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The UK sits at the bottom of a league of 16 nations for copyright freedoms, according to a table produced by international pro-consumer group Consumers International. The group gave Britain an “F” grade overall, and several more individual “F” grades for the extent to which its citizens are free to share and transfer material, even for educational uses.
Consumers International’s first annual IP Watchlist report says: “The worst (country), by far, is the country in which copyright law first developed in the 16th century.” Surprisingly India, South Korea and China topped the list; the US ranked fourth because its “fair use” exemption allows copyrighted works to be used in situations like research and news reporting.
The UK has been opposing European Commission moves to extend copyright term from 50 to 90 years, culture minister Andy Burnahm does favour an extension to 75 for music. But Andrew Gowers, the ex FT editor who led Britain’s recent review of intellectual property law, called Burnham “silly and out of touch“, believing the extension will make labels, but not artists, richer.
Consumers International is an umbrella body comprising national pro-consumer groups like the UK’s government-funded Consumer Focus, which opposes Lord Carter’s idea for a Rights Agency that would help enforce civil copyright clampdowns. Consumer Focus CEO Ed Mayo (via Out-Law): “The current system puts unrealistic limits on our listening and viewing habits and is rapidly losing credibility among consumers. A broad