Anti Copying in Design (ACID) welcomes the All Party Parliamentary IP Group’s announcement of a new enquiry into the role of Government in protecting and promoting intellectual property

Responsibility for development/enforcement of IP policy stradles many Government departments/agencies and despite numerous reviews into IP policy in the past ten years, the decision-making framework within which policy is developed and agreed has not been sufficiently examined. The APPG for IP will examine the plethora of cross-departmental responsibilities engaged in formulating IP policy, asking whether it works and whether the machinery of government can be improved for better policy formulation.

Chaired by John Whittingdale, MP., leading an IP focused and informed group of cross party MPs and Lords, the enquiry intends to look at a range of issues including:

•    The purpose and goal of IP policy
•    Where and how IP policy is developed in Government
•    How IP policy has developed and been coordinated within the digital policy environment
•    How the Government interacts and coordinates IP policy at an international level
•    How policy impacting the protection of IP is coordinated across departments

ACID CEO Dids Macdonald, commenting on the announcement said, “At last IP is bubbling on main stream Government radar, about time! A good result for the many pioneers who have tirelessly raised the importance of IP to the UK over the years. Let’s hope that this is a sensible, practical approach to ensure that the needs of IP owners and users are effectively considered, fairly by sound Government policy. The willingness of this All Party Parliamentary IP Group to examine how the UK promotes the protection of IP rights and to fully understand how IP Policy matches commercial demands should provide a welcome and informed neutral conduit to influence Government thinking post Hargreaves. It sets off to a good start by limiting responses to 4 pages!”

Organisations wishing to submit evidence (max 4 pages) should email by 30th March. Information regarding evidence sessions will be published on the APPG website at when they have been scheduled.  The evidence sessions will be open to the public.

A full list of the members of the All-Party Intellectual Property Group can be found on their website

The review of Intellectual Property and Growth, led by Professor Ian Hargreaves, was tasked with examining how the UK’s intellectual property framework can further promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth and social and commercial innovation. ACID is a membership organisation assisting its members in the protection of their IP. ACID champions design law improvements through ACID LOBBY and the Alliance Against IP Theft.

Contact Dids Macdonald or call 0845 644 3617

ACID are also members of the Alliance Against IP Theft

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