Hi Bronac, I'm looking forward to reading your response to the Hargreaves Review. In the meantime, at the risk of opening up a UK-centric debate, there are a couple of things I cannot resist commenting on immediately.
Hargreaves asks if it might be: "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 is: yes."
It is interesting that, as observed on the JISC Digital Media blog, that the 10 recommendations made by the Hargreaves report have the aim of clarifying the current bewildering intellectual property environment to the benefit of innovation and growth in the UK economy.
This concern for innovation and growth can be seen to be expressed elsewhere. The Arts Council England website includes in its section on ‘Mission, Vision and Goals’ the statement that amongst the outcomes it seeks from its work is “innovation” with “artists and organisations having the freedom, and being challenged, to innovate” and goes on to say that the strategic framework “will help create the conditions in which great art can be made, experienced and appreciated by as many people as possible. It will support us in realising our vision of England as a world-leading creative and cultural nation. It will enable us to achieve even more impact from our investment.” <http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/about-us/a-strategic-framework-for-the-arts/mission-vision-goals/>.
I move move directly on. As mentioned by Bronac, the Hargreaves report acknowledges the need for better copyright education in the UK. As the JISC Digital Media blog observes “understanding your rights as both a creator and a user is vital in the attempt to modernise legislation and create an open but also a protective landscape for our digital media”.
The need for education on the current copyright regime, let alone the possibilities for reform, are particularly well exemplified by a question I saw posted in another list earlier this year by an art historian. The person concerned had taken a photograph of a work displayed in public. The art historian asked whether the copyright in the photo belonged to the person who took the photograph or the creator of the artwork.
JISC Digital Media blog observes “Promoting awareness and good practice of IPR within institutions sets an example to students before they enter employment (where infringement of copyright in the commercial sector could result in criminal charges)”
Once again, moving on, I ask:
What implications might the reform of copyright in the name (only) of innovation and economic growth have? Is the an approach one which reflects an understanding of arts and culture in instrumental terms? Does this approach to the reform of copyright itself reflect an outdated conception of the significance of copyright for any given society?
Should the perceived value of education on copyright simply be understood in terms of knowledge about an existing legal framework? In the context of the ubiquity of online digital technologies should we be giving consideration to the value of encouraging a widespread and socially informed critical examination of the extent and nature of the protection offered by intellectual property rights?