Cameron urged to rethink outdated copyright laws

An open letter has been sent to David Cameron and a number of his cronies urging them to urgently rethink a number of perilously outdated UK copyright laws.

Penned by a group of tech industry organisations purporting to 'represent the future of Britain’s digital economy' - including the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Caodec), the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA), and the British Computer Society (BCS) - the letter tasks the government with turning its rhetoric into action.

The ConDem coalition has been banging on about how the UK's economic recovery will be driven by technology since it weaselled its way into power last year but continues to support industries which use anachronistic laws to hobble innovation for their own financial gain.

For example, the UK is one of the last countries left on the planet in which it is technically illegal to copy CDs you legally own onto a media player, like an iPod.

The united organisations are asking the Government to immediately implement recommendations of the Independent Review of IP and Growth, chaired by Professor Ian Hargreaves, for changes to Britain’s copyright law framework.

Hargreaves said in his report: "Laws designed more than three centuries ago with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators’ rights are today obstructing innovation and economic growth."

The open letter, the full text of which we have included below, calls for new laws which would legitimise format shifting, relax copyright laws for the purposes of parody, non-commercial research and library archiving and enable licensing of 'orphan' works which have no immediately apparent owner.

It also says that the Intellectual Property Office should be given enough teeth to make decisions over copyright law and simplify the way IP disputes are dealt with.

Echoing the sentiments of Ericsson exec Rene Summer, who recently attacked both Big Media and the European Union over the way digital works are stifled by copyright holders, the group is urging European law-makers to simplify the horrifyingly complex framework of cross-border IP legislation.

To:The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime MinisterThe Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime MinisterThe Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the ExchequerThe Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Industry and Skills and President of the Board of TradeThe Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and SportBaroness Wilcox, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Business, Industry and Skills