13-03-06

Government Seeks Views on UK Copyright Law The Government is to lead an independent review to examine the UK's Intellectual Property Law framework. The Gowers Review launched its consultation phase on Thursday 23 February with a public "call for evidence" as part of its commitment to consult widely with all interested parties. The Review will examine the UK's current IP law as a whole, however two key issues are likely to be of particular relevance: 1. Copyright Exceptions Fair Use/Fair Dealing UK copyright law is fairly unique in that it does not currently have a 'personal use' exception to allow individuals to copy their own legitimately-purchased CDs onto their PC and MP3 players for their private use. On this issue, the Review asks: · are the current exceptions in need of updating to reflect technological change? · should UK law include a statutory exception for 'fair use'? · how should content owners be compensated for such use? 2. Term of Copyright Protection of Sound Recordings In recent years the record industry has argued for extension of the UK's term of copyright in sound recordings from 50 years to 95 years, so as to achieve parity with the USA. On this issue, the Review asks: · would a change in term have a significant effect on investment, creativity and consumer interests? · have different lengths of term had an effect on investment, creativity and other consumer interests in other countries? · what measures could accompany an extension of term (e.g. licence of right for any extended term)? While the review promises to look at this issue in detail, it should be noted that the European Commission recently indicated their reluctance to such a copyright term extension in the EU stating "there is no apparent justification for such a change". Responses to the call for evidence are required by 21 April 2006 and more information can be found at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/gowers_review_intellectual_property/gowersreview_index.cfm If you have any views on the specific questions raised above we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact Richard Hoare (rhoare@clintons.co.uk) or Tom Frederikse (tfrederikse@clintons.co.uk).
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