Saturday, August 18, 2012

British government promises to reform copyright law.

Originally posted 08/05/2011 on lubbockonline.com

Timothy B. Lee reports on Ars Technica that the British government has pledged to make significant changes in UK copyright law.

The change is in part due to an independent report to the UK Prime Minister. The report is 130 pages, but it boils down to this: Copyright policy in the UK has been driven more by lobbyists than by any real evidence. Based on the report the UK is looking at allowing DVD ripping for personal use and making it impossible to take away rights by removing them using contracts - including EULA's on software and music.

It looks like the UK is serious about reforming copyright law to be something closer to the original intent - allow creators exclusive right to profit from their creations for limited time before allowing others freedom to adapt, modify and build on them, thereby encouraging innovation. The current system - one pushed by special interests such as the RIAA and MPAA in the US - creates hurdles and places barriers on innovation by extending copyright protections so far from the original creation that the creator may have died of natural causes after a long life. Hopefully the British government is only the first to see the benefits in reforming copyright law. It's in their own best interest.

The actual report to the Prime Minister is here (PDF)