Saturday, 2 April 2011

Unreliable Evidence: IP law debate

A class of Bears learning about IP
On 30 March the BBC  broadcast a radio programme on Intellectual Property Law in their Unreliable Evidence series hosted by Clive Anderson. You can listen on the iPlayer. A cast of IP experts was in the studio. Michael Fysh, Charlotte May, counsel, Stephen Rowan from the IPO who apparently now rejoices in the title of Deputy Director of the mysterious Copyright and  IP Enforcement Directorate and Paul Stevens from Olswang.

Although the programme was clearly inspired by the Hargreaves Review, the debate singularly failed to highlight potential areas of reform. Indeed during  the section on copyright (16 minutes in) the group seemed placidly to accept that 70 years post mortem was the right term for copyright.  It was left to Michael Fysh to eventually insert a dissenting voice. Clive Anderson - extremely well briefed - made several provocative assertions suggesting there might be copyright in program formats, designer clothing and domain names.

The programme was successful in showing that IP law is diverse and complex. It does not make a good starting point for any business listener but its a worthwhile listen if you are in the business, if only to spot the errors. Perhaps the BBC can commission Clive to produce a series of more educational programmes on the separate areas of IP.

The programme began with a brief introduction piece from Baroness Wilcox. She hit the wrong note for a discussion on whether the law has the balance right,  by drawing attention to a windfall her business had made from an unused trademark  (4 minutes in).

Its great to hear popular radio about legal issues. Keep at it IPO.

1 comment:

Jane Lambert said...

I had been looking forward to that programme very much and I have to say that I am less than overwhelmed. Very superficial.