Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, records the findings of a Treasury Committee's wide-ranging review of British intellectual property law. One of the most controversial matters it considered was whether to increase copyright term for sound recordings from its current period of 50 years to either 70 or 95 years. The record industry argued that this would be good for Britain’s balance of trade and good for British performers, as well as good for the industry itself. Faced with complex economic claims, Gowers sought independent advice from CIPIL who produced The Review of the Economic Evidence Relating to an Extension of the Term of Copyright in Sound Recordings which came out firmly against changing the existing position.
The Report argued that no additional incentive effect could possibly be achieved by offering copyright term extensions to existing works, while such extensions would cause considerable damage to consumer welfare. The Report also indicated that the increased incentive from prospective extension was unlikely to be significant. Arguments that Britain would benefit from such an extension in terms of balance of trade were also problematised. The Gowers Report, issued on December 8th 2006, adopted much of the reasoning, and recommended that the European Commission should retain the existing 50 year term.
A Response to LECG Critique of the CIPIL Review of term extension for sound recordings (Gowers Review on Intellectual Property)
In December 2006 the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge published a Review of the Economic Evidence Relating to an Extension of the Term of Copyright in Sound Recordings reviewing the evidence relating to a term extension for sound recordings. The report was itself commissioned by the Gowers Review on Intellectual Property which was set up in December 2005 by the Chancellor of Exchequer to conduct "an independent review into the UK Intellectual Property Framework".
Among other matters, the Gowers Review gave detailed consideration to the question of whether a term extension for sound recordings was merited, and it was this which motivated their commissioning of the CIPIL report. Based on the report, and the other evidence available, the Gowers Review recommended strongly against any term extension.
Several months ago, due to the comments of music industry representatives in public fora, members of CIPIL became aware that a critique of their work had been circulating. It appeared this critique had been commissioned from the LECG consultancy by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry). Unfortunately the BPI have refused to make the LECG report publicly available. However, we have been given a copy from another source and it is on this that the response is based. The response can be read here. (published October 2008).
Models of Public Sector Information Provision via Trading Funds
Models of Public Sector Information Provision via Trading Funds analyzes the impact of adopting different models for the provision of public sector information by trading funds. The study examines the cost and benefits for society, and the effects on government revenue, of four different charging policies: profit-maximization, average cost (cost-recovery), marginal cost and zero cost; both on their own and when interacted with various data distinctions such as raw versus value-added, and unrefined versus refined.
Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the UK: A Literature
The UK's Strategic Advisory Board on intellectual Property has commissioned a literature review from CIPIL. This will be undertaken by Kimberlee Weatherall (University of Queensland) with Lionel Bently and Beth Webster (University of Melbourne)
The Impact of Technological Measures on Access to Exceptions: An Empirical Assessment
Patricia Akester (PhD) was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship (in association with matched funding from Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge) to undertake a project looking at the impact of technological measures on the ability of users to take advantage of the statutory exceptions to copyright. When technological measures were under consideration in the mid 1990s two stark scenarios presented themselves: on the one hand, an ideal world where copyright owners could use DRM to make their works available under a host of different conditions in a way that responded to the diversity of consumer demand; on the other, a more bleak environment where all users of copyright material (and much non-copyright material) would be forced to obtain permission and pay to access material that previously would have been available to all. In the face of these two extreme visions, the European legislature developed a compromise position, embodied notoriously in Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive. The legislature appeared to be hoping that rightholders would voluntarily make material within certain specified exceptions available to users. Patricia Akester examines how these issues are working out in practice. Based on a series of interviews with key organisations and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, she provides a sober assessment of the current state of affairs. Her report is now available here.