Article online questions positive impact of Hargreaves' report

Article online questions positive impact of Hargreaves' report

MU call for fair compensation for format shifting

An article from The Register has questioned the claims of the Hargreaves’ report on matters including the positive impact of format shifting. The article also questions the savings that might be accrued from the recommendations in that report. Click here to read the article.

In response to today’s government announcement of a consultation on a new exception to UK copyright law which would legalise the act of making a private copy of a CD, the MU has called for a fair compensation scheme to be introduced.

John Smith, MU General Secretary said:

“We are not opposed to the introduction of an exception for format shifting, as long as a system of fair compensation for rights holders is brought in alongside it. This would bring the UK in line with most other European countries, where such levy systems already exist.

“The device manufacturers readily pay for patents and the like on each device sold and yet the act of copying onto these devices the very content that the consumer is most concerned with – music, is not currently generating any income for the creative individuals who compose and perform and entertain the public.” 

Earlier this year Prof Ian Hargreaves produced a review of intellectual property for the Government. While the final report was kinder to the creative industries than had at first been feared there are some issues that give cause for concern. The most significant of these for MU members is an exception for ‘format shifting’ i.e. copying a CD onto an MP3 player such as an iPod. Almost all other European countries have such an exception but these are accompanied by a private copy levy that rewards performers and other rights holders. Prof Hargreaves recommended an exception without any compensation.

The Union has been robust in its opposition to this proposal and UK Music has adopted the MU position and is making the case for fair compensation to be made in return for the introduction of an exception. As part of this UK Music is examining the economic tool of ‘choice modelling’ to determine the value that the ability of being able to transfer music adds to devices such as the iPhone in order to present a robust argument to Government. A consultation on this and other recommendations made in the Hargreaves Review was recently announced by the Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Link to government response

Posted: August 3, 2011

Categories: Regions