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Reviewed 16 December 2008
David Lammy speaking at the launch of the initiative.

New debate looks to ensure UK's creative competitiveness in 21st century

The Intellectual Property Office today set out a framework to guide the UK's copyright policy for the 21st century. The Intellectual Property Office is seeking input from key players in the creative industries and a series of engagements, programmes and forums will look to develop a copyright agenda that supports creativity, investment and jobs and which inspires the confidence of businesses and users.

The copyright system is vitally important to the future health and prosperity of our creative industries and the UK economy. It is the framework through which artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers and all those in the creative endeavour are rewarded and recognised.

Speaking at the launch in London, David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Intellectual Property and Higher Education said:

"The UK's creative industries are such a significant contributor to the UK economy. They represent around 7 per cent of the UK's Gross Domestic Product and employ 1.9million people. I am delighted to be opening up the debate on this important piece of work today. I recognise that the UK copyright system needs to support our creative industries and all those involved in ensuring our future economic prosperity and competitiveness.

"In particular, we must recognise the work of our talented musicians and performers who should reap the rewards of their hard work throughout their lifetime. I am working with colleagues to continue discussions with our European partners.

"This work follows on from that of Andrew Gowers whose recommendations included action on copyright exceptions and enforcement activity. Together with the Digital Britain initiative, Gowers recognised that intellectual property is a key issue for the future of the UK’s digital economy.

"Our UK copyright system does not exist in a vacuum. International and European rules set the boundaries of copyright and our work here will shape our priorities for domestic, European and international progress."

"The creative industries are vital to economic and cultural prosperity of the UK. It is therefore important that the UK’s copyright system - the framework by which creators are rewarded and recognised - supports creativity, promotes investment and job growth while also inspiring business and consumer confidence."

The Intellectual Property Office chief executive Ian Fletcher said: "Rapid technological advancements have meant that consumer behaviour and demand continue to change and we need to ensure that our copyright system keeps pace with laws that make sensible and appropriate rewards for creativity while allowing consumers to continue to access and enjoy online content.

"It is important that we consider the system as a whole not look at a series of issues in isolation. We want to hear views from grassroots creators to multinational corporations."

Stephen Carter CBE, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting said:

"Ensuring the UK remains a world leader in the production of exciting, creative content is an essential part of the work we are doing on the Digital Britain report."

He went on to say that "If we are to build on the work of the Creative Britain paper and make this the country of choice for creative industries to work and invest in, then we need to work towards a framework that will deliver business benefits for all; and a fair, effective and proportionate copyright regime under-pins that ambition. We therefore need to take both strands of work forward together and I look forward to working closely with David Lammy on this."

WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry said:

"Copyright is a burning issue. It affects us all, right around the world. I am delighted that the UK is pioneering a global and inclusive approach to thinking about the future of copyright in a digital world.

"It is, in my view, a timely and necessary initiative and I hope that this will encourage others to follow suit, as the international debate takes shape over the next year."

Andrew Gowers said:

"This is a welcome and well-timed initiative. The environment in which copyright operates is subject to rapid and wrenching change, and it is important that policy adapts in parallel. Copyright is also by definition a truly global system, and the necessary changes to the system can only be achieved through international engagement.

"The UK is in a position to take a strong lead in this debate, and the strategy discussion being launched today will ensure that its voice is both loud and clear."

The four areas identified in the paper that seek to open the debate are:

1. Access to works: Is the current system too complex, in particular in relation to the licensing of rights, rights clearance and copyright exceptions? Does the legal enforcement framework work in the digital age?

2. Incentivising investment and creativity: Does the current copyright system provide the right incentives to sustain investment and support creativity? Is this true for both creative artists and commercial rights holders? Is this true for physical and online exploitation? Are those who gain value from content paying for it?

3. Recognising creative input: Does the current system provide the right balance between commercial certainty and the rights of creators and creative artist? Are creative artists sufficiently rewarded/ protected through their existing rights?

4. Authenticating works: What action, if any, is needed to address issues related to authentication? In considering the rights of creative artists and other rights holders is there a case for differentiation?

The past few years have seen a significant increase in consumers enjoying online content with over 15 million households now having domestic internet access.

Notes to editors

  • The start of a period of stakeholder engagement that will run through until February 2009. It will look to engage with hard to reach stakeholders like SMEs and consumers as well as the traditional creative industry sector. The Intellectual Property Office are looking to publish the final report before summer 2009.
  • The new Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP) will play an important role in the development of this work.
  • The issues paper PDF document(485Kb) is available on this website.
  • For enquiries about the Intellectual Property Office media activities please contact James Thomson on 020 7596 6547 or Dave Hopkins on 01633 814041

Date of release: 16 December 2008

See Also

  • © The future: Keeping ahead of the game (professional section)