UK to relax copyright in bid to catch tapeworms

Prime Minister David Cameron will today announce plans to amend UK copyright laws in a bid to attract international high-tech firms to the country.

The Tory leader will reveal that the idea was inspired by advertising giant Google.

"The founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain," he will tell an audience of business leaders in east London today. "The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the Internet at any one time, and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States.

"Over there, they have what are called 'fair-use' provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services.

"So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP [intellectual property] laws, to see if we can make them fit for the Internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America."

Support for Google's model of 'innovation' won't win Cameron the hearts and minds of some in the business community.

Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson, incensed by the advertising giant's pillaging of content via its news aggregator, Google News, called the company "tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet".

Google's news aggregator was one of the primary motives behind WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch's decision to take his UK titles The Times and The Sunday Times behind a paywall - and prompted the development of a now-abandoned aggregator of his own.

Given recent Tory support for his proposed full buy-out of US satellite broadcaster BSkyB, Murdoch may just overlook Cameron's overtures towards the search-engine-turned-advertising-titan.

The PM's speech is also set to include a promise to turn London's East End into a "World-leading technology city to rival Silicon Valley", with the announcement that Google, Facebook and Intel will all be investing in the area.

Given the shoddy record of these big players on tax avoidance, we're not quite sure how that will benefit the British economy - let alone the people of Britain - either.