WRITTEN ON January 10th, 2011 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Policies, Uncategorized, What do we want?

It’s good to see Ian Hargreaves setting out on his independent review of IP with a blog.

The focus of my review is to identify any ways in which this IP system may be inhibiting innovation and economic growth, perhaps by making it harder for young internet companies to develop new products and services in the software sector or in creative industries. If we can find the choke points, we can then think about how to ease them.

As the review goes on, I will be blogging here to talk about our work. I’d like to share questions with you as they arise and to invite discussion.

Can’t say fairer than that. He starts out asking us all what we’d like to see the review achieve (see my tuppenceworth below). Idealgov has always focussed more on public-service efficacy and ID-nitwittery side but government’s role in copyright is also far from ideal. So leave him a comment!

I’d like to see a strong case made for shorter copyright term, defence of fair use and format-shifting. Kick software patents into the long grass. Highlight the value of open data and the remix culture. Use language in a balanced and measured way, avoiding terms such as “theft” or “piracy” unless they’re really appopriate. Point out that p2p and filesharing are valuable new ways to share content legally. Try to find a way forward which does not increase surveillance or criminalise a vast proportion of (especially young) people. Takes Gowers’ review on board.

But you’ll of course reach your own conclusions based on the evidence you gather.

What I’d like to see in the process is a rational and evidence-based approach. Full engagement with public interest or consumers and with artists as well as lobbyists working for old media (try to discount the weight you give submissions in proportion to the lobbying budget behind it). Listen carefully to what the hardcore reformers are saying – Stallman, Lessig, anti-Acta activists, the Pirate Party, FSF, ORG, OKF. They’re often far more rational and always a great deal more fun than BPI, RIAA, FAST and other apologists for Das Kapital.

The litmus test is: are these views motivated by a sense of right and wrong, a true love of culture, a real understanding of the nature of the emerging information age? Or is what I’m hearing just a predictable blend of fear, greed and bullsh*t?

Ignore Feargal Sharkey. But summon Lily Allen as en expert witness, just for the fun in seeing what she says next, and so you can put her face on the cover of your report. Good luck! Doing this blog is a very encouraging start btw.

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