We were mostly happy
with the thoughtful Hargreaves Report on copyright in the UK, which made a bunch of modest, but intelligent suggestions on copyright law. Our only complaint was that it didn't go far enough, but in today's political climate on copyright issues, it went much further than most. It's been interesting to see the reaction. The industry hasn't reacted quite as negatively as I expected, in part because they're so cluelessly relieved
that the report didn't suggest implementing "fair use" rules. And for those who recognize there are problems in the system, the report is seen as a vindication of their views. John Naughton has a nice piece for The Guardian, noting his surprise at the quality of the report
, and putting this lovely summary on the state of today's copyright laws:
Hallelujah! At last we are getting somewhere. The notion that laws framed in an era when copying was difficult, imperfect and expensive could work in an era when copying was effortless, perfect and cheap was a proposition that only imbeciles and industry lobbyists could entertain. But up to now, our politicians subscribed to it.
Nice to see that sort of sentiment appearing in mainstream news publications, though I fear that Naughton's celebration may be premature. While the Hargreaves report pointed this out, it's unclear that any politicians will actually subscribe to it. After all, the predecessor report, the Gowers Report, also suggested some similar issues (much more mutedly), and was promptly trashed and ignored, as politicians went back to believing that more copyright is always good. I am hopeful that some politicians may take what's said in the Hargreaves Report to heart, but I'm not holding my breath.