Scotland debates IP

September 2011

All areas

Scottish lawyer Paul Carlyle has told the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh that neither the government nor the entertainment industry has successfully persuaded the public of the need to pay for digital content saying “It’s interesting, is it not, that an industry that can sell us Cheryl Cole, Jedward and all the other ‘X-Factor’ creations, and which can persuade us to part with good money for all sorts of products linked to these celebrities, has somehow failed to persuade much of the public that they should pay for digital content”. Carlyle said that education and communication, should be at the top of the agenda of rights owners and their political supporters,

Also at the conference at the Scottish Parliament’s building at Holyrood was Pete Wishart, the Scottish Nationalist MP and a former member of Scottish band Runrig, Wishart is a vocal supporter of copyright in Westminster, and stressed the importance of intellectual property rights for the UK and Scottish economies, and of the need for new laws, including the new measures in the Digital Economy Act , to maintain a defence against online infringers. Carlyle pointed out that in the main Intellectual Prooperty  law in Scotland was the same as in England as IP was controlled by Westminster not Holyrood. Wishart concurred saying  “this might surprise you, I am very relaxed about that fact” adding “So much of copyright is now governed by the European Union anyway, and the bodies that represent rights owners and creators – so in the music space the BPI, PRS and so on – are all UK-wide bodies based in London. So it makes sense, and it is, I believe, in the interests of Scottish creators, for these matters to be driven by Westminster” However as a member of the pro-Scotland independence party he added “after independence, of course, things will change, though I do believe there will still be benefits to our creative industries to have harmony on IP issues across the British Isles”.

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