UK Government issues proposals on digital rights agency

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UK Government issues proposals on digital rights agency

The UK government has invited views on the role of a "digital rights agency" in protecting and promoting the legal use of copyrighted content online.

Content creators, commercial rights-holders and consumer groups are all being asked to respond to a discussion paper exploring how a new organisation could combat unlawful file-sharing and piracy.

Minister of state for intellectual property David Lammy, said the agency was essential.

"We can't have a system where even net-surfing 12 year olds have to understand copyright to keep themselves and their parents safe within the law," he said.

"The real prize here is a rights agency that sorts out the complexities that keep consumers on the right side of the law, and ensure artists get properly paid."

The Intellectual Property Office has alo published a discussion paper with proposals on:

  • how to educate and change consumer behaviour towards copyright material;
  • how to support industry efforts in developing new and attractive legal ways for consumers to access content;
  • how to support legislation to address consumer activity that breaches civil copyright law and how to tackle persistent infringement;
  • how to enable technical copyright-support solutions that work for both consumers and content creators;
  • how such an agency can be funded.
The concept of a digital rights agency was initially recommended in the Digital Britain interim report, published at the end of January.

Minister for technology, communications and broadcasting, Stephen Carter said an agency was vital to policing copyright infringement to protect the UK's intellectual property, but that current proposals could very easily change.

"Today we have published proposals in the form of a 'straw man' on digital rights," he said.

"That straw man could be torched, tolerated or a touchstone for the start point of constructive debate and design. I for one hope it is the latter."
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