Prime Minister David Cameron announced that UK intellectual property laws need to be modernised to fit an internet age rather than an antiquated publishing model. The intent is to ensure that rights holders’ interests aren’t a barrier to innovation and the creation of new internet based business models. Cameron publicly proclaimed that a company such as Google could never have started up in Britain because the copyright regime wasn’t as open to innovation as the US copyright system.
Reviewing copyright law to allow more liberal use of an owner’s copyright without permission was one of the priorities mentioned by Cameron.
His pronouncement was greeted favourably by the internet industry, particularly after the passage of the Digital Economy Bill which enable copyright holders to block access to websites hosting illegal content.
It is likely the proposed copyright reforms will be opposed by the motion picture and music industries
Cameron claims to want to create a more creative innovative approach to fair use which exists in the United States.
A six month review of UK intellectual property laws will take place with a view to dismantling the barriers which exist in the development of internet based business models, such as the high costs of obtaining permission from intellectual property rights holders and enforcing Intellectual Property rights both in the UK and internationally.
The interaction between competition laws and Intellectual Property laws will be an important part of the review to encourage the growth of small businesses.
The announcement of the review comes at the same time as the UK Government have announced a new “entrepreneurs visa” to attract high tech businesses to the UK. The government has been holding meetings with high tech companies and venture capitalists, the vision being a British silicon valley, transforming East London to create a world class east end hightech centre and innovation hub.
The concept is to attract foreign companies to the UK. There have already been commitments made by Google, Intel and Facebook. The number of technology start-ups has grown from 15 to over 100 over the past few years, all of which are eastward to the Olympic Park.
After the 2012 Olympic Games are over, Cameron plans to use Olympic Park as the location for the British silicon valley because of it’s proximity to transport and leading Universities.
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