© the way ahead: A Copyright Strategy for the Digital Age

The UK Government continues to explore how to adjust its copyright framework to keep up with technology and consumer behavior. In its latest publication, © the way ahead: A Copyright Strategy for the Digital Age,  the UK Government looks at how copyright can tackle the challenges of the digital age, drawing on previous work including Digital Britain and the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, on international perspectives including the European Commission’s and on discussions and submissions from stakeholders.

Much like the Canadian Government, the UK Government wants a copyright system “that works as well as it can for everyone in the UK, supporting investment and sustaining jobs, as well as underpinning our cultural life, and supporting consumers to get the best from the digital age.”

The report sets out what the UK Government plans to do both domestically and through the EU. The proposed measures reflect the interests of all stakeholders:

• for creators of copyright works: to support fair treatment through new model contracts and clauses and fair returns for use of their work by improving education about and enforcement of rights;

• for rights holders: to help secure a viable future by encouraging the development of new business models, modernising the licensing process and maintaining support for education about and enforcement of rights (including tackling peer-to-peer filesharing);

• for consumers: to allow them to benefit from the digital age by seeking to legitimise non-commercial use of legitimately purchased copyright works and improving access to ‘orphan works’ such as out-of print books;

• for educators and researchers: to support them by improving access to works, resolving issues around copyright and contract and ensuring exceptions to copyright are right for the digital age; and

• for businesses and other users: to work towards a simpler system by looking at the scope to simplify copyright, improving the copyright licensing process and encouraging the development of new business models.

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