Time for change
A number of tech company residents of the London 'Silicon Roundabout' (our equivalent to America's Silicon Valley) area have penned an open letter to the Government urging it to some progress on adopting new intellectual property regulations, lest development in the UK stagnate.
The group, comprising BCS, Coadec, TechHub, Bootlaw and the BIMA , says that although it is pleased with the Government's voicing of support for the 'digital economy,' but is concerned that for all its talk, the Government isn't acting enough on behalf of the technology companies resident on its shores.
Says the group: "We have been delighted by the consistent rhetoric of this Government highlighting how crucial Britain's digital economy is to the country's future, and we agree wholeheartedly that the sector must play a vital role in supporting the country's recovery. It is now time for the Government's fine words to be put into meaningful action if the sector is to flourish and play its role in helping to drive economic growth in the United Kingdom."
The group's desire is for the Government to implement the recommendations made by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his May 2011 report "a review of Intellectual Property and Growth." The report makes a number of suggestions for updates to UK copyright and IP law to bring them up to date with advances since the laws were first put into place. The Silicon Roundabout group agrees with Prof. Hargreaves that laws put into place centuries ago, are no longer relevant, as they do not accurately reflect modern business.
The group is, therefore, calling for the Government to implement the changes to the law recommended by Prof. Hargreaves by the end of the year, preferably, or by the end of the current parliamentary session, failing that.
That the Government is likely to make radical reforms to UK copyright and intellectual property laws solely at the behest of a few technology companies seems unlikely. However, the sentiments expressed in this open letter have been echoed elsewhere before, by many prominent technology companies, a great number of which share the belief that the UK's current laws are out-dated and no longer fit for purpose. It seems inevitable therefore, that reform will come - it's just a question of when, and to who's advantage the changes will prove.