Copyright Smugness

March 5, 2009

I had the very limited pleasure yesterday of reading the whole of the Government’s response to the European Commission’s Green Paper ‘Copyright in the Knowledge Economy’. And Yes I did read it all, despite the very short report in the News section – I was just hard pressed to see much of news value in it.

I was struck by two thoughts that scarcely bear on the merits of its content.

First, it had an air of smugness about it (‘we’ve already got a solution to the problem’) which was occasionally laced with the patronising tone for which Brits are justly famous (I kept on expecting ‘my boy’ to be inserted in some contributions). Is it any wonder that we have problems with our European colleagues?

Secondly, why are we engaging in a number of expensive and lengthy consultations if the Government is confident enough of its views to express them on the EC stage. Not for the first time (I felt the P2P file-sharing and the data sharing consultations were examples), minds seem to have been made up before the consultation has gone very far – inevitable in some circumstances but distinctly unhealthy where the Government does not seem particularly well informed.

Of course, it will not matter what we decide if we end up with an EU directive that tells us different. I hope it’s not a directive drafted just after reading a patronising Brit response.