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Country Focus: UK

Britain considers Digital Rights Agency


- The British Government is thinking of setting up a Digital Rights Agency and has asked creators, commercial rights-holders and consumer groups to respond by March 30 to a discussion paper that looks at how it could fight illegal online file-sharing and piracy.

Issues raised in the paper published by the Intellectual Property Office include: How to educate and change consumer behaviour towards copyright material; How to support industry efforts in developing new and attractive legal ways for consumers to access content; How to support legislation to address consumer activity that breaches civil copyright law and how to tackle persistent infringement; How to enable technical copyright-support solutions that work for both consumers and content creators; and Whether or not the Agency should be an independent industry body with back-up legal powers held by Ofcom (the Office of Communications).

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Minister of State for Intellectual Property, David Lammy, said, “We can’t have a system where even net-surfing 12-year-olds have to understand copyright in order to keep themselves and their parents safe within the law. The real prize here is a rights agency that sorts out the complexities that keep consumers on the right side of the law, and ensure artists get properly paid.”

Minister for Technology, Communications and Broadcasting, Stephen Carter, said, “In the new digital age, copyright infringement has become easier and more socially acceptable, so it’s clear we need some form of legislative backstop for the protection of rights as well as new and innovative ways to access legal content.”

The concept of a Digital rights Agency was first mooted in the Digital Britain Interim report, published in January.


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