Mixed Reactions To Leaked Section Of Key UK IP Report 29/11/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe here. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate. By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen While the music industry said it is a “big disappointment” that the United Kingdom will not extend copyright protection to sound recordings beyond its current 50 years as stated in a leaked section of a draft government-commissioned report, those in favour of content entering the public domain welcomed it. The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property was commissioned by the UK Treasury in December 2005 to be conducted by Andrew Gowers, the former editor of the Financial Times. The review will examine all areas of intellectual property in the United Kingdom and provide recommendations for the future. The review is scheduled to be published as part of the annual pre-budget report of Chancellor Gordon Brown on 6 December, according to sources. But parts of the report, on copyrights, were recently leaked to the BBC. The BBC wrote that according to a “well-placed government source,” the report will not recommend extending the term of copyrights for sound recordings, which is currently 50 years in the United Kingdom. Many artists, such as Sir Cliff Richard, have indicated that they would like to see copyright protection extended to 90 years, according to the BBC. Sources have pointed out that this may only be a draft version and the recommendations in the final report could be different. Either way, it will be up to the government to decide how to handle the recommendations. Concerns have quickly arisen. “If it is true, it is disappointing,” Alex Jacob of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) told Intellectual Property Watch. “UK and European governments give speech after speech talking about the importance of the knowledge economy,” John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of IFPI, said in a press release. “A decision not to equalise the Copyright Term would confirm that there is no real belief in these words. We have let our manufacturing industry slip away. Will we now show the same lack of support for our creative industries?” Kennedy said that if the music industry does not get support for copyright extension argument at home, it will continue to campaign in Europe. Jacob said that the review would “most likely” trigger a new law. But he said that if Brown becomes the next prime minister succeeding Tony Blair, there would be “a bit of delay.” Bair has said he wants to step down within the next few months, Jacob said. The British Phonographic Institute (BPI) was also disappointed, although Chris Williams said the BPI was trying to “downplay the significance of the leak.” “It is really the response of the Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and not the recommendations of an independent report, that we are most interested in,” said BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson. “It’s in the government’s power to ignore such a recommendation and they should do so.” “Though the review’s opinion is not necessarily binding on the government, it will be a blow to the recording industry which had been lobbying to extend the term to 95 years, the same as in the United States,” Williams said. Meanwhile, those supporting the transition of content to the public domain applauded the news on copyright extension. The Open Rights Group, a UK-based organisation working to preserve digital rights and freedoms by serving as a hub for other cyber-rights groups, hailed the news that the report might recommend maintaining existing copyright terms. “If this is true, we are encouraged and delighted by the news,” the group said. “As we have argued – alongside the British Library, the [think-tank] Institute for Public Policy Research, and prominent musicians such as Dave Rowntree from Blur – it is essential for the vitality of the music industry that they honour the copyright bargain they have struck so that both old and new music can flourish,” the Open Rights Group said. The 50 years only applies to recording artists, as composers and their families are entitled to 70 years of copyright protection in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Mixed Reactions To Leaked Section Of Key UK IP Report" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.