Your chance to re-make the UK's IP laws in the image of a startup

Next Story

The Power of Velveeta: Shopkick Announces 3 Million Product Scans

Back in November last year the UK’s Prime Minister said he was announcing a number of initiatives aimed at technology companies. Since then there have been a few periphery announcements from the various large tech companies (Google, Facebook et al) about what they would do to help. But one thing that was on the agenda was a review of the Intellectual Property rules. PM David Cameron confirmed a six month review into IP law that he hopes will help attract technology companies to the UK.

The US position on IP leans towards a ‘fair use’ environment, whereby IP can be used to a certain level without owner consent. This is very close the to Creative Commons licenses which aided the growth of startups like Flickr. In the UK copyrighted material is more highly restricted in use. Generally in Europe we rely too much on copyright and not enough on innovation. Witness Nokia’s suing of Apple for instance.

So in this new IP review web business models, costs and complications surrounding the enforcement of IP law ad the costs to startups for accessing services to protect their IP are all up for discussion.

And incredibly the government is putting its money where its mouth is. It’s appointed a panel of IP experts, chaired by Professor Ian Hargreaves, to review the IP system – including copyright, trademark, patent and design rights, along with more informal types of IP – and its effect on innovation.

They’re in the process of meeting with a wide range of people and on Tuesday, 15 February, they’re organising a meeting in London.

The thing is though, you can’t come to the meeting unless you submit your views first and get invited. In order to get a balanced mix of perspectives, they’re asking potential participants – entrepreneurs and startups – to fill out an application by Wednesday, 9 February (all information will be kept confidential). That’s tomorrow. The event is being organised with Coadec, the Coalition for a Digital Economy.

However, I’m worried. You know why? I’m worried because I know what Brits are like.

Here is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to talk with the government’s IP review panel about the effects of IP rights on their startups.

I’m worried too many people will say: I’ll let someone else do it.

Well, here’s the news: you’ll get the laws you asked for. And if tech entrepreneurs don’t step up to the plate and apply to speak to this panel then frankly they will get what they deserve in the resulting law-making process.

So let’s do this. Let’s feed into this process so we don’t get IP laws that stop us from creating great companies.

Go here.now.

  • http://jetlib.com/news/2011/02/08/calling-uk-startups-your-chance-to-re-make-the-uk%e2%80%99s-ip-laws/ Calling UK Startups: Your Chance To Re-make The UK’s IP Laws | JetLib News

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • http://www.digitalundivide.com/music---listen-to-select-songs donfelipe

    There are too many restrictions in the U.K. Britons are constantly walking on thin ice. There is a law to cut off your internet service if they considered that you have infringed on someone copyrighted content. You can’t even stream a U.K. radio station from outside the U.K. The U.K. is risky business.

  • http://topsy.com/eu.techcrunch.com/2011/02/08/your-chance-to-re-make-the-uks-ip-laws-in-the-image-of-a-startup/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TechCrunch, Mike Butcher, LolCrunch, Steve Moss, Chris Disdale and others. Chris Disdale said: @HermanMK – Calling UK Startups: Your Chance To Re-make The UK's IP Laws http://tcrn.ch/ibE3lE […]

  • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

    I’m onto it! Thanks for the heads up Mike!

  • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

    I’m onto it! Thanks for the heads up Mike!

  • http://interesting.rk.net.nz/?p=20674 Calling UK Startups: Your Chance To Re-make The UK’s IP Laws « Interesting Tech

    […] Read more here Posted in Uncategorized , interesting, science, tech | No Comments » […]

  • Jackson

    The problem you’re going to run into is that having to “apply for approval” to attend will reduce attendance significantly. I’d be curious to see the conversion pipeline for viewed ads -> clicked through -> completed survey. People get funny when it comes to risk of rejection.

    I’m assuming the reason this is being advertised on TC at this late stage is because not enough people have signed up. So for people who want to attend I wouldn’t be too concerned about not making it through the selection process – as long as you put down something sensible I’m sure you’ll get approved. Alternatively I imagine most entrepreneurial individuals can probably manage to turn up on the evening and wangle their way in…

    I’d echo Mike’s point that modernizing IP laws is vital to innovation. We no longer live in the same era when these laws were originally created, and there is a desperate need (worldwide) to cope with the realities of technology and revisit IP from a first principles basis.

