The forthcoming Hargreaves Review on the intellectual property system in the UK could propose the creation of a digital clearing house under which content owned by one company can be used by another, according to reports.
The Financial Times said that the review seeks to provide a single system for copyrighted content to be shared among firms to speed up digital licensing and help the digital economy grow in the UK.
Such a system would make it more straightforward for businesses to identify content owned by other organisations and use it for their own needs, allowing digital firms in the UK to set up quickly and easily without running foul of copyright law.
Mark Owen, an intellectual property law expert at Harbottle & Lewis, told V3.co.uk that the review was likely to suggest such a system, although he was sceptical that it would lead to any sweeping changes.
"Copyright licensing, and in particular the difficulties of rights clearances across EU member states, is likely to be given a further nudge," he said.
"Although, in reality the review may not be able to suggest more than is already being done by the rights owners themselves and by the EU which has been focusing on this."
Owen also expects the review to confront the issue of digital formatting, whereby members of the public change the form of works owing to the proliferation of digital media devices such as MP3 players.
"I would expect the recommendation of a personal use right which would permit format shifting by consumers. This would be to solve the issue that if you buy a CD which you then copy to your computer, you are infringing copyright," he said.
"The lack of such an exception has been an anomaly for a long time and in fact a proposal to introduce this would not really be new. Lord Triesman, who was the intellectual property minister in 2006, said at the time that such an exception was planned."
The full release of the review is expected during the week, most likely on Wednesday.
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