Cautious welcome to Hargreaves review from the federation against software theft.

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The Federation Against Software Theft has cautiously welcomed the findings of the Hargreaves Review into Intellectual Property and Growth, but concerns remain over the uncertainty of what exactly will be taken forward and how quickly.

Key findings of the Report include the suggestion of a 'Digital Copyright Exchange', where the intention is to promote growth by having an efficient, open and effective digital market where rights can be can be speedily licensed and effectively protected.

"The intention is noble," commented Julian. "However, it is yet to be seen how this could work in practice or whether it is intended or even desirable for the software industry to participate."

He continued: "Software licensing is classically decentralised rather and a publisher secures the best terms it can, subject to law, in endeavouring to sell its product, where there is often stiff competition from others with competing software products doing the same job. It needs careful consideration as does the notion with the Exchange that, if a product is lodged, enhanced enforcement rights may be attributed plus access only to the anti piracy provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010."

On enforcement of IP rights in general, Julian commented that, "it was disappointing that consideration had not been given further to the implementation of Article 4 of the Enforcement Directive which would have promoted self help enforcement by industry.

Noting that the Government should pursue an integrated approach based upon enforcement, education and, crucially, measures to strengthen and grow legitimate markets, he added: "In 2006, Gowers recommended that the enforcement regime should be 'effective and dissuasive' and arguably it is not when simply a licence fee can be paid if an infringer is caught on the hop; the Gowers sentiment should not be forgotten." Julian...

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