2012 IP Watchlist released
Consumers International's IP Watchlist 2012 is our annual global survey revealing how fair the world's intellectual property laws and enforcement practices are for consumers. This year, thirty countries from around the world are rated, with neighbours Israel and Jordan placing respectively top and bottom. The best-rated countries tend to be those with the broadest copyright limitations, that allow enough room for innovative reuse of content, and the free use of IP goods within a close circle of family and friends.
Our fourth Watchlist is released at an interesting time for the world, in which the mighty multinational publishing and media corporations of the world may seem to have finally pushed consumers too far in their ever more-intrusive plans to stamp out piracy. Perhaps the most dramatic evidence of this came in January this year, when large portions of the World Wide Web - including Wikipedia - went dark in protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills then before the United States Congress and Senate. The following month, Europeans took to the streets in force to protest against the imposition of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a treaty in which big businesses were welcomed treated as insiders, while consumers were left in the cold.
At the same time a number of countries have taken steps to reform copyright law for the benefit of consumers and to further access to knowledge. Published in early 2011 the UK’s Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth that “copying should be lawful where it is for private purposes or does not damage the underlying aims of copyright”. We agree. The UK has been near the bottom of the IP Watchlist for the past four years and we commend the UK Government’s intention to comprehensively update copyright exceptions for the benefit of consumers, educational establishments, researchers, libraries and archives. We look forward to upgrading the UK in 2013 and hope that other countries to follow suit.
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