Tuesday, 18 January 2011

If Music Be The Food Of Technology, Tuck in for free!

THE MIKE BATT GUIDE TO WHAT THE IAN HARGREAVES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY REVIEW TERMS OF REFERENCE REALLY MEAN

The Government has commissioned an Intellectual Property review, the Hargreaves IP Review which has tasked professor Ian Hargreaves and a team of Chosen Ones to deliver a report making recommendations about whether Intellectual Property (copyrights of songs, films, books. etc) is perhaps a bit too protected, and judging from the Terms Of Reference, there is a suggestion that perhaps copyright protection is getting in the way of the establishment and growth of - well, "growth". They don't specify growth of what - but it's pretty clear they mean growth of the internet delivery/dissemination industry (Google, ISPs, download and streaming sites, etc.,) not the industry which is founded on and caring for the protection of copyright works. Copyright generates lots of money for the country and provides some, not all, artists, writers and entrepreneurs with a living so that they can continue to create high quality art and entertainment for the consumer. The music and film businesses are under heavy threat and are shrinking because of illegal downloading and piracy. The Digital Economy Act, passed just before this government was elected, gives scant, but at least some protection against illegal file sharing - but it puts a massive financial responsibility on the creator or entrepreneur (the music and film industry) to pay for the "policing" of the system. It doesn't help that there is a free appeals system for those who get caught illegally file sharing, so technically, everyone caught doing it could appeal for free, and jam the system. And trust me, they will! If they can throw fire extinguishers off Millbank Tower they can organise a mass appeal against illegal file sharing. It's not rocket surgery.

By the way - I speak as someone who stayed up all night at Millbank watching the results come in, and walked home at 6 am happy that David Cameron would almost certainly become Prime Minister, and I am still a loyal supporter of Cameron and his team. I just think Mr Cameron has some people whispering in his ear, who are very misguided on the matter of the protection of copyright -v- the right of the people to get free music, and the right of startup delivery systems to get a leg-up at the expense of the copyright owners and creators. David made a speech recently saying that Google could never have started up in this country because copyright law is too tight. That is utter bollocks. Sorry David. Steve Hilton, David's senior spin-doctor, is married to Rachel Whetsone, a paid lobbyist-and senior executive of Google. I'm sure there has been no influence there, of course. I'm assured there isn't. The reason Google started up in Silicon Valley is because that's where you go to start up an internet business, that's where the understanding internet entrepreneur banks, investors and technology are.

The british music business (and by the way these are my views as an individual, not officially imparted in my role as Deputy Chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, although I feel passionately about it in that capacity too) - is ready and willing to help Government achieve its aims to create growth so that copyright and technology can hold hands and skip together through the land of milk and honey, but it does rather wear you down when you fight for years to get a rather inadequate copyright protection Act (the DEA) and then see Terms Of Reference for an IP review describing music/film business interests as BARRIERS to growth. Growth of internet companies, you understand, not growth for all.

I think I am a Red Tory, by the way, - having only just read about what they are. I'd never heard of them, but if I've got them right, I AM one; it's what I've always been. You think TORY when it comes to business encouragement, and help for growth, and for good economic management, and you think SOCIALIST when it comes to using that wealth to help the disadvantaged and to give people a leg up to the bright side of life, hopefully using and enabling their own human endeavour. When I was asked to write the music for William Hague's General Election campaign I asked to be assured that the party would be moving to the left (ie to the centre) and was assured that this was indeed all that was human and natural. But it didn't. I felt a bit betrayed, but I've kept on supporting them recently, because I truly believe that DC and his team really are going to try as hard as possible balance the see-saw from the middle.

So, not as an anti-government activist or disgruntled government opponent, but as a concerned member of the artistic working classes (defined as "those who work and would quite like to get paid"), here is my Guide to, or translation of, the Terms Of Reference of the imminent review.

Firstly, here are the REAL terms of reference:.

QUOTE:

Intellectual Property and Growth: Terms of Reference

The Review will develop proposals on how the UK's intellectual property
framework can further promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth and
social and commercial innovation. It will examine the available evidence as to
how far the IP framework currently promotes these objectives, drawing on US
and European as well as UK experience, and focusing in particular on:

• Identification of barriers to growth in the IP system, and how to
overcome them;

• How the IP framework could better enable new business models
appropriate to the digital age.

Among the subjects to which the Review is expected to bring this perspective
are:

• IP and barriers to new internet-based business models, including
information access, costs of obtaining permissions from existing
rights-holders, and investigating what are the benefits of “fair use”
exceptions to copyright and how these might be achieved in the UK;

• The cost and complexity of enforcing IP rights within the UK and
internationally;

• The interaction of the IP and Competition frameworks;

• The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing IP services to help
them to protect and exploit IP.

The Review will make recommendations:

• on how the IP system nationally and internationally can best work to
promote innovation and growth in the 21st century with a view to
setting the agenda for the long term;

• on what short and medium term measures can be taken now within
the international framework to give the UK a competitive advantage.

The Review will report to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and
Skills and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in April 2011.

(UNQUOTE).

