We wanted to draw your attention to this scathing article/review on the Ian Hargreaves’ Digital Opportunity IPO report, the article was published on The Register website and written by Andrew Orlowski.
Analysis Britain could have invented the iPod – if it wasn’t for a copyright law that everyone ignores. So says the UK government in a remarkable economic justification of the so-called “Google Review”, the Review of IP and Growth led by Ian Hargreaves. The document was written for the government by civil servants at the IPO, part of the business department BIS.
“UK firms were unable to initiate this type of innovation because of the private copying restraints,” the bureaucrats assert. They go on to predict that lots of innovation will instantly materialise if the format-shifting exemption is introduced without compensation, and that British consumer electronics companies will once again rule the world – bringing in unimaginable wealth.
“The potential size of new markets would increase as applications expand, and as the number of internet users continues to grow. If this exception enables firms to create new products and markets over the next decade of up to half the size of the iPod market over the last decade, this could grow the economy by up to £2bn per annum at the upper end of possible outcomes.”
There are several flaws to this claim.
One is that UK courts have expressly set the precedent that format-shifting machines do not infringe. The only copyright case fought over a consumer electronics device (CBS vs Amstrad) ruled that the manufacturer marketing a device capable of infringing uses – in this case a double-speed twin cassette deck – was not liable. You would expect the civil servants at the IPO to know this…Tweet