Cable backs Hargreaves, rows back on filesharing

Cable backs Hargreaves, rows back on filesharing

The Government has largely endorsed the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review, though, according to reports, business secretary Vince Cable has admitted that the website blocking clauses of the Digital Economy Act are unworkable.

In a briefing held at the British Library this morning [3rd August], Cable is understood to have backed the Hargreaves Review, including proposals for changes in copyright law to allow data mining, with Publishers Association chief executive Richard Mollet calling these measures an "unwarranted blunt instrument".

Cable is also reported to have announced that media regulator Ofcom has said clauses 17 and 18 of the Digital Economy Act, concerning blocking websites which show case pirated material, or allow free access to copyrighted material, are unworkable.

Responding more widely to Cable's briefing this morning and other areas of the Hargreaves Review, Mollet said: "We are looking forward to working constructively with Government on taking forward the proposal for a Digital Copyright Exchange as a means of improving licensing and resolving pervading problems around Orphan Works. This can build upon the work already underway in the publishing and other sectors."

However, Mollet added that the Government's acceptance of Professor Hargreaves' recommendation to create exceptions for data mining was "deeply concerning". He said: "The Hargreaves Review did not conduct any economic impact assessment of this proposal. If it had, it would have found that the proposal of a blanket exception is unnecessary, given the market-based solutions which are already in operation; and they would have identified the potential for economic harm created by the uncertainty, lack of clarity and opportunity for infringement which an exception creates."

He added that the PA would provide evidence at British and EU level to demonstrate the change "would be an unwarranted blunt instrument that would undermine UK publishing" and prevent the necessary changes to European legislation to bring it into force."