Feeds

Biz MPs gung-ho for 'Google Review'

Happy for bureaucrats to gain new powers – over your stuff

Top three mobile application threats

The Parliamentary committee which monitors the Business Department has warmly backed No 10's copyright revolution, and urged the Hargreaves' Independent Review of IP and Growth – aka the Google Review – to speed ahead.

MPs recommend going further than many copyright radicals, supporting greatly expanded powers for the Intellectual Property Office (formerly the Patent Office) to take entire classes of work out of the the commercial market system and into its own control – via the Copyright Tribunal. This is something the IPO itself rather optimistically appended to the Google Review, but retreated from rapidly. MPs have suggested the bureaucrats gain the power to grant and withdraw licences.

The committee made little attempt to appear even-handed, dismissing every single objection raised by Britain's £8bn IP industries. The 63-page document has 33 occurrences of the word 'however' – invariably responses to a point made by rights-holders – and six mentions of the word 'Killock' but only four of the word 'photographers'.

When the committee heard evidence last year, the Open Rights Group's Jim Killock claimed that Netflix had decided against launching in the UK because of our outdated copyright laws. This raised eyebrows, for just 10 days earlier, Netflix had hosted an expansive event for press and analysts explaining exactly how it was launching in the UK. Jim hadn't gotten the memo, and the MPs got Jim.

Representations from copyright groups and technology groups are naturally self-interested. Legislators and policy-makers have a difficult job balancing these competing claims. They can therefore be expected to look at the economic evidence, of what's good for the UK's economic growth and future cultural output.

But here, MPs take a punt. Economic growth gets scant coverage in the BiS report. Which is odd, since the entire justification behind the Google Review was that on balance, UK plc would benefit, rather just Google.

"You don't kiss goodbye to a highly successful, employment sustaining content sector on the off chance that one of these tiddlers, living like parasites on the pig's belly of supposedly free content, might one day become the next Google," the Telegraph's Jeremy Warner wrote last year. "By beefing up copyright, Britain could cement its position as a haven for content and thereby provide a beacon for international investors."

Months before No 10 sparked the Google Review in 2010, IPO civil servants had concluded, as part of the 'Taking Gowers Forward' process, that there was little economic case for new copyright exemptions. Then No 10 set Hargreaves to work.

When the economic case for Hargreaves' conclusions was finally published by civil servants last August, the earlier arguments were forgotten. However the new "evidence" actually supported the status quo – and many of the IPO's claims were so fantastic or innumerate, they didn't stand up. The Select Committee's apparent reluctance to identify any of this is striking. This is a serious failure of Parliamentary scrutiny. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.