Google insists it couldn't have been British. Excuse me?
Some of my best friends are creators, says Hargreaves
Who gains and who loses?
"Politicians need to stand back rather than lean further forward," he said, perhaps wistfully.
He was asked in several ways whether he'd added up the economic gains and losses from such changes – and exactly who gains and loses. It's essential for Google to steer discussion well away from this, as job losses among the thousands of small businesses that depend on IP, and the tax receipts they bring into the Exchequer, are unlikely to be outweighed by any gains from Google or the Shoreditch startups which want such changes. Especially not tax receipts.
Hargreaves risked sounding sneery about "lone creators, heroic creators" – after being asked if he'd met any during the course of his meetings. "Some of my friends and some of my neighbours are such people," he said, sounding a little as if a family of noisy and smelly travellers had moved into his street. "I don't have trouble identifying with such people," he insisted. Yes, some of his best friends are creators. Really.
James Boyle's comic book Theft will be published next month. He is advising the IP review
Hargreaves concluded that he thought we were "only one-quarter of the way into the digital revolution", and repeated his view that creators weren't well served by the current copyright system, despite what they might think. When it comes to his conclusions next month, it isn't hard to guess who'll be happier with the outcome: the creative industries, or Google. Given the context in which it was born, the cynic would say there was never going to be any other outcome.
Oddly, trademarks and patents were not mentioned. ®