04 March 2011
The Publishers Association has responded to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property (IP), the consultation period for which closes March 4th 2011, setting out the case for maintaining a robust, flexible and stable copyright framework.
In its response to the IP Review entitled “Delivering Innovation, Driving Growth” The Publishers Association states that:
· radical changes to IP laws would fly in the face of expert opinion - senior executives across the whole sector emphasise the importance of the current IP framework in driving innovation and delivering growth.
· introducing elements of an American style fair use exception would create legal ambiguity and put a chokehold on innovation. There is no evidence that it would have a positive effect on overall levels of innovation and growth.
· in ten years of surveying British companies on barriers to innovation, the UK Government has not found evidence that companies believe the IP regime to be a barrier to their growth.
· barriers to growth and innovation are not the fault of copyright law, but are caused by copyright infringement, the wider business environment and inefficiencies in the licensing system.
· proposals to tackle these problems are in train and Government has a critical role to play in speeding up implementation of the Digital Economy Act and in supporting industry efforts to reduce the incidence of copyright infringing weblinks being prominently displayed in search engine results.
· some minor modifications to copyright are needed and have been identified by previous reviews: these recommendations should be implemented as swiftly as possible.
· The Publishers Association is providing part of its submission to the Review team in the form of an enhanced ebook, so that our case studies on innovation can be viewed in their natural habitat: the screen, not the page.
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association commented:
“The intellectual property regime underpins the dynamic innovation and growth in the publishing industry, and this brings direct benefits to the wider economy. The last thing Government should consider if it wants to sustain the high levels of dynamic innovation is weakening copyright.
“The success of publishing in adapting to the digital age shows there is no need for a weakening of copyright; industry experts do not have an appetite for change, and we are yet to see any compelling evidence which would back up the case for radical reform.
“Measured steps to modify IP legislation are required, such as with Orphan Works, but reform should be carried out only where it shown to be truly necessary.”
Notes to Editors
The Publishers Association
The Publishers Association is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal and electronic publishers in the UK. Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk
Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property
The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property was announced by the Prime Minister in November 2010 and is led by Professor Ian Hargreaves. The main aims of the Review are to ascertain whether the current IP framework presents any barriers to growth, assess the regulations in place and consider whether there is a need for new legislation to enhance growth and innovation, such as US-style ‘Fair Use’ laws. The consultation period for the Review closes on Friday 4th March, and Professor Hargreaves will report his conclusions to the Prime Minister in April 2011.