IP and media regulation will be examined in digital review

Copyright laws and the way that media and telecoms services are regulated could be due for change under a review the Government will conduct into the UK's digital economy. Ex-chief executive of Ofcom Stephen Carter will conduct the review.

The review will result in an plan whose aim will be to improve levels of investment in and the quality of the digital media and communications industry in the UK, the Government said. Carter was recently made Lord Carter and made Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting.

Copyright laws and media and telecoms regulation will form part of the review, the Government said.

"The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) will take forward work to deliver a digital copyright framework which supports creativity, investment and job creation in these important sectors," said a Government statement.

The statement also said that the review would try to ensure that there was a "responsive regulatory framework that maximises investment and innovation by providing certainty and equipping regulators with the right tools to achieve their objectives".

The report, called the Digital Britain report, will recommend the passing of new laws to deal with the issues it identifies as well as proposing non-legislative solutions to the problems it uncovers.

It will also try to identify ways in which more people can be persuaded to use broadband internet connections, and look for ways in which more people can be encouraged to use IT and digital media technologies.

The review will also examine how public service broadcasting should be organised, examining the way that public service licences work.

When chief executive at Ofcom, Carter advocated the setting up of a public service publisher. It was to be a body which would take some of the licence fee which currently goes only to the BBC to fund public service programmes on any station. It has not been backed by Government.

"Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries," said Carter. "We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK's competitive advantage and the benefits to society."

"Over the last year we've worked with experts to get a clear understanding of the issues to address and obstacles to overcome if our businesses and citizens are to take full advantage of technology," said Culture Minister Andy Burnham. "Now is the time to move from the think tank phase to the delivery phase and focus on the actions needed to bring benefits for both the economy and an enriched society."

Carter has been asked to provide an update on progress in January and the report is due to be published in spring 2009.