Feeds

Theft scribe picked for Intellectual Property review

Liberté, égalité, téléchargement!

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Five advisers have been appointed to Ian Hargreaves' review into intellectual property growth, the IPO announced yesterday. Two of the choices may cause consternation among creators' rights representatives.

One is Scottish legal academic James Boyle, founding board member of Creative Commons, and co-author of two rabble-rousing comic books. One portrays Lawrence Lessig as the Statue of Liberty, the other Theft: Musical Borrowing from Plato to Hip-Hop, due to be published next year, portrays copyright holders as totalitarians.

In Theft, a Winston Smith is jailed and tortured by copyright holders for singing a song in the shower, while a Big Brother intones that "art requires total control". In another scene, Abraham Lincoln urges "Liberte, Egalite, Downloading!"

A teaser from James Boyle's comic Theft!

The second is Tom Loosemore. The former WiRed UK journalist and web designer recently tweeted approval of an Economist editorial arguing that infringement should be "minimally penalised" and calling for drastic reductions in the length of copyright terms. The editorial glossed over or ignored 19th Century developments such as moral rights and performance rights.

Both appointees take the view - popular among academics - that digital reproduction technologies have weakened the case for creator's rights, and that the public benefits from economic incentives being weakened. This is not a view shared by rights groups or many independent creators, who point out that enforcing a creator's internationally-recognised rights is now so time-consuming and expensive, few can afford to do it.

Boyle's Theft goes further, adopting the cybernetic view that there's no such thing as individual originality, from which it follows that individual creators need weaker protection. (Because they're not really creative, see? 'Tis an emergent property of the magical interwebs.)

Lessig as a Roman goddess. The
caption reads: "Give me your wired
re-mixing masses, yearning to be free"

The other three appointees are experts on patents and innovation, and much more business-friendly. Roger Burt is an IBM lawyer and European patent expert, and has represented UNICE - Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe - and the the Trade Marks Patents and Designs Federation TMPDF. Civil engineer David Gann from Imperial College's business school advises on innovation, while economics professor Mark Schankerman from the LSE has studied the economic benefits of IP licensing.

The six-month review will examine "barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders", the cost and complexity of enforcing IP rights, the cost and complexity of IP protection for small businesses, and the nebulous-sounding "interaction between IP and Competition frameworks". A few sops for everyone, in other words.

Some people will be undoubtedly be happier with the appointments than others. Any bets on how long Advisor Boyle survives? ®

Bootnote

It has become tradition for appointments to Government IP reviews to have some connection to the Financial Times newspaper. The connection here is Boyle, of course, an FT columnist.

Bound By Law is published under a politically-correct Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.