So the full force of Government cuts has hit the IP world, with the dissolution of SABIP, the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Policy. As a member of its Copyright Expert Panel, I have now experienced the full force of Vince Cable's quango-cutting power.
The IPO will integrate SABIP's work on copyright issues into its own work research programme on the economic value of IP, so the theme of evidence-based IP policy will continue.
As new business models struggle to emerge in the media industries from a world of 'content is free', at the same time as traditional sources of revenue from advertising are lost to new players, copyright remains a fundamental building block. Whether content is charged-for, bundled with other products or services or made available on a 'freemium' basis, the central fact remains that without copyright, there is no underpinning for those business models.
IPO has an extensive programme planned regarding copyright's relevance to the digital age and the economic value of copyright. Economic analysis of copyright looks at copyright's short run and long run effects. SABIP's final piece of research, 'The Economics of Copyright and Digitisation: A Report on the Literature and the Need for Further Research', is a good overview of the current state of thinking on the subject.
In my view, one of the keys to unlocking copyright's potential in the digital age is to apply the Amazon, 'one-click' approach to rights management, so that content can be easily searched for, cleared and enjoyed and everyone in the copyright 'value chain', especially creators, can be remunerated.
Let's urge policy makers to focus on what needs to be done to realise the economic, cultural and societal benefits of our creative assets in a way which makes commercial sense. As the public sector continues to get clobbered by ongoing cuts, we need to ensure that all commercial players in the creative industries are encouraged by our copyright framework to invest in new business models.