17 July 2008

Clamping down online IP crime.

My attention has been caught by the relatively recent release of a strategy paper by the Department Department of Culture, Media and Sport entitled "Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy."

The strategy paper recognises the need for "a balanced IP framework relevant to today’s world... [the] need [for] new business models which recognise changes in technology – and their democratisation of content – yet capture the value provided by content producers and distributors. "The strategy paper forcefully makes the point that the Government is determined to tackle "IP crime" by adopting several measures as educating creators on their IP rights, voluntary agreements between ISPs and content owners and / or more formal regulatory framework to deal with IP crime which reflects the changes in the business models.

In the first instance, the Government would prefer voluntary agreements between ISPs and right owners . However, the Government has made it clear that if this does not materialise itself, it will legislate in this area as it sees fit. The Government anticipates the new regulatory framework to be in place sometime in 2009, so CyperPanda will be watching this space.

It also appears that the British Government is working in collaboration with the French Government on this matter. This, of course, does not mean that the French measures will be adopted here but it will be interesting to observe how the regulatory framework will evolve in France as well.

It is undeniable that ISPs should bear some responsibility for the materials that are published on their websites. However, the nature and extent of their responsibility should be a realistic reflection of what they can do rather than an unrealistic reflection of ISPs as cyberpolicemen. The Government needs to think carefully how to balance the responsibility between ISPs, content owners and other stakeholders and ensure that the ensuing framework is a realistic reflection of what can be done by each stakeholder to combat online IP crime .

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