March 04, 2011 | Jim Killock

Copyright reform is needed in UK: letter to the Telegraph

We co-signed this letter, published today in the Telegraph, calling for copyright reform in the interests of economic growth. The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property closes today, to which most of the signatories will be presenting evidence.

SIR – Britain’s outdated copyright laws are hindering innovation and damaging our country’s future prosperity. What is needed is a system which continues to protect the rights and rewards of creators, without unnecessarily hampering the ability of other artists, researchers and innovators to reuse this work.

Copyright reform in the Hargreaves review (Business, March 3) should do four things: put in place a quicker way to obtain licenses to use copyrighted material in Britain and across Europe; stimulate learning, R & D and long-term business growth; create a technologically neutral regime which fosters experimentation: and reform contract laws to protect copyright exceptions.

These reforms would eliminate legal uncertainty, protect Britain’s economy and promote teaching and innovation. They would allow the use of modern digital research and archiving techniques so that they don’t block innovation. For instance, copyright law currently makes it illegal to edit, remix or translate content which consumers have purchased, preventing new product development.

Britain remains a world leader in creativity and digital innovation. A modern copyright system is essential to ensure the British economy, rather than our competitors, reaps the benefits.

Paul Ayris President, LIBER 

David C Prosser Executive Director, RLUK
Jeff Lynn Chair, Coadec
Elizabeth Varley CEO,
TechHub Catherine Kearney Director, SLIC
Dr Malcolm Read OBE Executive Secretary, JISC
Matt Brittin UK MD, Google
Mike O'Connor CBE Chief Executive, Consumer Focus
Bill Ferris Chairman, Association of Independent Museums
Victor Henning Co-Founder and CEO, Mendeley
Sir Mark Walport Director, Wellcome Trust
Steve Kennedy Owner, NetTek Ltd
Nico Perez Co-founder, Mixcloud
Jill Cousins Director, The Europeana Foundation
Jess Search Executive Director, Shooting People
Ann Rossiter Executive Director, SCONUL
Mel Philipson Chair of Managers, National Education Network (NEN)
Tim Padfield Chair, LACA
Dame Lynne Brindley Chief Executive, British Library
Isabel Hood Leader of CILIP Council, CILIP
Martyn Wade Chief Executive, National Library of Scotland
Andrew Green The Librarian, National Library of Wales
Jim Killock Executive Director, Open Rights Group
Sarah Thomas Bodley's Librarian, The Bodleian Libraries