Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Backing for Action on 'Highway' Robbery! Government Aiming to Safeguard Ideas

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Backing for Action on 'Highway' Robbery! Government Aiming to Safeguard Ideas

Article excerpt

GOVERNMENT steps to protect creative industries from being robbed of ideas have been welcomed by the head of Teesside's Institute of Digital Innovation.

The plans, spelled out in last week's pounds 7.5bn initiative to position the UK as the world leader in media and the arts, follow unresolved talks between Internet service providers and rights holders for voluntary action on illegal file sharing.

In its blueprint for future development of the digital and creative industries, From the Margins to the Mainstream, the Government warned that it would move to introduce legislation by April 2009 if the parties failed to reach agreement, but said the statutory clock could be stopped if a voluntary solution was found.

At the same time it promised to increase efforts to promote a greater understanding of the value of intellectual property.

"Ideas are the lifeblood of creative companies - whether it's a cartoon character or a website design," said Institute director Dr Jim Terkeurst.

He said he welcomed the Government's stance, which would force the industry to "confront a number of issues surrounding ownership rights and usage".

New technology and greater accessibility by the public was both a blessing and a curse to creative businesses, he said.

"I think we need to be flexible in telling people how to use these exciting, inventive products but recognise that protection is required."

Amanda Mitten, a specialist in intellectual property at Teesside's TBI Solicitors, said intellectual property issues did not apply solely to the creative sector and were sometimes an issue between employer and employee.

"Valuable assets are not only goods produced for sale. They can also include copyright protected material, such as instruction manuals, databases and websites, the designs and names of new products, and even inventions. …

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