An Overview of the Hargreaves Report

‘The prize is to build on the UK’s current competitive advantage in creative content to become a leader in licensing services for global content markets in short to make UK the best place in the world to do business in digital content’- Quote taken from the Hargreaves Report.

Last year in November, David Cameron commissioned a much needed review of the current Intellectual Property framework. He said that it may not be ‘sufficiently well designed to promote innovation and growth in the UK economy.’

It was found that IP Law needed to change, especially in the area of copyright in order to adapt to certain practices of new internet businesses. Digital communications technology engages in copying of text, images and data and copyright law prevents businesses from innovation and growth. This is just one of many examples of the framework being out of date with the modern economy.

The review recommended an obvious change to ensure that the UK has and IP framework which supports innovation and promotes growth in the digital age. If the following recommendations are implemented, the following will promote stronger rates of innovation and increased economic growth:

– A digital copyright license system – this would be efficient if where the rights owner could not be found and everything was usable.

– Exceptions to copyright which enable the new digital technology businesses to excel.

– Affordable advice for smaller business to gain knowledge and understanding and make use of the IP parts of the UK economy.

– Refreshed IP system which will enable it to adapt to new and upcoming technology.


‘Evidence – the development of the IP system should be determined as far as possible by objective evidence.

International Priorities – The UK should pursue its interest in IP. It should attach the highest immediate priority to achieving a unified EU patent court and EU patent system. This promises significant economic benefits to UK business. The UK should work to make the Patent Cooperation Treaty a more effective vehicle for international processing of patent applications.

Copyright licensing – the UK should establish a cross sectoral Digital Copyright Exchange. Government should appoint a senior figure to oversee its design and implementation by the end of 2012.

In addition, the UK should support moves by the EC to establish a framework for cross border copyright licensing, with clear benefits to the UK as a major exporter of copyright works.

Orphan Works – The Government should legislate to enable licensing of orphan works. A work should only be treated as an orphan if it cannot be found by search databases.

Limits to Copyright – the Government should firmly resist over regulation of activities which do not prejudice the central objective of copyright, namely the provision of incentives to creators. Government should deliver copyright exceptions at national level to realise all the opportunities within the EU framework, including format shifting, parody, non-commercial research, and library archiving.

Patent Thickets and Other Obstruction to Innovation – in order to limit the effects of these barriers to innovation, the Government should take a leading role in promoting international efforts to cut backlogs and manage the boom in patent applications by further extending “work sharing” with patent offices in other countries.

The Design Industry – The role of IP in supporting this important branch of the creative economy has been neglected. In the next 12 months, the IPO should conduct an evidence based assessment of the relationship between design rights and innovation with a view to establishing a firmer basis for evaluating policy at the UK and European level.

Enforcement of IP Rights – The government should pursue an integrated approach based upon enforcement, education and, crucially, measures to strengthen and grow legitimate markets in copyright and other IP protected fields.

Small Firm Access to IP Advice – The IPO should draw up plans to improve accessibility of the IP system to smaller companies who will benefit from it.

An IP System Responsive to Change – The IPO should be given the necessary powers and mandate in law to ensure that it focuses on its central task of ensuring that the UK’s IP system promotes innovation and growth through efficient, contestable markets.’

In conclusion to the above taken from the report it seems that there will be an upcoming drastic change to the IPO system and in particular copyright law.

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