Reposted from DLA Piper’s Media & Sport Group Bulletin

Editorial Team: Nick FitzpatrickDuncan Calow and Patrick Mitchell

The consultation following up recommendations in the Hargreaves Review outlines Government plans to improve copyright laws.

The consultation, which will run for 14 weeks and conclude on 21 March 2012, is in line with the Government’s “response” to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (“Hargreaves Review”) (for more information on the Hargreaves Review please refer to our May 2011 client alert here).

The consultation sets out the Government’s proposals on how to tackle copyright issues outlined by the Hargreaves Review. Issues addressed include the difficulties with licensing copyright works and the negative impact it brings to copyright holders and businesses. The Government’s proposals to address these issues include:

  • The establishment of licensing and clearance procedures for ‘orphan works’;
  • This would involve the introduction of new legislation enabling the use of orphan works following a diligent search for the copyright-holder and authorisation by a body such as a collecting society or a Copyright Tribunal.
  • The introduction of voluntary extended collective licensing schemes allowing authorised collecting societies to license on behalf of all rights holders in a certain sector, except for those who opt out; and
  • The introduction of new exceptions and the widening of existing ones in order to prevent the unnecessary restriction of productive economic or social activity.
  • A proposed private copying exception will permit the copying of content on to an individual’s own devices, media and platforms. The Government recognises that many technologies are “based on the assumption that people can make copies of content they have bought”, the most obvious example being the Apple iPod which allows consumers to store CD collections on a portable device.
  • The Government also proposes a new exception to use copyright works for parody, caricature and pastiche. The Government recognises that both the creators of parodies and members of the public will benefit from having greater opportunities for expression and that the exception will be in tune with the expectations of users of new media and social networks such as YouTube and Facebook.
  • Among the exceptions to be widened is the current copyright exception relating to the preservation of cultural material. This is to be extended to cover more types and uses of copyright works, for example, audio and visual works.

The consultation, to be sent to organisations such as the BBC, Amazon and the Premier League, “seeks evidence on the potential for the proposed measures to improve the contribution of the copyright system to UK economic growth, to inform decisions on legislative and other action in these areas.”

The Government intends to respond to the consultation and make formal proposals for legislation or other action in an IP and Growth White Paper in Spring 2012.