By Marcus Leach

The UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced today that the government is adopting all 10 recommendations made in the Hargreaves Review of Copyright and Intellectual Property.

The Meltwater Group applauds this move because the key recommendations made by the Review have the potential to transform the UK into a leading global centre of excellence for the knowledge economy.

According to the Intellectual Property Office, the changes to the law recommended by the Hargreaves Report could add £7.9 billion to the UK economy.

This forward-looking decision taken by the government also has far-reaching implications for recent legal decisions, such as those in the case of the NLA vs Meltwater and the PRCA, which was ruled on in the Court of Appeal last week.

The ruling means that anyone who clicks on a link and reads a news article on a public website in a commercial setting will infringe copyright unless licensed by the publisher.

Consequently, millions of professionals will unwittingly infringe copyright on a daily basis by simply browsing the Web. This case has dealt the UK digital economy a potentially serious blow by putting Internet browsing, an everyday activity of practically all businesses, outside the law.

“I am excited to learn that the UK government has accepted the Hargreaves Review in its entirety, as it vindicates our belief that copyright needs to work with UK businesses and not against them," Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater said.

"The UK government has today committed itself to a significant overhaul of the UK copyright law in order to ensure it is in tune with today’s world and incorporates technological innovations such as the Internet.”

Steve Kuncewicz, an intellectual property, social media and media solicitor with Gateley (Manchester) LLP was also in support of the report.

“It is clear for all to see that copyright law has not kept pace with technology, so Hargreaves in particular makes some really useful recommendations for trying to update existing copyright law to keep up with changes that have happened as well as those we can’t quite foresee," he said.

"Because technology moves so quickly, this is a great opportunity to pause and come up with new ways of supporting technology and the businesses that depend on it. We need to enable people and businesses to access content, but within reasonable copyright limits. However, those limits need to be subject to review as dynamically as possibly, as and when new technology comes along.”

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