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British Lawmaker Publishes Detailed Report on Copyright Education

Mike Weatherley, the British Prime Minister's adviser on intellectual property, has published a comprehensive report on promoting copyright education and awareness.

Mike Weatherley, the British Prime Minister’s adviser on intellectual property, has published a comprehensive report on promoting copyright education and awareness.

Entitled “Copyright Education and Awareness,” the 29-page paper outlines eight recommendations that Weatherley advises “be adopted jointly by the Government, the IP dependent industries and other stake holders.”

The chief proposal is for “increased coordination and accountability” between all interested parties. “A more strategic partnership would achieve greater cohesion, clarity and coordination, while allowing for the sharing of best practice,” states Weatherley, who recommends that the U.K. government, via the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Creative Industries Council, should “convene a cross-industry working group” to consult on its strategic vision by the end of Q1 2015, meeting quarterly thereafter.


Other key recommendations in the report include:   

* Improving measurement mechanisms – a process that Weatherley says requires the British Government, U.K. media regulator Ofcom, the creative industries and academia to work together and jointly deliver a “comprehensive research programme to accurately and regularly access current IP perceptions and behaviours.”

* Developing and delivering improved knowledge of intellectual property within the British education system.


* That the BBC creates “a copyright education program using online, on-air and face-to-face channels” to be outlined by spring next year.

* Making useful copyright information more accessible, including increased synergy between copyright resources such as the Copyright Hub and the Copyright User portal. “Online platforms, which serve creators, businesses and the public with copyright information, need to be suitably useful, objective appropriately linked to one another and regularly updated,” states Weatherley.

* Making the best use of technology, including the creation of a dedicated fund that will incentive digital business to create “interactive, entertaining and engaging” tools and resources to educate about IP rights.

* The appointment of a dedicated IP Education Coordinator role or IP Director General role “championing the importance of IP to our economy” within British government. “The U.K. could learn from the efforts of the U.S. Copyright Alliance, which has a remit dedicated to copyright awareness and education” and “has proved very effective in bringing together all the stakeholders across different industries,” the report states.

* Beginning in 2015, the introduction of an “Annual Copyright Education Evaluation Report” that “sets out the awareness initiatives being undertaken and how effective these are against agreed expectations.”  

“Tackling IP related infringement is a complex and multi-layered challenge. There is not one answer,” states Weatherley in the report.  “Despite the efforts of rights holders and their representatives, there remains too little understanding and awareness (or respect) of IP especially among younger consumers. Education is essential in addressing these knowledge gaps, and in turn in establishing the benefits and importance of IP to creators, consumers and our economy as a whole,” he went on to say.

The report was welcomed by representatives of the U.K. music industry, with Geoff Taylor, chief executive of labels trade body BPI, commenting: “Mike Weatherley’s comprehensive report is an important first step in bringing a range of IP-dependent sectors together to build on our individual efforts in the world of consumer education and sets a strong foundation for the development of the recently-announced [government-funded public education campaign] Creative Content U.K.”

Taylor continued: “There is a deep love of music in this country, but we need to do more to shine a light on the realities of the business, and in particular the role of copyright in creating jobs and value from music and other forms of creativity. It’s time for a coordinated effort to educate the public about IP to help boost our creative economy.”