Reviewing intellectual property, UK Government-style

White rose

Back in November, David Cameron announced that the Government was going to take a closer look at intellectual property. There were probably plenty of people who groaned ‘Not again?’ but if they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it. So as people who make images – and very importantly people who might use those images to make money – we really ought to stand up and make our voices heard.

The review is being led by Professor Ian Hargreaves. He’s Professor of Digital Economy at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cardiff Business School. (Swanky title, no?) Making a decision needs to be based on evidence, and he’s looking for that evidence from people who make use of and benefit from the intellectual property system, and in particular small- and medium-sized businesses.

If you run a small photography business, or any other type of creative business for that matter, that means you.

In true Government consultation-stylee (and believe me, in another life I organised enough of them to know) there’s the web-based thinking bit and the in-person talking bit. The web-based thinking bit provides you with some questions to help marshal your thoughts that you can then send to the review committee, whilst the chit-chat sessions will be taking place in the New Year.

There are quite a few questions, but you don’t have to answer all of them. The key areas are:

  • Supporting new business models – As technology and society changes so do ways of doing business. Does the IP system help or hinder businesses as they seek to adapt to the digital age?
  • Breaking down barriers – New entrants often find it difficult to break into established markets, which can inhibit growth. Does IP form part of the barrier to new entrants? What barriers prevent the effective exploitation of IP rights in creating growth?

Take a closer look here.

The review is due to be published in April 2011. I’ll report back on what it finds.