Organisations representing UK tech start-ups have urged the government to fast-track some of the recommendations in Ian Hargreaves's report on intellectual property reform.
In an open letter sent to David Cameron and other senior government figures last week, the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), the BCS, TechHub and others said all of Hargreaves's recommendations should be taken up, but some — such as allowing people to legally copy music from CDs to their iPods — should be taken up faster than others.
"We have been delighted by the consistent rhetoric of this government highlighting how crucial Britain's digital economy is to the country's future, and we agree wholeheartedly that the sector must play a vital role in supporting the country's recovery," the letter read. "It is now time for the government's fine words to be put into meaningful action if the sector is to flourish and play its role in helping to drive economic growth in the United Kingdom."
The recommendations the organisations want fast-tracked include: the adoption of copyright exceptions for format-shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library archiving; the prohibition of copyright exemptions being overridden by contracts; the ability to license orphan works; and giving the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) more powers to clarify and focus the UK's IP system.
These recommendations should be made law by act of parliament or statutory instrument, preferably by the end of the year and certainly before the end of the 2011-2012 parliamentary session, the organisations said.
According to the letter, the rest of Hargreaves's recommendations are "more complicated, either because they require EU involvement or because they are non-legislative measures". The organisations urged the government to "work diligently... to make the complex recommendations a reality in the shortest timeframe possible".
These "complex" recommendations include: the promotion at an EU level of copyright exceptions for text and data analytics; pushing for the EU framework to include a mechanism for adapting copyright exceptions to new technologies as they appear; supporting the European Commission's drive to establish a cross-border copyright licensing framework; and helping create a 'digital copyright exchange' for the licensing of works.
"Our organisations believe that the Hargreaves report represents a watershed for this country's digital economy," the letter read. "The report recognises — as many digital businesses and entrepreneurs have known for a long time — that the nation's intellectual property laws, and in particular copyright law, must adapt to business, social and technological change."
Hargreaves published his report in May, and the government is yet to respond. The report's author told ZDNet UK last month that he hoped the majority of his recommendations would be accepted, but he did not think every one would meet with the government's approval.
The government will respond to the report before the summer recess, which begins in the middle of this month.