Ex-FT editor heads copyright review

Andrew Gowers, the former editor of The Financial Times, is to head up an independent review of intellectual property rights in the UK.

The appointment, declared by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, represents Mr Gowers’ first high-profile role since quitting the City newspaper last month over “strategic differences” with parent company Pearson.

Now the former Reuters junior will test to see whether improvements could be made to the UK’s IP regime, in light of the DTI’s pledge to "modernise copyright and other forms of intellectual property…for the digital age".

The overall performance of the IP system will come under scrutiny, to ensure creative and scientific entrepreneurs are able to navigate through the complexity and expense of the copyright and patent system.

The Gowers Review will also probe into the suitability of the legal and technical IP infringement framework in the digital age, and assess whether ‘fair use’ claims by citizens are reasonable.

Based on their findings, Mr Gowers and his team will table specific and practical recommendations to hone IP law for the good of innovators, while highlighting excessive or outdated regulation.

According to the Treasury, the review is crucial to UK competitiveness, as it will check that the “optimal incentives” for private industry and individuals are in place to innovate and create value.

Such a brief For Mr Gowers includes the assessment of copyright and patent licensing information, as well as litigation and enforcement parameters.

“I believe that Intellectual Property is at the heart of Britain's success in the knowledge economy,” said Mr Gowers, who is widely credited with developing FT.com during his time at the newspaper.

“This review will ensure that we maintain a world-class environment for creativity, design and innovation.”

The Chancellor is expected to deliver his Pre Budget Report later today to include the forthcoming review of IP, which will also examine the current term of copyright protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights.

 

5th December 2005

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