Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reforming IP

The UK Government's attempts to review IP laws has seen the publication of 'Digital Opportunities' (also called The Hargreaves Report after its author). Here are the highlights:

• an efficient digital copyright licensing system, where nothing is unusable because the rights
owner cannot be found;
• an approach to exceptions in copyright which encourages successful new digital technology
businesses both within and beyond the creative industries;
• a patent system capable of preventing booming demand for patents causing serious barriers
to market entry in critical technologies;
• reliable and affordable advice for smaller companies, to enable them to thrive in the IP intensive parts of the UK economy;
• refreshed institutional governance of the UK’s intellectual property system which enables it to
adapt organically to change.

The proposed concept of a Digital Copyright Exchange is particularly interesting and not a great distance from the work we're already undertaking at Rights Tracker.

But the problem with rights is that the markets for them are far from efficient. A secondary issue is that policing rights is a nightmare. A further issue is the international situation with the EU being particularly active in this area and the ridiculous situation in the US where almost anything can be patented.

At least this very important area of our industrial and service base is being discussed in the open.