Yesterday the Hargreaves Review of IP, charged with independently reviewing how the Intellectual Property (IP) framework supports growth and innovation (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview-finalreport.pdf), reported its recommendations.
The fundamental aim of the consultation was to identify barriers to growth within the IP framework, which consists of the rules and regulations covering how IP is created, used and protected in this country. Using evidence based responses, it has aimed create a picture of how well the current IP system serves to help promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth, social and commercial innovation.
The Strategic Content Alliance welcomes the recommendations of review in terms of the specific exceptions outlined as well as the commitment to furthering easy, widespread access to information and resources, putting technology and information management at the heart of research and education. It is hoped that if the recommendations are implemented, they will allow for and encourage exploitation, re-use of digital content as well as supporting research and learning.
Read on for the key recommendations
- Exception for preservation
For universities and colleges to effectively have long-term access to electronic materials, the format-shifting and non-commercial use exceptions are vital. This supports a general transition to e-only services giving users anytime anywhere access and freeing up space and resources.
- Exception for text mining
Text mining allows researchers to extract and manipulate information and data from a range of sources. The change would have an enormous effect on the range and capability of UK research.
- Orphan Works provision
Orphan works are those for which the rights holder is unknown or cannot be traced. Enabling people to access and re-use these works would support teaching, learning and research immeasurably. Potentially this would encourage mass digitisation of digital content on which services and innovation can be built.
- Ensuring that copyright exceptions cannot be over-ridden by contract law
Currently, contracts can be used to override exceptions to copyright. Enshrining the exceptions in law will future proof the implementation of new proposed copyright exceptions and protect the current exceptions, supporting further innovation and growth.
- Building an exception into EU framework to facilitate adaptability to new technologies
This new exception future-proofs developments in new technology to make sure that that harmonised exceptions across Europe remain relevant.
Other recommended exceptions which the SCA welcomes include the exceptions for parody and format shifting as well as extending the exception for non commercial research to all media.
The recommendations outlined within the Hargreaves Review of IP will, if implemented, provide a basis for UK innovation, education and research with unprecedented opportunities to compete internationally in a fast moving digital age. UK colleges and universities contribute towards this innovation and economic growth as part of a wider, rapidly evolving and complex eco-system which includes a spectrum of new and emergent business relationships and models. In particular, recent studies have valued niversities knowledge exchange income (mainly patents) at £3 billion (2008/09) and the Universities UK report on “The impact of Universities on the UK Economy “stating that they contributed £59 billion to the UK economy in 2009. However, economic, social and technological innovations are often endangered by the limitations of the UK intellectual property regime, which to a large extent inhibits rather than incentivises innovation and growth.
The potential implementation of the Hargreaves recommendations will provide a firm basis for UK education and research to support the UK’s economic growth and innovation, digital literacy, the preservation of vulnerable materials and unlocking digital access to a wealth of vital cultural heritage content currently warehoused as orphan works. Moreover, the applications of text mining, which are immense and varied can be better harnessed by UK education and research, speeding up science and innovation and allowing UK’s universities, colleges and research centres to work more efficiently.