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Intellectual property laws to be overhauled

The Government has unveiled plans to overhaul the UK’s intellectual property laws in a bid to boost economic growth.

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has confirmed that the Government had accepted the 10 recommendations made by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report, ‘Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth’.

It is hoped that modernising the existing copyright laws will offer more flexibility to music and film fans and benefit the UK economy by up to £7.9 billion.

The proposals include creating a digital marketplace where licences in copyright content can be readily bought and sold – a move that could add up to £2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020.

A feasibility study will establish how such an exchange would work and a further announcement is due later in the year.

A number of copyright exceptions will also be introduced to cover limited private copying. Thousands of people copy legitimately purchased content, such as a CD to a computer or portable device such as an iPod, assuming it is legal.

Unveiling the plans, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: ‘The Government is focused on boosting growth and the Hargreaves review highlighted the potential to grow the UK economy.

‘By creating a more open intellectual property system, it will allow innovative businesses to develop new products and services, which will be able to compete fairly in the UK’s thriving markets for consumer equipment.’