December 19, 2014

IP community discusses digital copyright issues

The debate led to many voicing their concerns about the issues facing stable and coherent copyright regulation – namely the difficulty of enforcing laws which are regularly reviewed and changed.

In addition, existing legislation faces the challenge of adapting to the demands of the digital age.

During the hour-long discussion, held in London, Professor Lionel Bently from the University of Cambridge acknowledged that enforcement was a serious issue, but rejected notions that copyright was “under attack.”

He said: “Historically, copyright has expanded massively.  It started off as a limited right for 28 years given to authors but it now has been extended to 70 years, so I don’t see copyright as being under attack.  However, what I do see is that it is becoming more difficult to enforce.”

Lord Clement-Jones argued that the “rot” of the law began with the Ian Hargreaves’ review in 2011, in which he said copyright was viewed as a barrier to innovation.

This, he said, led to many caveats and exceptions in the current law that have damaged consumer confidence.  He called for better digital online enforcement, describing the existing system as “relatively poor”.

Conservative MP Mike Weatherley expressed a similar view.  He said that Hargreaves “did give too much away” and believed that current legislation is “unfit for purpose.”

Labour’s Ian Wright added: “Over the years, there has been constant tinkering and reviews.  We need stability so people have more confidence and understanding of what the IP regime is.”

At Royds, our experts can provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of intellectual property law, including the latest changes introduced under the Intellectual Property Act. For more information please visit our website or contact Stephen Welfare or John North.

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