For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

From the margins to the mainstream?

Creative Britain -- New Talents for the New Economy is the title of the UK Government's latest action plan for the creative industries, unveiled last week through a press release jointly issued by three government departments. The action plan itself is 81 pages long, but it shouldn't take you very long to read: it's prettily garnished with deeply symbolic illustrations, white space, large print and lightweight aspirations that beg to be attached to some real-world detail: so far as the triumph of form over content is concerned, it's a genuine masterpiece -- a cross between a manifesto of popular sentiment and a PowerPoint presentation.

Right: the action plan may be seen as utopian in its idealism ...

The press release heralds "26 key commitments for Government and industry across every stage of the creative process" and the plan seeks to hit, in no particular order, the following targets:

* the establishment of 5,000 apprenticeships to help people from all backgrounds make the most of their creative skills;

* an independent review to investigate the path to "next generation broadband";

* a World Creative Business Conference, this being an annual event bringing together world leaders in the creative and financial sectors;

* the taking of steps to protect intellectual property, including a commitment to take action on illegal file sharing by 2009, if industry fails to reach a voluntary solution.

* the first ever comprehensive plan for Government support for the creative industries is published today, marking their shift from the margins to the mainstream of economic and policy thinking.
The starting point of the comprehensive strategy is "unlocking creative talent, helping it flourish and turning it into jobs" [the IPKat is glad that this aim is quite unrelated to the dumbing down of educational syllabuses and the simplification of school examinations to the extent that it's becoming difficult for prospective employers to trawl the pool of highly-qualified, talented applicants in order to ascertain which ones can read and write]. Further along, the action plan adds:

“The Government is committed to safeguarding the intellectual property rights of those who make a living from their creativity, ensuring the long-term economic viability of our creative enterprises [the IPKat says, this looks like a coded commitment to extend copyright in sound recordings and performances, doesn't it?].

A comprehensive package of measures to support business has also been developed following extensive consultation with the industries. Their priorities included greater protection for intellectual property, and help for creative businesses to access finance and grow".

Left: ... but it will be hell to implement!

Business and Competitiveness Minister Shriti Vadera said:

"The way we will do business, access many government services, as well as information and entertainment will change beyond recognition over our lifetime and these new technologies will push the boundaries of today’s communications infrastructure.

We must be ready to respond to future technological developments which will place unprecedented challenges for our communications networks over the coming decade.
That is why we need to look ahead into the future now. We need to prepare the way for the UK to adopt groundbreaking new technologies to ensure that we do not get left behind – competitively or technologically".
The IPKat seems to recall much the same message from Prime Minister Harold Wilson at the Labour Party's Annual Conference in 1963. Only the audience, the technologies and the speaker have changed ...

Other IP-specific proposals are summarised in the action plan under Commitment 16:

"UK-IPO will put into action a plan on IP enforcement

5.10 The UK-Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) will deliver improvements within the current enforcement arrangements. It will:

• Explore options for voluntary enforcement funds.We recognise there is already a great deal of effective partnership working between enforcement agencies and industry. We want to build on this and would welcome proposals from the creative industries for new industry-funded initiatives to help tackle physical and online IP theft. Such funding could be targeted on the establishment of mobile specialised enforcement teams to crack down on illegal activity.

• Pilot a ‘Fake Free London’ campaign on IP enforcement. Building on the work of the UK Film Council and other rights holders, Fake Free London will bring the rights holders, creative industries, the Government and enforcement agencies together to maximise resources to make London free from counterfeit goods in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. UK-IPO will pilot a project across key authorities, including all five Olympic boroughs. Findings from the pilot in late spring 2008 could provide a model for a much wider roll-out across London and in other cities.

• Establish and fund a National Centre of Excellence to deliver expert police resource focused on tackling IP Crime and to help provide a national perspective to the work going on at a local level.

• Work with Trading Standards Officers and local authorities to make best use of the Proceeds of Crime Act – which is generating around £500,000 per month in IP crime-related assets.

• Work with the Association of Chief Police Officers to provide extra focus on enforcement activity and encourage further action.

• Establish a Ministerial and industry forum to bring together rights-holders, consumer groups, the Government and technology companies to discuss new ideas, issues and solutions to the challenges and opportunities afforded by new technology".

Right: the campaign for Fake Free London hots up, as police swoop on juvenile p2p suspects.

At this point, the IPKat throws the discussion open to his readers. He's sure they'll have something to add. Anyway, he's anxious that his habitual scepticism might lead him to miss the undoubted merit that several elements of the plan possess. Merpel says, I love the idea of a Fake Free London -- but will it produce a Congestion Charge Effect, concentrating infringements in the zone immediately outside the fake-free bit?

4 comments:

John H said...

"Fake-Free London".

Hmm.

Do they actually mean "fake" (as in "imitating official merchandise in a manner that deceives the public"), or do they just mean "unlicensed"?

Sounds like a way to propagandise the public into accepting the massive enforcement operation that will be taking place against any company foolish enough to make any allusion to the Olympics without permission in 2012. It's all about tackling "fakes", y'see.

Can't wait for the first ads to start appearing telling us how unofficial Olympic merchandise is used to fund terrorism and organised crime.

David said...

I prefer the real free London, as opposed to the fake one.

Anonymous said...

Free London from what? And why have a fake campaign to "Free London"? That sounds daft!

Anonymous said...

And another thing. Surely the "Proceeds of Crime Act – which is generating around £500,000 per month in IP crime-related assets" is a failure if it's actually generating assets rather than preventing their generation?

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