Over the course of the last two decades the digital economy has been a major driver of growth, and the European Commission expects it to continue to grow up to seven times faster than overall EU GDP. The Commission's objective is therefore to ensure that copyright stays fit for purpose by working towards for an improved copyright framework. This is intended to guarantee proper remuneration of copyright owners to provide an incentive for creativity and innovation, while allowing new business models to flourish and combating piracy.
There has been particular focus on copyright (and other intellectual property) law over the last two years, since the government agreed (in 2011) to change the law to implement the proposals for an orphan works scheme and extended collective licensing as set out in the Hargreaves Review. The government has also already committed funds to kick-start the 'copyright hub' recommended by the review. Further of the proposals including the introduction of additional copyright exceptions for parody; private study; data mining; and quotation, are intended to be established in the near future.
According to the IPO, "the UK has much to gain from a modern, flexible copyright system that works for [the UK's creative and ICT industries]". The UK is a net exporter of copyright content and the IPO is of the opinion that UK industry needs the correct European framework in order to thrive.
Topics covered by the consultation include cross-border access and the portability of services; user-generated content; licensing for small-scale users of copyright material; the deposit and online accessibility of audiovisual media; and data mining for scientific research purposes.
In particular, the IPO wishes to understand the impact that potential changes to the European copyright framework might have and therefore wants to know whether:
- UK businesses have any comments on the proposals highlighted in the European Commission's Intellectual Property Strategy;
- further steps need to be taken to complete the Digital Single Market when it comes to copyright; and
- there are areas to be updated to take account of technological development.
The consultation remains open until 11 October 2013 – and the call for views is available here.