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back to article The Google Review: Now Speak Your Brains

The Business Department BiS has launched a copyright consultation, inviting views on the recommendations raised in the "Google Review", as the "Hargreaves Review into IP and Growth" became known. Hargreaves was tasked with looking for changes in UK IP law that could stimulate economic growth. Ian Hargreaves' review featured …

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Ideas:

Don't allow huge multi-national companies to apply for patents. They're supposed to be for smaller companies.

If a patent isn't utilised within a product within two years then it expires.

Similarly, void any patents held by companies who do not produce any products. To be a patent holder you must be producing a product.

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Coat

Some more:

Bring copyright life in line with patents, i.e. 15 years (maybe, not totally sure this is correct it might be 10 or 20 years). If the rights holder cannot extract it's worth in that period then tough, it should have been marketed better in the first place. I see no reason that music or literature should benefit from greater rights than the pharmaceuticals or electronics.

Continuous exploitation: if the rights holder ceases to exploit the copyright/patent it transfers into the public domain, do not pass go, do not collect £200.

Yep that's mine the one full of "abandonware"

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I don't recall anything that said patents were supposed to be for smaller companies. Patents are patents - protection for your invention. We can argue over how long they should last but it should be the same rules for everyone, whether that is a lone inventor or a giant pharmaceutical company. And what about when a small party or individual chose to sell their patent rights to a large company? Would you legislate to disallow people to do this?

Patents should be granted far less than they are, that much I think everyone will agree on (except the patent office), but one rule for some and another for others, sounds like a How To for unfairness, arbitrariness and exploiting loopholes.

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I totally agree with you

But the article is about copyright, not patents.

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Stop

Producing a product

You cannot ask for that, especially with pharmaceutical companies. Very often, small companies can develop a new product, but do not have the infrastructure to produce and sell it in any profitable way.

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Anonymous Coward

Google: All your IP are belong to us

(c) David Cameron 2011.

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Westminster Council

Spent £400,000 on road signs and legal documents before their 'consultation' into parking 'levies' was finished. Anyone who's been through redundancy will know what consultancy means.

This so called copyright consultation will produce nothing useful to the individual creative and play right into the hands of collecting agencies who cannot be trusted to act in the best interests the individual (STARES AT DACS) when there's any whiff of extra profit.

Any photographers reading this ought to sign up to the Plus Registry which, at the moment, has the tacit approval of a LOT of working photographers.

https://www.plusregistry.org

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Levies and ECL

The issue of levies on iPods split the recorded music industry when it was floated (and dismissed) by Gowers, with big labels and the BPI against compensation and smaller labels and AIM for it. Hardly surprising as most collective schemes follow relative popularity rather than market value of tracks, and therefore favour the indies slightly.

One difficulty with the idea itself is that as a private copying exemption it is justified only where the person making the copy has bought the original and is copying it for their own use. I have seen this stretched to the family as the unit of ownership, but it's clearly difficult to encompass broader filesharing or the levy starts to look like a state sponsored iTunes Match. Nothing wrong with that of course, but don't pretend it's a compensated private copying exemption if it's actually a public distribution exemption.

Boosting the indies would of course help the UK as they produce a lot of new music and employ relatively more people per £ of revenue, probably. I wonder if the Government will bother to find out the actual numbers for us before making a decision.

ECL is an answer to a theoretical problem where a single and perhaps insignificant rights holder (sorry - that is not culturally or artistically insignificant - just one which is economically invisible) is able to hold a market to ransom by virtue of the fact that a required licence is either impossible enact or is deliberately withheld. If your business entails enabling people other than the rights holder to make copyright work available, that's a problem.

If rights holders got better at helping distributors know what they were allowed to make available this problem might well go away. Interesting that the Government is enthusiastic about a scheme to do just that, the Digital Copyright Exchange, viewed with some cynicism by the music industry lobbyists who claim to be 'good at databases' but are as yet a long way from managing the sort of EDI that other apparently less tech driven industries managed in the 1980s. Perhaps the threat of mass appropriation will provide an additional incentive.

Like many small business owners I would naturally prefer less Government interference in the market, more Government oversight of the fairness of the market, and lots of incentives for smart new solutions to difficult and therefore potentially lucrative problems. I'd agree this review looks a bit corporate statist, but it has proven impossible to get Government to understand how incentives within the music industry are driving the dysfunction in the first place. More 'tinker and hope' than 'make copyright fit for the 21st Century'.

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I hate gov consultations...

They are written like those pseudo religious personality questionnaires that are biased to force a particular outcome.

Anyhoo I read it.

It does concern me that content I (might) create could be licensed by somebody else through a collecting society or deemed an orphan work if I am not contactable. Then again, I'm not that likely to monetise my potential 'creative works', so the possibility of getting royalties for something that I chuck up on a website that later makes its way into a commercial venture isn't totally unappealing.

