That process is now getting underway with officials at the IPO envisaging that the first Parliament will get to see proposals will be October 2012; and those things which require new Bills (as opposed to amending existing ones) may not kick off until 2013.
So behind the headlines of this week’s media coverage - much of which made it sound as if the Hargreaves recommendations are a done deal - there is the brute reality of a long hard slog. The problems which the Gowers proposals encountered have not gone away, or are no less real just because the Hargreaves and the IPO wish them to be. For example, UK Music’s robust opposition to the format shifting proposal (transferring CDs to hard-drives but without any compensation going to artists) shows there is a big battle to be had there; as with the film industry’s response to it. What the photographers’ response to the orphan works proposal remains to be seen, but it was their brilliantly marshalled opposition which scuppered the proposals in 2010. For our part, the proposals to introduce a wider exception for data mining, and further to weaken the law at a European level, will be the main area of policy debate. It is still difficult to square Hargreaves’ insistence on evidence-based policy making with the Review’s failure to conduct any economic assessment of this idea. Still less that the IPO (which is also apparently keen on evidence and wants to establish new standards for it) has accepted this recommendation without evidence to support it.
The Government’s response also pointed at a wider policy debate to be had. Although there were warm words about the importance of copyright and the creative and knowledge industries – sentiments which were markedly lacking from Hargreaves’ report – there were nevertheless a number of statements to the contrary. A belief that there should be the widest possible number of exceptions to copyright being chief amongst them. So whilst Parliament and Government are on a summer break, there will be plenty for us to get our teeth into when they return in September.