The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property turns One in a couple of weeks. What has happened in the mean time? Well, for a start its commissioner became Prime Minister. For those of us who welcome much of the level-headed and progressive thought contained in the review, this gives hope that some of its recommendations might actually happen. Meanwhile, lots of wealthy pop stars have been making themselves look very silly, complaining that 50 years wasn’t long enough to make a living off their recordings.
More importantly, the renamed UK Intellectual Property Office has been drawing up plans to begin work on some of the Review’s action points. A lot of this involves consultations, scheduled fuzzily for ‘Autumn 2007’, but it is progress of a sort. Hopefully we should start to see results some time next year.
From a music and research point of view, which are the most pressing of those action points? Here’s a guide for you to cut out and keep. Keep it to hand through next year and tick off those copyright issues as they finally get resolved. First one to a full house wins a CD-R of format-shifted new music (for research or archival purposes only).
The European Commission should retain the length of protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights at 50 years.
Policy makers should adopt the principle that the term and scope of protection for IP rights should not be altered retrospectively.
Introduce a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers.
Allow private copying for research to cover all forms of content. This relates to the copying, not the distribution, of media.
Amend s.42 of the CDPA by 2008 to permit libraries to copy the master copy of all classes of work in permanent collection for archival purposes and to allow further copies to be made from thearchived copy to mitigate against subsequent wear and tear.
Enable libraries to format shift archival copies by 2008 to ensure records do not become obsolete.
Propose that Directive 2001/29/EC be amended to allow for an exception for creative, transformative or derivative works, within the parameters of the Berne Three Step Test.
Create an exception to copyright for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche by 2008.
Propose a provision for orphan works to the European Commission, amending Directive 2001/29/EC.
The Patent Office should issue clear guidance on the parameters of a ‘reasonable search’ for orphan works, in consultation with rights holders, collecting societies, rights owners and archives, when an orphan works exception comes into being.
Make it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008.
DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens.