Google: UK copyright system 'is flawed and limits growth'

Letter to the Times backed by many

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Google and a whole host of other institutions have put their name behind a letter to the Times newspaper which criticises the UK's current copyright laws and urges the government to embrace all the recommendations set out in the Hargreaves report.

Published in today's Times, the letter has been signed by Dan Cobley, UK marketing director at Google, as well as many more big names – including heads of universities, Father Ted creator Graham Linehan and Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library.

In the letter, the UK's current copyright laws are blamed for stifling innovation and growth in the country and notes that if the laws are changed then the UK will be able to compete in the tech start-up world.

"Our copyright system is flawed. It limits growth, puts our cultural heritage at risk, holds back scientific discovery, and stifles our country's great comedic tradition of parody," explained the letter.

"As the law stands, transferring music from a CD to an MP3 player for your own use is illegal. Based on a real case, the inventor of a British iPod would attract legal threats instead of investment…

"By making everyday private copying of the music, films and e-books consumers have paid for legal, copyright law will regain relevance in the eyes of consumers and allow today's technology start-ups to compete with their European and US rivals."

Huge innovation

The letter concludes with a call to arms - it believes that the UK will not be able to compete with the rest of the world unless systematic changes are made to the copyright law.

"We are poised for a period of huge innovation, with the much-needed benefits this will bring for our country's prosperity. But the Government must act now to implement Professor Hargreaves' recommendations if we are to compete on the global stage, free from the unnecessary obstacles of an outdated copyright system."

The letter refers constantly The Hargreaves report – a study which was published back in May 2011. Written by Professor Ian Hargreaves, it asks for a complete overhaul of the UK's copyright system.

The government has yet to announce if any of the recommendations in the report will actually come to fruition.

Via: The Times (Paywall)