The Government is looking at whether a Digital Copyright Exchange could boost Britain’s economic growth
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced that Richard Hooper will head its new Digital Copyright Exchange feasibility study.
The Government’s proposed Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) has the potential to boost economic growth in the creative and technological sectors. It would essentially be a one-stop shop to streamline licensing, remove bureaucratic clearance processes that have historically slowed innovation and which often act as a deterrent to enterprise start-ups.
Concerned that the law had become out of touch with modern consumer behaviour, Prime Minister David Cameron has long said that he wants a review of intellectual copyright "to promote innovation and growth in the UK economy." Professor Ian Hargreaves was commissioned to review of the UK’s copyright laws. His report was published in August.
One of Professor Hargreaves’ key recommendations was the implementation of a DCE, which he believes could boost the UK economy by over £2bn.
The DCE could offer a centralised system whereby rights holders determine the terms on which their works can be made available, and consumers and quickly the owners and negotiate licensing or investment deals.
"A Digital Copyright Exchange would be a global first and could unlock significant growth potential in the creative sector benefiting consumers and businesses alike," said Mr Cable.
"This is an exciting project which could really open up the UK’s intellectual property systems. But the solutions are not straightforward and there are a number of issues that need to be worked through to establish its feasibility, so I am delighted to have someone of Richard Hooper’s stature to lead this important work."
Whether such an ambitious scheme can work is another matter, as the UK’s international, regional and EU treaties on copyright and intellectual property make the undertaking a complex one for Mr Hooper.
"My work will be in two distinct phases. First I want to talk to people across and outside the sector to find out how they see the licensing challenges facing them. As part of that process, I’ll be looking to meet the key players and to provide opportunities for all those interested to air their views. We will then be able to forge some common understanding so that I can look to produce appropriate industry-led solutions which respond to the spirit of Hargreaves’ vision," Mr Hooper said.
Richard Hooper’s experience in the area is well noted. He was Deputy Chairman of OFCOM between 2002 and 2005. He was also Chairman of the independent review of the Postal Services Sector. He was also Chairman of the Radio Authority and has extensive background as a director, and also acted as advisor to Telecom New Zealand on broadband regulation. He is currently the chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group.
Mr Hooper is expected to report to Government before the 2012 summer Parliamentary Recess.
This directly ties into the Government’s wider plans to boost Britain’s technological status in the world, and as part of its incentive schemes to boost London’s ‘Tech City’ sites around Old Street in east London, and eventually, on the Olympics site in Stratford (see CBR’s story here)
The government’s reform follows hot in the heels of controversial comments by EC Vice President for the Digital Agenda Nelie Kroes’ describing current legislation across the region as "the straitjacket of a single model."
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