An independent review of intellectual property laws in the U.K. recently completed its work and published its findings.
The review panel, headed by Ian Hargreaves, a professor at Cardiff University, found that current intellectual property laws are not optimally conducive to an innovative economy. In order to foster economic growth and innovation, the panel made a series of recommendations for intellectual property reform.
Hargreaves claimed that the current laws are, in many cases, archaic and anachronistic. "Could it be true," he asked, "that laws designed more than three centuries ago, with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators' rights, are today obstructing innovation and economic growth?"
The short answer to that question, Hargreaves said, is "yes."
Hargreaves stated that the current system's most significant flaws are in the field of copyright, where laws are "falling behind" the needs of the industry. In order to begin rectifying this situation, the panel's report suggested the formation of a Digital Copyright Exchange, which would make it easier for individuals and companies to get clearance for the use of copyrighted content.
According to the report, the new body would be run by rights holders and would also help to resolve the issue of "orphan works," whose creators cannot be found.