    • Jeff Lynn (Coadec)

      Hi Jackson — the point of the application process is simply to ensure that there’s a good range of startups talking with the panel about their experiences. It’s not meant to be exclusive or elite, but it won’t be a helpful session if 50 cloud music storage businesses show up and no one else :) The responses have been great so far, and we encourage anyone else who wants to share their viewpoint to fill out the very short form.

      • Jackson

        Hey Jeff,

        Yep understand completely the rationale behind trying to ensure a good sample, and I think it sounds like a useful event. My concern was just the “we’ll review all the submissions and will be in touch by Thursday, 10 February to let you know whether we’d like you to attend” will put some people off. Good to hear you’ve already had a great selection of responses.

      • http://www.digitalle.com digitalle

        Hi Jeff, met Mike Butcher last night at TechPitch 4.5. He suggested I contact Coadec in order to get an invite to the event next week, however could not see any contact details on the site. Perhaps you could tweet me @digitallecom ?

  • http://alltopstartups.com Thomas Oppong

    UK needs to ease up and allow its tech entrpreneurs to flourish and catch up with Silicon Valley. You can’t even stream a U.K. radio station from outside the U.K. !!!!. Its now or never. The time for change is now.

  • http://c4sif.org/2011/02/reform-of-uk-ip-law-not-likely/ Reform of UK IP Law? Not Likely

    […] to a recent TechCrunch post, Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup: Back in November last year the UK’s Prime Minister said he was announcing a number of […]

  • http://twitter.com/Torninator Torn

    Test

  • http://twitter.com/fbrennen Forrest Brennen

    It seems like you’re coming very close to conflating copyrights and patents in this article (e.g. “…we rely too much on copyright…” followed by link to Nokia suing Apple over its standards-based patents). Both fall under the banner of IP, and both are in need of reform in the UK, but it doesn’t help the process to suggest that they’re the same thing.

    Good luck getting people on board; I hope you get a few more voices into the panel.

  • http://www.webhostchat.co.uk/general-chit-chat-discussion/21593-entrepreneurs-wanted-help-shape-uks-ip-laws.html#post204665 Entrepreneurs wanted to help shape UK's IP Laws

    […] Saw this on TechCrunch earlier today and thought that it may be of interest to some of you. Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup Reply With Quote Share with Facebook + Reply to Thread […]

  • http://gondwanaland.com/mlog mlinksva

    The US position on IP leans towards a ‘fair use’ environment, whereby IP can be used to a certain level without owner consent. This is very close the to Creative Commons licenses which aided the growth of startups like Flickr.

    The US leans toward greater exceptions & limitations only relative to some other jurisdictions — fair use and other exceptions & limitations (‘fair dealing’ is a related but more narrow concept in Commonwealth jurisdictions) have been under attack for a long time. The UK and others should seek to be more liberal than the US.

    Fair use and other exceptions & limitations are very different from Creative Commons in one sense — the former do not require copyright holder content, the latter are based completely on copyright holder consent — a fairly liberal amount of it, given up front. The similarity I imagine being pointed out is that both reduce friction and uncertainty due to needing to seek out copyright holder consent — to repeat, one because it is not needed, another because it has already been given.

    Few other items of related interest:

    * CC licenses don’t trample on fair use or other exceptions & limitations — if copyright holder permission is not required, it doesn’t matter whether permission has been granted or not via a CC license.

    * One place CC licensing and government policy can intersect is with respect to materials created or funded by government — policy can stipulate that such materials start with more freedom than default copyright allows by mandating their release under a CC license (or better yet, into the public domain). This sort of policy is being implemented increasingly around the world, but starting from almost zero — there’s a long way to go.

    * James Boyle, one of the members of the UK IP review panel, is a founder of Creative Commons.

  • http://www.digitalle.com digitalle

    @Mike – thanks for bringing this to the TC audience, even at this late date – it’s a shame the Government is not as good at distributing / promoting this sort of event!

    As CEO of a UK based start-up I have applied to attend as it is an area that is extremely important to us whilst we are developing our service – it does provide a layer of comfort.

