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UK Government Order Review of IP Rights 159

Posted by Hemos
from the changing-of-the-mind-&-guard dept.
quaker5567 writes "The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has ordered an independent review of intellectual property rights in the UK. The review will be led by Andrew Gowers, formerly the editor of London newspaper The Financial Times. The review will look into the awarding of IP rights to business, the complexity of current laws and the extent of "fair use" in the current law. Importantly, the review will also examine whether the current term of copyright protection (70 years after the author's death) is appropriate. Andrew Gowers recently criticised the print industry for not realising the true power of the digital platform, comparing them to a record company which specialises in vinyl."
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UK Government Order Review of IP Rights

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  • Re:"fair use"? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nuskrad (740518) on Monday December 05, 2005 @10:32AM (#14184567)
    Fair dealing has a very limited scope in UK Copyright law though. It only covers copying and some distribution for research and journalism purposes. See Sections 29&30 of the CDPA [jenkins-ip.com]
  • Gordon Brown (Score:3, Informative)

    by IainMH (176964) on Monday December 05, 2005 @10:50AM (#14184698)
    For those not up on UK politics, this is significant because Gordo is second only to Tony Blair in the Government (no matter what Prescott thinks) and is seemingly the heir apparent as Prime Minister when Tony Blair resigns. (Which I will take bets on will be soon after he beat Thatcher's reign).
  • by threaded (89367) on Monday December 05, 2005 @11:04AM (#14184798) Homepage
    For those not up on UK politics this is just another scam to see how Gordon Brown can raise taxes. Any other outcome will be nothing but secondary.

    My suspicion is, because he is so desperate to raise more tax revenue, it that he will allow anyone and their dog to patent anything, "fire", "the wheel", for example, and then others will have to fight it down in court.

    Remember, you read it here first.
  • by shippo (166521) on Monday December 05, 2005 @12:25PM (#14185450)
    There's two kinds of copyright in effect here.

    Firstly there's the mechanical copyright - the copyright on an actual recording. In the UK this currently expires 50 years after date that the recording was first released, independant as to where it was released. In all cases the expiration takes place at the end of the calendar year. There are a number of record companies who exploit this by issuing old recordings whose mechanical copyright has lapsed.

    Secondly there the publishing copyright - the copyright on the song. This expires 70 years after the authors death. Payments for these are usually managed via a publishing company who collects the rights and passing on a percentage to the authors. So even if the mechanical copyright has lapsed, the publishing copyright still remains in place.

    In the Beatles case, Northern Songs which owns the publishing rights to most of their compositions (excluding some of the earlier material, later George Harrison compositions, and Ringo two) is partly owned by Michael Jackson. The publishing company still passes the payments on, Jackson will just get some kind of financial benefit as the co-owner of the company.

    So under current UK copyright law anyone will be albe to press up a copy of 'Love Me Do' (their first single, dating from 1962) from January 1st 2013, but publishing will still have to be paid to Lennon's estate until the end of 2050, and to McCartney's estate up to at least 2075.
  • by BlightThePower (663950) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:37PM (#14189103)
    Huh? Increasing unemployment? The rate of unemployment is flat [hrmguide.co.uk] and has been for quite some time. The number of people classed as economically unactive has actually fallen. Inflation has been flat for a number of years now, remaing at 2%. Debt has risen slightly (as we learned today) but in real terms is so small as to be the envy of most of the world, we certainly aren't talking about a US-style hocking of the family silver. Current queasiness aside, Brown's Golden Rule has more of less been adhered to, something very few other economies in the UK's league can claim. Finally, the Chancellor of Exchequer has never suggested that the role of Government is to create jobs, indeed he has argued against that view publicly on many occasions and this remains a major part of the UK's ongoing and vitriolic arguments with EU members. The UK is for the market liberalization of the EU, but alas a voice in the wilderness at the present time.

    In short I think that was a troll comment and readers more locally focused in their knowledge of these things shouldn't fall for it. The UK is neither to be lazy conflated with "Europe" (read: France and Germany, completely different circumstances and economic philosophies) nor America.

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