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BCS open letter urges government to adopt Hargreaves report copyright law reform

Cliff Saran

The British Computer Society and The Coalition for a Digital Economy are among the signatories of an open letter to the Prime Minster, urging the government to change UK copyright law to support the digital economy.

The letter to David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne, Vincent Smith and Jeremy Hunt states: "Innovation and commercialisation by digital businesses is a key component of Britain's economy and will play an ever-more important role in years to come. In the interest of ensuring that Britain has a dynamic, world-leading digital economy, it is essential that the government heed the Hargreaves report closely and implement its recommendations thoroughly."

Among the recommendations from the Hargreaves report, the signatories are urging the government to adopt the following:

  • Adopting exceptions to copyright for format-shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library archiving
  • Prohibiting copyright exceptions from being overridden by contract
  • Enabling licensing of orphan works
  • Giving the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) the power to issue statutory opinions to help clarify copyright law and take other measures to help ensure that Britain's IP system remains focused on promoting innovation and growth
  • Causing the IPO to improve the accessibility of the IP system to smaller companies - promoting at EU level copyright exceptions for text and data analytics
  • Promoting the inclusion in the EU framework of a mechanism for adapting copyright exceptions to new technologies as they arise
  • Supporting moves by the European Commission for establishing a cross-border copyright licensing framework
  • Facilitating the creation of a comprehensive Digital Copyright Exchange through which works can be licensed in a transparent and simple manner

The signatories include: Ian Ryder, deputy chief executive, BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT; Jeff Lynn, chairman of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec); Elizabeth Varley, CEO and co-founder of TechHub; and Barry Vitou and Danvers Baillieu, founders of Bootlaw.


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