    However this is a pretty wide subject, and of course there are significant differences between say, patent and copyright law. We have been lucky enough to be introduced to a superb firm called Coller IP who are helping us with our patent application and commercial exploitation activities, and whilst it is not a “cheap” option, those who moan about how expensive it is are rather missing the point.

    If you develop a product or service and do not protect it properly, then don’t start crying when someone comes along and “borrows” your idea – these laws and processes are there for a reason, and if your are serious about your proposition then you will find a way to access the required help. I do agree that trying to get the right help is very hard, and the government could probably do more to assist in this respect.

    Whether the UK necessarily needs to relax certain areas of patent / copyright law is a thorny issue and it will be interesting to see how this develops – the most important aspect though, for companies such as ours, is that we are protected. The argument that patent law somehow stymies entrepreneurship is wide of the mark, as the US has shown what happens when you have a less well regulated system.

    Rupert Hurley, CEO, digitalle Limited

  • http://www.digitalle.com digitalle

    @Mike – great post would love to attend and thanks for bringing it to the attention of TC audience via twitter – it’s a shame the UK government is not as good at publicising such events.

    As the CEO of a UK based start-up I totally appreciate the importance of trying to protect your IP. Those who complain about how expensive it is are really rather missing the point, as it is a lot more expensive to shut the door after the horse has bolted, or someone has “borrowed” your idea.

    We were lucky enough to be introduced to a superb firm called Coller IP who are helping us with our patent and commercial exploitation activities and while it is not a “cheap” option, if you are serious about your proposition you will find a way to access the services you need.

    Obviously there are big differences between say copyright and patent law, so it is a thorny issue to suggest that they can simply be relaxed as they do provide an extremely valuable service to distinctly different sectors / businesses.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops, but I agree that one area that could be supported is in helping companies to find the right information and suppliers – anyone who has used “Business Link” in the UK will be only too aware that they are a total waste of time.

    Rupert Hurley, CEO, digitalle Limited

    BTW – discus just wiped a rather lengthy post which I simply wanted to edit….which is really poor!! (Chrome)

    • http://twitter.com/mikebutcher Mike Butcher

      Great contribution, thanks.

      • http://www.digitalle.com digitalle

        No problem – good to see some “meaty” content going on here as opposed to PR hum! It’s an interesting area that is pretty central to our business, so would be great to get an invite!!

  • http://marketpilgrim.com/2011/02/09/292011-news-update/ 2/9/2011 News Update « MarketPilgrim

    […] 2/9/2011 News Update Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup – TechCrunch […]

  • http://www.networkflag.com Sam

    IP should be cheap to get, have limited time length (just look at US copyright laws being extended by media companies) and not overly restrictive (DMCA is a great example, UK libel law being the opposite)

    • ElGatoTuerto

      DMCA a great example of what? Say you buy a DVD, you want to make a copy for backup purposes in case something goes wrong but it’s copy protected. You have to circumvent the protection. That’s illegal according to DMCA. But you have the right to make such a copy. That’s a fact. Just one example of DMCA nonsense.

      The best solution is to create copyright from scratch based on the technology realities of 2011. Anything else is an attempt to squash competition, creativity and the real free market (copyright is a government-granted monopoly. Key word – monopoly).

      Copyright is stealing. Where’s is MY Mickey Mouse? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? They stole it from us. They, the big maffia IP cartel in the US. The one who dictates the rules and everybody else follows like a poodle. Specially the UK, but not limited to. The one who buys the politicians and change the laws so they can keep Mickey Mouse. Although I don’t give a rat’s ass about Mickey, it’s the perfect example on how they operate. The examples are endless.

  • http://marketpilgrim.com/2011/02/10/2102011-news-update/ 2/10/2011 News Update « MarketPilgrim

    […] Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup – TechCrunch […]

  • http://marketpilgrim.com/2011/02/14/2142011-news-update/ 2/14/2011 News Update « MarketPilgrim

    […] Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup – TechCrunch […]

  • http://marketpilgrim.com/2011/02/15/2152011-news-update/ 2/15/2011 News Update « MarketPilgrim

    […] Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup – TechCrunch […]

  • http://willzuckermann.wordpress.com Willzuckermann

    Rich to talk about what brits are like in a nation where Research in Motion was successfully sued for NTP (a tort vulture) for some $450Million.

blog comments powered by Disqus