April 2011.

What it will say is anybody's guess.  The last UK copyright 
statute was the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.  A number 
of changes have been made to copyright law since then, by way of 
regulation made under the powers granted by that Act.  It is 
unlikely that a new statute will result from the review, but 
there may be changes to aspects of the law.  At the moment, any 
use of any copyright material 'for commercial purposes' (even by 
charities; the test is the purpose of the copying, not the status 
of the copier) falls outside what we call 'fair dealing' and 
'library privilege'.  This aspect of the exceptions to copyright 
may be addressed.

However, this is all speculation.  Traditionally, the balance of 
interest between copyright owners and copyright users has been 
less generous to users that the US concept of 'fair use'. 
Striking that balance is always difficult and controversial.  If 
the Hargreaves recommendations call for an extension of copyright 
exceptions, that will be a radical change.

John Cox
Managing Director
John Cox Associates Ltd
Rookwood, Bradden
Towcester, Northamptonshire
NN12 8ED
United Kingdom
E-mail: John.E.Cox@btinternet.com
Web: www.johncoxassociates.com

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Okerson, Ann
Sent: 08 November 2010 23:27
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: UK to review its IP laws?

For interest, see the following.  Will the UK really revise
copyright law to this extent?


Ann Okerson/Yale Library