Digital Top Stories

Cable pledges publicity campaign to tackle piracy

By | Published on Tuesday 18 December 2012


Vince Cable yesterday said that the UK government would run a consumer-facing publicity campaign in the spring to promote copyright and discourage consumers from consuming unlicensed content and counterfeit goods. The Business Minister was talking up intellectual property at an event in London.

The campaign is being instigated in response to the much previously reported Hargreaves Review of IP laws in the UK. The government is also considering recommendations made by Ian Hargreaves to boost so called fair dealing exemptions in the British copyright system, expanding the scenarios in which people can legitimately use copyright material without licence.

Many in the music industry are expected to oppose those changes, though Cable’s commitment to fund an anti-piracy publicity campaign got a better reception. The Business Secretary also announced plans to launch a specific IP Crime unit within the City Of London Police, providing a more formal structure for those members of the City force that already specialise in investigating copyright crimes.

According to The Guardian, Cable said yesterday: “Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation, is a key pillar of our return to robust growth. So it is right we work to create the environment in which creative, innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish. A vital part of this is making sure the intellectual property landscape encourages and cements success and growth. The new vision for how we support businesses and consumers is central to achieving this”.

The specific proposals set out in Cable’s speech yesterday were welcomed by cross-industry trade body UK Music, whose CEO Jo Dipple told CMU: “Something we do in this country better than anyone else is produce raw creative talent. Creative talent is what defines our cultural heritage. Underpinning it is our intellectual property and this must be respected by government and consumer alike. I particularly welcome the Secretary Of State’s announcement that a new national consumer campaign will be launched in the spring to help raise awareness about counterfeiting and piracy, and ensure that the rights of creators and innovators are better enforced”.

Record industry trade body the BPI likewise welcomed Cable’s announcement, though stressed that the government should be willing to spend appropriately to get the copyright message out there. BPI boss Geoff Taylor: “BPI has argued for some time that the Intellectual Property Office should take on a more active role in educating young people about how IP affects them in the digital world. We are very pleased to hear government’s announcement today of a new campaign. We hope that it will be supported by significant funding, so that it can make a real difference in boosting the use of legal music services online”.