U.K. Minister Calls for Intellectual Property Framework 'Fit for Purpose in the Digital Age'

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The U.K.'s dedicated IP minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe has used the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day (April 26) to call for an IP framework "fit for purpose in the digital age." 

"The process of digitization has transformed the world around us at a furious pace. It has revolutionized the way we work; the way we interact; and the way we shop," said Neville-Rolfe in a blog post referencing the "symbiotic relationship between digital and IP." 

"The creative sector must be able to protect and benefit from intellectual property," she went on to say, adding that if the U.K. wants to secure its future as a "nation of innovators, we need to make sure our IP framework is fit for purpose." 

To that end, the U.K. is playing a "vital role in shaping the European Digital Single Market," said the IP minister, highlighting the British government's role in building "mutual trust for IP rights in both developed and emerging economies. "This work is of the utmost importance given the truly global nature of the digitization phenomenon," she concluded. 

U.K. Collection Society PPL Had a 'Very Good' 2015

This year's World Intellectual Property day has the theme of "Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined" with World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) director general Francis Gurry hailing the event as a chance to celebrate "digital creativity across the world" while also recognizing "the importance of creators and innovators to all the progress that we see, culturally and technologically, as a consequence of digital technology."

To promote that discussion, today saw IP seminars and workshops takes place across the world, with WIPO's New York coordination office holding one of a number of events in the North America. Washington's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and West Virginia University were among the list of institutions also holding IP awareness discussions, as did numerous academic, business and government organizations in South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile, British music licensing company PPL used the occasion to publish the results of a survey, which revealed that 47 percent of the U.K. public admitted to not understanding what IP actually is and the role that it plays in the music industry. Furthermore, almost a quarter (23 percent) of the British public did not know that a license was required to play music to staff and customers in public spaces, including shops, restaurants and offices.

"Without the legal acknowledgement of my IP, I would not be paid fairly for my musical creations and would not be able to continue to make music for people to enjoy," stated Mercury Prize-nominated U.K. artist Eska, pledging her support to World IP day. "Many people can be short-sighted and only see the megastars and high-profile legal battles, but IP rights exist to protect us all," she went on to say, adding that the U.K. is "home to many wonderful intangible inventions whether its technology, art, or music. We are a bunch of highly intellectual and creative people and without IP laws in place, no one would know it."