The Hargreaves Report on Intellectual Property is set to be published this week, making recommendations to the government regarding online rights for creators of music, images and other digital content in the UK.
The report's recommendations will affect how companies and the media can use digital music, video and images and all manner of other content published online.
Elements of the report (named for its author, government-appointed Professor Ian Hargreaves) have been leaked to the Financial Times today, showing that it will suggest an online copyright exchange system to act as a 'one-stop online shop' for copyright clearance.
This would provide a central destination (eg a dedicated website) for businesses hoping to use copyrighted music or video content to find out who owns the rights, as well as make it easier for content creators to protect their work.
The review will state, "The prize is to build on the UK's current competitive advantage in creative content to become a leader in licensing services for global content markets; in short to make the UK the best place in the world to do business in digital content."
However, it remains to be seen how keen labels, movie studios and photography libraries are to give such easy access to their digital content, as well as sitting side-by-side with competitors.
Video killed the radio tsar
While the report goes on to suggest that 'the industry' (which industry isn't clarified) be allowed to set up and manage the exchange, it also recommends a government-appointed 'digital tsar' oversee the process and encourage other copyright holders to join the collective.
According to the Report, this will result in improved exposure for digital works, a platform to establish ownership of rights and more clarity on the legality of licensing copyright material.
In other news, the Hargreaves Report is also set to recommend that UK copyright law be dragged into the 21st century, by making it no longer illegal to transfer music from a CD to a computer or MP3 player.