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Changing copyright laws could "stifle" literature, report finds

Changing copyright laws in the UK could strike a blow to investment in literature, a report has found.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has produced the document for the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), which reveals that out of £4.3billion invested in new content in the UK, £1.6 billion was pumped into arts and literature alone. The statistics cover the year 2007.

The research also found that around 770,000 "original content creators"—from authors and artists to software developers—would be affected by any changes made to the UK copyright system.

Therefore changing intellectual property regulations to "benefit" companies such as Google, which reproduces content "at the expense of people who create content", such as authors, would stifle economic growth and innovation, the CLA has said.

"It's a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul and it's a very risky experiment with a creative sector which is worth around 8% of our GDP—roughly the same size as the financial services sector," Kevin Fitzgerald of the CLA said.

"PwC's report provides evidence that the present copyright system does drive innovation in the UK. In fact, with piracy being one of the biggest threats, we should focus energy on enforcement of the existing laws rather than introducing new ones."

The findings have also prompted author and publisher Toby Faber to speak out in defence of the current copyright system in the UK, and against companies which want to simply reproduce content.

He said: "Copyright is the lifeblood of our creative industries, which are vital to the British economy. We need to encourage people to create and innovate, and to reward them when they do, rather than enable anyone - from pirates to content aggregators - to hitch a free ride on the efforts of others."   

The report, released today [11th March], is being used to inform an independent review into intellectual property and growth, with particular reference to the digital economy. It has been commissioned by the government and led by Professor Ian Hargreaves.

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Kevin Fitzgerald's comment that the creative sector is "worth 8% of our GDP - roughly the same size as the financial services sector," doesn't seem to make sense as I believe that the service sector in the UK is about 75% of GDP, and within the service sector, financial services dominate. Could Fitzgerald's comment be fact checked and confirmed?

While I like access to information reducing copyright protection for authors is absolutely abhorrent. I know this may seem like a long bow to be pulling but I always think about the great Classical composers who only received money from the concerts that they organised or from wealthy sponsors. Their work once performed was in the public domain. Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave.

Tell you what Divina show me your figures for the financial services sector rather than what you think. The figures Kevin Fitzgerald uses are those from the Confederation of British Industry report submitted to the IP review. The CBI tends to be quite good at that sort of thing.

The problem with the copyright system from the writer/artist position is that there needs to be more effective sanctions against copyright infringement that are easier for individual artists to access. Stronger protection not less.

Unfortunately "more effective sanctions" are impossible when we're talking about books. Books are impossible to protect from copying and are so small in terms of file size that they are easy to distribute via methods that can't be monitored.

Most anti-piracy that I've seen in the book trade is focused on BitTorrent, which as a method of sharing ebooks is a bit like using a 747 for your paper round.

Kevin Fitzgerald's comment that the creative sector is "worth 8% of our GDP - roughly the same size as the financial services sector," doesn't seem to make sense as I believe that the service sector in the UK is about 75% of GDP, and within the service sector, financial services dominate. Could Fitzgerald's comment be fact checked and confirmed?

While I like access to information reducing copyright protection for authors is absolutely abhorrent. I know this may seem like a long bow to be pulling but I always think about the great Classical composers who only received money from the concerts that they organised or from wealthy sponsors. Their work once performed was in the public domain. Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave.

Tell you what Divina show me your figures for the financial services sector rather than what you think. The figures Kevin Fitzgerald uses are those from the Confederation of British Industry report submitted to the IP review. The CBI tends to be quite good at that sort of thing.

The problem with the copyright system from the writer/artist position is that there needs to be more effective sanctions against copyright infringement that are easier for individual artists to access. Stronger protection not less.

Unfortunately "more effective sanctions" are impossible when we're talking about books. Books are impossible to protect from copying and are so small in terms of file size that they are easy to distribute via methods that can't be monitored.

Most anti-piracy that I've seen in the book trade is focused on BitTorrent, which as a method of sharing ebooks is a bit like using a 747 for your paper round.