Tuesday 25 August 2009

Digital Britain - Implementation Plan

The UK government has released the details of how it will implement the recommendations in its Digital Britain report. The Digital Britain report was a government commissioned study published in June of this year that made recommendations for how the government could deal with online piracy, extend broadband internet access, and better regulate digital broadcasting.

Responsibility for putting the Digital Britain Report into action will be shared by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The implementation plan confirms that there will be a Digital Economy Bill, published in the autumn.

The plan is available here.

Some of the key paragraphs in the original report from my legal/digital curation perspective were:

Modernising Licensing
33. The UK copyright framework is 300 years old this year. But it has not stood
still. Copyright has had to evolve continually to meet the technological
challenges of photography, the gramophone, film, television, the video recorder,
the photocopier and latterly the Internet and the World Wide Web. And
copyright needs to evolve further in the digital age.

38. The Copyright Strategy’s focus is long term, and global. The Digital Britain
report focuses on what needs to be done in the UK. Much of copyright law is
an EU competence and the UK must work within that European framework.
Nonetheless, the Digital Britain work and the IPO’s copyright strategy work
have shown that, in addition to completing the work of Gowers in this area,
there are changes that could be made at national level which would aid the
process of implementing Digital Britain.

47. As part of the Government’s desire to encourage inexpensive but legal
consumer access to digital content, we will also make some changes to the
legislative framework around copyright licensing, to tackle problems such as
those surrounding the use of so-called orphan works and thus help digital
markets in those works to develop.

Data Security and Assurance
52.The issue of privacy and security of data online is a serious and growing one.
A small number of high-profile cases have demonstrated the strong feelings
that data privacy can provoke, and the complex relationship we have to the
handling of different types of personal data and different types of consent.

53. It is an issue that is likely to become more and more important over the coming
months. Research conducted by the Communications Consumer Panel earlier
this year confirmed that this is an area of particular concern for consumers and
new business models such as targeted advertising and new services such as
Google’s Streetview have taken this issue to front of the public’s mind.

54. If handled properly, new business models such as targeted advertising could be
important revenue earners because, as Meglena Kuneva, EU Consumer Affairs
Commissioner said in March this year: “Personal data is the new oil of the
Internet and the new currency of the digital world.”

55. The ICO and the Information Commissioner have taken the initiative in
addressing the principles which should apply to the use of personal data,
building on the bare legal requirements of the Data Protection Act and focusing
on ways in which businesses and individuals can mitigate risks from the
provision and use of online data. Businesses that collect and use personal data
for commercial purposes are required to respect user rights including access to
personal data. Businesses are legally responsible to the ICO. We support the
ICO’s plans to develop a new code of practice “Personal Information
Online” for consultation later this year.

79. Public Service data and content play an increasingly important role in the
digital economy. The Government has embraced the vision of the Power of
Information Task Force and, in respect of important data sources for innovation,
such as geospatial data, agencies are significantly improving access to data and
clearer licensing pathways from innovation to large scale commercial use.

80 Government commissioning represents a third of the total investment in
professional UK online content. Despite existing guidance many public online
commissions still prohibit the re-use of IP. This leads to wasteful warehousing
of rights. NESTA will pilot a simplified IP framework for digital media bringing
together PACT, the Cabinet Office, Kew Gardens and Arts Council England.