Who's Lobbying Blog

May 20, 2011 at 4:04pm


Copyright law should be based on evidence, not lobbying - PM commissioned report says

A new review of UK copyright and patent law, commissioned by the Prime Minister, urges “Government to ensure that in future, policy on Intellectual Property issues is constructed on the basis of evidence, rather than weight of lobbying”.

In the independent report titled “Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth”, author Professor Ian Hargreaves states on “copyright issues, lobbying on behalf of rights owners has been more persuasive to Ministers than economic impact assessments.”

Ministerial meeting data reported by departments and compiled by Who’s Lobbying, confirms that ministers have been lobbied heavily by rights holders. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, most often met in 2010 with:

Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth - An Independent Report by Professor Ian Hargreaves.

Baroness Wilcox, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills responsible for intellectual property, most often met in 2010 with:

The review makes ten recommendations for strategic change in policy in order to ensure that the UK has an approach to copyright and patent law best suited to supporting innovation and promoting economic growth in the digital age.

The report identifies that “relevant institutions of Government lack access to the data upon which corporate lobbying and other positions are constructed”.

The report says it’s “important to note the need for any machinery in this area of policy and public administration to be robust. This matters because there are strong and divergent interests in play and with some of the most skilful and influential lobbyists on the UK political scene”.

It goes on to say that there is “no doubt” that “UK creative companies have distorted policy outcomes”.

To combat this problem, it endorses “an institutional environment which encourages the relevant public authorities to build, present and act upon the evidence”.

One recommendation is for changes to ensure independent economic data is used as evidence to inform policy making and judicial judgements, including giving the Intellectual Property Office a legal mandate to pursue economic objectives, powers to access data, and authority to issue statutory opinions that courts would be obliged to take into account.