UK Thankfully Rejects Plans For New IP Czar With Mandate To 'Increase, Protect & Enforce'

from the good-move dept

The UK has been surprisingly open to reforming copyright law in a more reasonable direction over the past few years, though (not surprisingly) copyright maximalists have been pushing back on such plans. Paul Keating alerts us to the news that, thankfully, a proposal to establish a special “IP czar” in the UK, whose role would only be to increase IP, has been rejected by the House of Lords:

Conservative Party peer Lord Jenkin of Roding had tabled an amendment to establish a new post of Director General of Intellectual Property Rights. The holder would have responsibility for promoting the creation of new intellectual property; protecting and promoting the interests of UK IP owners; coordinating effective enforcement of UK IP rights; and educating consumers on the nature and value of intellectual property.

Note those four responsibilities. Increase “new” intellectual property (it’s unclear if they mean laws or content itself…), protect IP owners, increase and coordinate enforcement and “educate” consumers. Notice that nowhere in there is any recognition that the supposed purpose of those laws is to benefit the public. It would seem a lot more reasonable that any such role should be about increasing the spread of knowledge, watching out for over-enforcement, protecting the interests of the public and educating IP owners on not abusing the law. But, apparently, that sort of thing is what governments are interested in these days.

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Comments on “UK Thankfully Rejects Plans For New IP Czar With Mandate To 'Increase, Protect & Enforce'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well it is not only in UK conservatives are like this. They seem to have a concerted effort to “promote big companies, through over-enfocement of god (spelled I-P-R), decrease company taxes, then give companies far more tax exemptions and push for increasing the wall of IPR to protect “national interests””.
It is all over Europe we see the tumour of the conservative double standards of letting big US companies getting an advantage through IPR protection (US laws on what can be patented are non-existent compared to EU), giving them a lot of favours and calling them a national pride…
It was the same parties pushing for ACTA to the last second!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It might be time for an IP Czar, but one that works a bit differently.
Increase new intellectual property by leading reforms removing NPE’s from the process, keep them from hampering new developments and charging rent on “ideas” they keep locked up.
Protect IP owners from their own stupidity, pointing out that consumer demand should be more important than but we always made this much policies.
Enforce the rights of the public to get their promised rewards for allowing these limited monopolies.
Educating consumers that there are many nontraditional ways to access new IP not offered by the old gatekeepers.
Fighting back against the old gatekeepers trying to keep their stranglehold on the market hurting the public.

Zakida Paul says:

Surprising for an unelected house, the House of Lords are pretty sensible on most things. I think it may be because it is made up, in large part, with people who have made their living in different industries so there is real experience and knowledge there. The Commons is made up of career politicians who have to reply on reports from their paid ‘experts’.

Call me Al says:

Re: Re:

It happens distressingly often. Remember the 42 day detention law that the last government came up with? The Lords threw it back in their faces.

It is ridiculous that we have to rely on an unelected house to protect us from the incompetence of our elected officials.

Of course that doesn’t stop the likes of Nick Clegg from pushing for Lords reform to create yet another group of expensive, oddly unaccountable, incompetent elected officials.

Anonymous Coward says:

the whole aim of the Tory led coalition government in the UK is to screw the public as much, as hard and as often as possible. if they can manage to do away with completely the Welfare State that has been the envy of so many countries, they will (as long as it doesn’t stop the rich, the famous and the powerful from keeping what they have, getting more and able to use the ‘lesser mortals’ to their own advantage!) i dont know of anything that has been done in the last years since the general election that have benefited the country or the ordinary people. every country in the EU has gone down the same road. every other country is realising that to keep restricting the people is a bad move. every other country except UK. until there is another election, there will be no changes to the attitudes the government has. it could easily be too late by then and the UK could be in a similar position to countries like Spain.

Call me Al says:

Re: Re:

Afraid I’ll have to follow this tangeant a bit away from the topic of the article.

You know that public spending has actually increased since the last general election right?

There is also no evidence that they are trying to do away with the Welfare State. They want to restrict it sure but that is quite a different matter. Your comment is complete hyperbole.

The way I see it is simple. Our costs of furnishing our government debt is currently more than we spend on education. On this basis we must decrease our debt. There are not enough rich people in the country who can pay enough tax to cover the debt. Therefore we must cut costs.

Yep there are plenty of corrupt people at the top but one might also argue it is pretty corrupt of the former government to hire so many people into the public sector and put so many people on Welfare that they have effectively constructed a client state of people wholly dependent on the government for their livelihood. Add that this was paid for through debt and you see that they bribed the people not just with their own money but with their children’s money too.

Hyperbole such as your’s get us nowhere.

Ninja (profile) says:

AJ must be weeping in sorrow.

The UK has been surprisingly open to reforming copyright law in a more reasonable direction over the past few years

A bit too little a tad too late after all the “Digital Economy Act” is a big stinking pile of fecal matter all splattered in the law. (read big stinking pile of shit)

I wonder who would be the IP czar. Chris Dodd?

Ophelia Millais says:

One of the supporters of having an IP czar was House of Lords member?and PRS boardmember?Baroness Morris of Yardley (L), who said, referring to her brief tenure in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the mid-2000s, ?…I never felt as much animosity about copyright as there was between the DCMS and the DTI [Department of Trade and Industry], as it was in those days. The two departments were on different sides.?

This affirms what we already intuitively know: Strong copyright impedes and undermines cultural preservation, access, advocacy and enrichment. It doesn’t matter how well organized and funded you are; your hands are tied by laws written for the sole benefit of the entertainment industry.

How someone so pro-copyright got to a senior position in the DCMS, I don’t know. But it’s heartening to see that it led to her public admission that being against strong copyright isn’t just the domain of pirates and other scoundrels who just want free stuff; it’s the well-considered position of intelligent, passionate public servants, librarians, archivists, and other experts who have been entrusted to advance and advocate for culture, for the good of their nation and for the good of the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Unelected officials, less corrupt?

When I moved to the UK from the USA a little over a decade ago, I hated the very idea of the House of Lords. Bunch of old, unelected officials having voice in the country.

But then they do things like this, constantly. They are frequently blocking (and I mean delaying, the Lords can only delay, not stop) bad laws from coming into effect, forcing the elected officials into reworking the laws or creating public outcry when they hear of it.

What has happened that caused democracy to fail?

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