The research, conducted last week at the IP Expo, polled 180 IT and business decision-makers in UK based enterprises.
However, while many were unaware of the governments plans, there was broad consensus on what should be the priorities for change in protecting IP:
- Two thirds (66 per cent) of the sample did not know what the Governments current IP strategy was
- 75 per cent of respondents felt that industry bodies should be able to pursue copyright infringers
- When asked what the most important action government could take to protect IP 42 percent stated it should increase punishments for infringers; 17 per cent felt Trading Standards should have increased powers; 11 per cent felt that ISPs should block copyright infringers
- 86 per cent felt that not enough is being done to protect IP rights for SMEs
Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST commented: While our research suggests that there is not enough awareness of the current IP reform agenda amongst the IT industry, we have uncovered clear views of what the sector believes government should be doing. Importantly, properly mandated organisations such as FAST, need to be empowered to act (standing in the shoes of the IP owner as claimant) on behalf of members. Many smaller enterprises struggle to fight for their IP rights as they neither have the clout or the know-how.
Julian continued, The government has a golden opportunity to secure the UK as a world leader for fostering creative industries. However, IP law needs to be delicately balanced and is accessible, clear, and easy to apply so that rights holders can rely on it but without involving complex government intervention. This research has emphasised that the government needs to better communicate its reforms to the IT industry.
Robin Fry from DAC Beachcroft commented: It’s clear that businesses don’t see complex government initiatives like the Digital Economy Act as likely to make a major difference. They have more basic requirements: their trade organisation being able to act on their behalf, and greater deterrence. They don’t need a complicated rule-book to throw at infringers – just a big brother with a heavy stick.
FAST continues to support the UK government and will be working closely with it as it moves to the next stage following the Hargreaves report, focusing on international IP policies, copyright exceptions, enforcement and protecting SMEs. We want the IT industry to join us in supporting the UK government, and for this to happen there needs to be greater communication between both sectors, concluded Julian.
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) was formed in 1984. FAST is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee and wholly owned by its members. It was the first organisation to protect software publishers rights and advances its mission through education, enforcement and policy initiatives, together with promoting standards and best practice in the professional management of software.