The Hargreaves report shows potential to boost economy

Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 12:04
Posted by Scott Buckler

Changes to Intellectual Property systems could add up to £7.9 billion to the UK’s economy, the first report looking at how it can drive growth said today (May 18th)

The publication of Digital Opportunity follows a six-month independent review of IP and Growth, led by Professor Ian Hargreaves. He was asked to consider how the national and international IP system can best work to promote innovation and growth.

His recommendations aim to give the UK a competitive advantage – and put it on a par with international competitors. Taken together, they have the potential to add up to 0.6 per cent to annual GDP and to cut the costs of doing business with IP-related business by £750m within a decade.

The key recommendations are:

  • the UK should have a “Digital Copyright Exchange”: a digital market place where licences in copyright content can be readily bought and sold, a sort of online copyright shop.
  • the Government should legislate to permit access to orphan works, where the owner cannot be traced. For example some copyrighted works remain locked away because their authors either aren’t known or can’t be traced to give permission for use. In the worst cases, where one owner cannot be located - just one out of hundreds contained in a film or TV programme - they can effectively hold the interests of others to ransom as it becomes a criminal offence to exploit that work commercially.
  • updating what it is lawful to copy. This includes copying for private purposes (such as shifting music from a laptop to an mp3 player) and copying which does not conflict with the core aims of copyright – for example, digital copying of medical and other journals for computerised analysis in research. For example an academic working on malaria cannot draw on previous research through data mining because they cannot get permission to copy the datasets they need to mine.
  • the Government’s IP policy decisions need to be more closely based on economic evidence and should pay more attention to the impact on non-rights holders and consumers;
  • changes to the Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) powers to enable it to help the IP framework adapt to future economic and technological change

Professor Hargreaves said:

"In recent years, the UK has failed to make the changes needed to modernise copyright law, for which we will pay an increasing economic price as we make our way into the third decade of the commercial internet. My recommendations set out how the IP framework can promote innovation and economic growth in the UK economy.

“The recommendations of the review are designed to enhance the economic potential of the UK's creative industries and to ensure that the emergence of high technology businesses, especially smaller businesses, in other sectors is not impeded by our IP laws.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

The Government is wholly focused on boosting growth – and we can’t afford to shy away from looking at complicated or controversial areas. That’s why I welcome this report and its clear link between intellectual property and potential economic growth.

“The report highlights real scope for changes to copyright laws which could add enormous value to the UK economy.

“Intellectual Property has an enormous impact on individuals, businesses and industries across the UK. It affects what we can and can't do in business, education and in our daily lives. Technological innovation, successful creative businesses and strong international brands need to thrive.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

"It is vital that our Intellectual Property laws incentivise innovation and investment, helping to drive the private sector-led economic recovery.

“I warmly welcome Professor Hargreaves’ review on how the Intellectual Property framework can be updated to better support economic growth in the digital age."

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox added:

The Review presents opportunities to support dynamic UK businesses which will deliver innovation, growth and jobs in the years to come. It offers us the chance of a future with a developing market for Britain's creative talent, where the value of innovation and research outweighs the fear of piracy and counterfeiting."


Source: BIS

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