6 Conclusions |
are surprised that a tribunal headed by a judge, who does the
work unpaid and in his spare time, assisted by a barrister paid
£316 a day and two lay assessors with no relevant technical
expertise, functions to the level that it does. Changes to the
operation of the Copyright Tribunal should have been made in the
1980s and it is to no one's credit that nothing has been done
for 20 years, particularly the Patent Office/ Intellectual Property
Office. We have now reached the point where reform is long overdue
and needs to be made expeditiously to meet the challenge of digital
technology. We have high expectations of the Intellectual Property
Office to implement a programme of major changes in the operation
of the Copyright Tribunal.
73. The 2007
IPO Review of the Copyright Tribunal set out a list of changes,
most of which have support from both users and rightsholders.
The recommendations in the Review that give us most concern are
those that add to the Copyright Tribunal's workload or could be
perceived to compromise its impartiality. These need to be re-examined.
The Government now not only needs to publish its response to the
Review but also to set out clearly how it expects the system to
operate, the volume of cases it expects the Copyright Tribunal
to handle and the average time that a dissatisfied user or rightsholder
can expect a case to take. It also needs to develop as a matter
of urgency an affordable, alternative service that individuals
and small businesses and institutions can use as well as a policy
on orphan works. Given the increasing importance of intellectual
property in the economy and the new challenges stacking up in
this area, it is essential that serious attention be now paid
to this rather neglected area of policy.