Have you had your say? Last call on the UK IPO Copyright Consultation 21st March 2012

Calling all members who rely on copyright – Your chance to contribute!

The Hargreaves Review was launched by the Prime Minister to look at enhancing the impact the IP system has on growth and reported in May 2011. In August 2011 the Government set out the range of actions that it will take in response to the Review. Its aim (they say) is to remove unnecessary barriers to growth from the IP system while maintaining appropriate incentives for investment in the creation of IP. What do you say? We urge members to respond to this further consultation to provide evidence/case studies where at all possible. Thanks mainly to you, our members who contributed ACID submission to the Hargreaves Review; Design was included as a top Government priority for IP reform. However, this is a final reminder to invite membership to contribute to the copyright consultation due to close on 21 March 2012

The main aspects which affect ACID membership are:

Orphan Works

The inability to use orphan works is a significant problem. Hargreaves states, “Works to which access if effectively barred because the copyright holder cannot be traced represents the starkest failure of the copyright framework to adapt”. Do you agree/disagree? If so why? Do you believe that the system needs to be revised where there are problems assessing unknown copyright status in commercial and non-commercial use such as books, films, music and photographs?

Copyright Licensing

What aspects of the current collective licensing system work well for users and rights holders and what are areas for improvement? There is a proposal to introduce Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) on a voluntary basis in the UK. ECL is a type of rights clearance that would allow an authorised collecting society – one that represents the majority of rights holders in a sector – to license for specific uses of works within the UK on behalf of all rights holders in that sector, except for those who choose to opt out. Are you affected by this? What aspects of the current collective licensing system work well for users and rights holders and what are the areas for improvement? How could it be simplified? Should there be Codes of Conduct for collecting societies?

Exceptions to Copyright – Some which we believe affect ACID members

Private Copying

Do you agree that to introduce a private copying exception to permit an individual to copy creative content that they own to other devices, media and platforms poses a commercial threat to the originator?
Parody, caricature and pastiche – Possible proposals to create a new exception allowing people to use creative works for this purpose without infringing copyright. At the moment individuals, broadcasters and others who wish to create parodies from existing works face legal barriers and administrative costs due to copyright law. Do you agree that a parody exception could create new opportunities for economic growth? Would you be affected and would this negatively impact on copyright owners?

Cost of taking IP legal action

The costs of taking action against any intellectual property infringement places a hug burden on micro businesses and SME’s.  Professor Hargreaves said, “There is no obvious means to clarify the boundaries of copyright infringement in the new circumstances which digital technology creates. Nor has the IPO any means to clarify the law  where it is causing misunderstanding and confusion – as it manifestly is for many people – in a way which carries formal authority, although it has equivalent functions in patents and trade marks”.

IPO Copyright Opinion Service

The Review proposed a new statutory function on the IPO in this area “A power to publish formal copyright opinions in order to clarify the application of copyright law and specifically the application of copyright exceptions, where new circumstances have arisen, or where there is evidence of confusion as to what is allowed under copyright law”.

Would you benefit from this sort of clarification? Should it be reserved for SME’s as the group likely to produce the greatest benefit in economic terms? Have you experienced a copyright dispute over the last 5 years? If so, did you consult lawyers and how much did it cost?


Do you think it would be helpful for the IPO to provide (for a fee) a non-binding dispute resolution service for specific disputes relating to copyright.
Why shouldn’t this be extended to design infringement on both a legal opinion service and mediation? This would appear to be another area where the UK IPO fail designers by not including them in reform for other unregistered rights.

Please email your responses directly to Dids Macdonald, CEO of ACID dids.macdonald@acid.uk.com

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