Users should be able to buy licences to allow copying of copyright protected material

Barry Riley

“People should be able to buy a licence that allows them to download and pass on copyright material in a way that would currently break the law”, an academic has recently said, much to IP right holders chagrin.

He said that this would encourage innovation and compensate rights owners, yet plenty seem unconvinced on his stance at this stage.

Activities covered by the proposed licence would include downloading for personal use, non-commercial adaptation and distribution within networks of friends, according to Martin Kretschmer, director of Bournemouth University’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management.

These state-regulated licenses could help free up copyrighted works for private copying, whilst ensuring the rights holders are fairly compensated for the economic harm that causes, Kretschmer said.

He said that current EU laws permitting copying of works for private use were causing piracy because they incentivise rights holders to restrict access to their works.

Some European countries allow the unauthorised copying of material that a person legitimately owns, as long as it is for private use. Under the EU’s Copyright Directive this is permitted as long as there is ‘fair compensation’ to the copyright holders.

In a ruling by the European Court of Justice last year, the Court said that what constitutes fair compensation must be determined by the harm suffered by the author.

Barry Riley
DDI – 0117 9453 042


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