And now, Da Daarh... here is


THE MIKE BATT GUIDE TO WHAT THE IAN HARGREAVES IP REVIEW TERMS OF REFERENCE REALLY MEAN

Intellectual Property and Growth: Terms of Reference

The Review will develop proposals on how the UK's intellectual property
framework can further promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth and
social and commercial innovation for the interests of internet delivery and dissemination operators.

It will examine the available evidence as to how far the IP framework currently promotes these objectives, drawing on US and European as well as UK experience, and focusing in particular on:

• Identification of barriers put up by creators and copyright owners to growth of the interests of delivery system operators, and how to overcome them;

• How the IP framework could be weakened to enable new internet dissemination operators’ business models appropriate to the digital age, at the expense of artists, writers, performers and entrepreneurs in the IP ownership sector.

Among the subjects to which the Review is expected to bring this perspective
are:

• IP and barriers (put up by creators who seem to want to be paid for their work), to new internet-based business model entrepreneurs, including information access, costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders, and investigating what are the benefits of “fair use” exceptions to copyright and how these might be achieved in the UK, with no examination of whether such “fair use” provisions may be desirable or of benefit and protection to copyright owners and those consumers who benefit from the existence of a rewarded artistic and entrepreneurial rights-owning community

• The cost and complexity of enforcing IP rights within the UK and
internationally, because paying a market value for something just doesn’t seem right, and contracts are so jolly hard to understand and negotiate.

• The interaction of the IP-owning bastards and Competition frameworks;

• The unfairly disadvantageous cost and complexity to internet SMEs of accessing IP services from creators to help them to protect and exploit IP for their advantage and development rather than that of the IP creator or owner.

The Review will make recommendations:

• on how the IP system nationally and internationally can best work to
promote innovation and growth of internet delivery companies in the 21st century with a view to setting the agenda at the expense of creators and IP owners and ultimately the consumer for the long term;

• on what short and medium term measures can be taken now within
the international framework to give the UK internet delivery and retail startups and existing operators a competitive advantage over rights holders.

The Review will report to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and
Skills and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in April 2011.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. I understand access to IP is tricky and a quicker way is needed instead of getting jammed up in legal stuff which cost everyone. But as a friend if mine quoted a newspaper as saying 'if it's on the Internet it's fair game' something needs to be done. However that should not be removing the rights of the owner to make it easier for content providers. We all need to make a living.

    The system of supply and demand needs streamlining; not allowing things to be taken without permission or a good rate for the work.

    May be streaming companies could pay in a similar way for IP as clubs, shops and the Radio pay PRS for music they play. Although I understand that it is not generally a lot.

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  2. Official IP review blog by IP review team + twitter feed:

    http://www.uk-ipo.net/blog

    http://twitter.com/ip_review_uk

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  3. I take copyright very seriously, and this is topic that interests me a great deal - although admit I've been a little busy of late to deal with this particular issue.

    As somebody who has ran ISPs and works as a systems administrator for a web hosting company, but has also spent 7 years working in the film post-production industry (and thus relying heavily on major film studios to invest in films which in turn bringing in work for us) and in film visual effects software development (for whom whose software was pirated despite all the protections put on the licensing system - I was made redundant as there was not enough money coming in from th core products and piracy may be to blame in part, but certainly not the whole issue) - it is bloody hard for ISPs to decide what is and what is not violating IP. We cannot be judge, jury and executioner - after all, we're only providing transit or hosting in the same way that the post office delivers letters or BT transfers calls.

    If a complaint comes in, your typical ISP will request the complainant get a court order to remove content. Perhaps bigger ISPs have legal departments that can deal with these things, but certainly not the smaller ones. I spend enough time running systems and making them work then trying to figure out what constitues a copyright violation. Let lawyers figure it out and demand the court order the ISP. Do NOT put the responsibility on having the ISP deal with this otherwise all of our jobs will get more complicated - and I suspect that price of Internet access will rise substantially as smaller companies need to pay for specialist advice/skills needed to shift through IP complaints. However, lawyers are expensive (see below). But if you start adding deep packet inspection to people's Internet connections to detect piracy this is going to open up a whole new can of worms - and may in itself be illegal.

    We cannot have companies like ACS:Law throwing out thousands of letters in the hope they might get lucky - this breeds contempt in both directions.

    What is important is education in copyright. Here's a silly but very true story: I worked for a previous employer, who were a big(ish) UK ISP, and they decided to take a photo from my online photo gallery and use it in a national advert (in print). They did this without my permission - and after I had left the company. I got in touch to prove that it was my photo and that I wanted compensation. They told me that "oh, we didn't know it was copyrighted, but if it is on the Internet, isn't it free?". They offered me just £75 as goodwill gesture "because I was a former employee". It would have cost me thousands to sue them here in the UK. I did not have thousands.

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  4. I loved the old days when you could just browse through record stores and buy music. I agree it has hurt the music industry badly with the internet. I have not found many real free music sights on the internet though. And the one's that are free usually will infect your computer with a virus I have found. I myself, don't mind paying for the music I love. it isn't fair that music artists have no control over their music rights on the internet. the music industry could go down the tube in the future because of this. I mean if the only way a music artist can make profit is to go on tour.... then the older artists would be in trouble, the one's who can no longer tour (except the rolling stones LOL they will play till they die lol)

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