BIS Committee Backs NMA Stance on Intellectual Property Regime

The current intellectual property regime strikes the right balance between the rights of the creator and the consumer and further change “would not be helpful at the moment,” a select committee report on the digital economy has said.

The report by the Business, Innovation and Skills House of Commons Committee said the intellectual property regime was becoming “increasingly important to the economic success of the UK” and the current regime was “flexible enough to withstand technological and digital challenges.”

In written and oral evidence to the inquiry, which was announced in September 2015, the News Media Association said that effective copyright laws were essential in order to safeguard investment in news media journalism and the current regime was “fundamentally fit for purpose.”

“There is a real risk that unwarranted change could undermine the creative industries, which are an increasingly significant contributor to UK GDP. It is important for government to support and nurture the ability of the market to survive and thrive without imposing commercial models or constraining its ability to evolve,” the NMA submission said.

Newspapers are essential components of a well-informed public and a free and democratic society and in order to maintain their role as a primary conduit for the free flow of information and comment newspapers must operate in a legal landscape permitting flexibility and facilitating immediate business decisions, the submission added.

The BIS report backed the Copyright Hub, which aims to simplify the licensing process in the digital era, as a “world-leading asset” and said the government should “continue to pledge financial support” for it.

“While we have not carried out a detailed study into the work of businesses working within IP issues, we were impressed with the evidence from the Copyright Hub, which incentivises creators and creativity, ensures that mechanisms are keeping up with technological disruption, and uses identifiers to connect the work with the creator,” the report said.