Copyright under review: more style than substance? by Mark Owen (Harbottle & Lewis)

Copyright under review: more style than substance? by Mark Owen, IP & IT partner with Harbottle & Lewis

First published in the January/February 2012 issue of PLC Magazine

The UK Government has greeted the new year with a flurry of copyright and design reviews. All arise from the government’s review of whether intellectual property (IP) laws hamper digital innovation launched in November 2010. This resulted in Professor Hargreaves’ “Review of Intellectual Property and Growth”, published in May 2011 (Hargreaves review), followed by the government’s response in August 2011 (see News brief ‘Hargreaves review: the government responds’, www.practicallaw.com/4-507-8708).

Despite the initial fanfare suggesting that the Hargreaves review would lead to sweeping changes and transform the UK into more of a competitor to Silicon Valley, the measures discussed in the copyright consultation (and focused on here) are, in the main, quite narrow and of sectoral, rather than general, application. The whole exercise now runs the risk of being seen as mere tinkering, while the main copyright issues of the day are being fought over at an EU level or globally.

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