The opt out sounds like a bad idea, except for the above possibility of getting paid, but I suspect this will only really benefit the collecting societies.

These seem to be the worrisome sections for individuals who have created some 'creative work', unless of course you are happy for a largely unaccountable monopoly to collect money for you on your behalf.... (Note: ECL - Extended Collective Licensing).

"Collecting societies authorised to operate an ECL scheme would be given additional powers to act on behalf of non-member rights holders who have not given them explicit consent to act. Understandably, there are concerns from some quarters about these additional powers. The Government believes these can be counterbalanced with some checks: the ECL authorisation would only be given if the collecting society committed itself to adhere to certain conditions set by Government. These would include compliance with minimum standards of fairness and transparency set by Government and enshrined in codes of conduct. Collecting societies operating ECL schemes would be required to treat members and non-member rights holders equally, unless there are reasonable grounds for differences in treatment."

and

"There are also fears that it will be onerous to opt out from an ECL arrangement or that a collecting society might deliberately ignore an opt out. The proposal is that the opt out mechanism should be simple and at zero or negligible cost to the rights holder. An email or a telephone call to a free phone or local number are examples of simple and cheap opt out mechanisms. The Government would welcome your views on how a collecting society should show that it has taken account of opt outs."

The relevant consultation questions:

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What are the best ways of ensuring that non-member rights holders are made aware of the introduction of an ECL scheme and that as many as possible have the opportunity to opt out, should they wish to?

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What type of collecting society should be required to advertise in national media? For example, should it need to be a certain size, have a certain number of members, or collect a certain amount of money?

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What would you suggest are the least onerous ways for a rights holder to opt out of a proposed extended licensing scheme?

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Should a collecting society be required to show that it has taken account of all opt out notifications? If so, how should it do so? Please provide reasons for your answers.

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Are there any groups of rights-holders who are at a higher risk of not receiving information about the introduction of an ECL scheme, or for whom the opt-out process may be more difficult? What steps could be taken to alleviate these risks?

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WTF?

Are you sure the reaction is against copyright?

"But any attempt to enforce IP brings out the Chicken Little crowd, honking furiously that the sky is falling in on them. To enforce copyright online risks destroying the Unicorns' natural habitat: the cybernetic meadow."

Actually to my knowledge, the reactions are rarely about copyrights and primarily about Patents. There is a massive difference between the two, which I hope does not need to be explained to El Reg readers.

For anyone interested:

In (extremely oversimplified) terms, copyrights apply to specific IP and protects the work and innovation of entrepreneurs, small or large, while patents, apply to concepts, ideas and business models and require limited if any investment in implementing specific inventions. They furthermore preclude different innovations, from delivering the same functionality and as a result, they are indeed a stranglehold on innovation.

Once someone has invented something, copyright protects them from copying, but patents protect them from anyone developing something similar, even if they put in their own development and investment.

The key problem is the broad and generic definition of an innovation, that can be applied to patents. Examples are "a method of transmitting sound and moving pictures over a wireless digital network" and "an algorithm that performs a particular function".

Rather than copyrighting the innovation (e.g. an actual algorithm), companies patent the concept and then hit whoever bothers to do the actual development work for patent fees.

I have no idea where you got this stuff about unicorns & digital meadows. In years of following this issue, I haven't seen any notable reaction to copyright (except maybe from freetards). The arguments about innovation relate to patents.

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FAIL

"I haven't seen any notable reaction to copyright"

Then I posit that you are singularly unqualified to talk about copyright in relation to this article. Perhaps this is why you are rambling on about patents.

You should visit stop43.org.uk so you may understand something about this issue, and the last time the 'orphan works' notion reared its ugly head. The issue was well covered on the Reg and elsewhere, and I am curious as to how you may have missed it.

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Anonymous Coward

Presumably "everything is up for grabs" is exactly what the freetards want?

Or does it only work when it's them ripping off other people, not when it's their holidays pics being used without permission by Facebook?

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It seems odd to me that The Register so persistently misses the point on this issue. It isn't about creators or consumers (i.e. freetards, as they are so frequently prejudged), but about what is in practice (if not by legal definition) a cartel, namely publishers, who exploit their control over distribution to the detriment of creators and consumers alike.

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You're wrong.

It *is* about the individual creator potentially losing the right to decide who uses their work, where and for how much.

Hollywood and Big Music may have the loudest voice but individual creators have the most to lose.

"a cartel, namely publishers, who exploit their control over distribution to the detriment of creators and consumers alike."

Erm .. that's what the Google report wants to usher in.

Another big F OFF collecting organisation legally able to hoover up other people's work and use/flog it on their own terms and for their own profit.

It's like your local council licensing a massive gang of shoplifters then giving them a rent free shop on the high street in which to sell the goods they've just stolen from the other shops.

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Thumb Up

Thank you Andrew

I'm sure you need no encouragement, but please keep up with your reporting and analysis/flaying of this ridiculous charade.

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