Hargreaves copyright report gets strong backing


The Hargreaves report into IP and copyright laws has received widespread backing, including from business secretary Vince Cable.

The report proposed a number of revisions to current legislation, including CD ripping, as well as relaxing rules on parodies and re-workings of content.

It suggested updating laws on "copying which does not conflict with the core aims of copyright," such as digital copying of journals for computerised analysis in research.

Professor Ian Hargreaves also proposed the introduction of a Digital Copyright Exchange, where licenses could be bought and sold.

The 123-page document said businesses were being prohibited by dated laws which had not taken technological developments into consideration.

"In recent years, the UK has failed to make the changes needed to modernise copyright law, for which we will pay an increasing economic price as we make our way into the third decade of the commercial internet," Hargreaves said.

"My recommendations set out how the IP framework can promote innovation and economic growth in the UK economy."

Changes to IP law could bring 7.9 billion to the UK's economy, according to the report.

"The report highlights real scope for changes to copyright laws which could add enormous value to the UK economy," Cable said.

"Intellectual property has an enormous impact on individuals, businesses and industries across the UK. It affects what we can and can't do in business, education and in our daily lives. Technological innovation, successful creative businesses and strong international brands need to thrive."

A positive reception

Whilst some have claimed the report was somewhat overdue, many have moved to praise its recommendations.

"Professor Hargreaves has given us the design manual to a 21st century copyright policy," said Peter Bradwell, copyright specialist for the Open Rights Group.

"He shows that we can allow useful activities, like new medical research techniques or parodies, and maintain flourishing creative industries. This evidence-based blueprint should finally help Government balance copyright in the interest of creators, consumers and innovators. It is vital they follow it."

Alan Thomas, head of technology and media at specialist insurer Hiscox, said the Hargreaves report went a long way to show the importance of creating "a balanced piece of law that protects both the rights of those industries creating digital material as well as allowing new businesses to flourish without the fear of unjust prosecution."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.