Digital Minister Matt Hancock tells UK Music event that Brexit is chance to strengthen IP rights

03/10/17: Digital Minister Matt Hancock made an impassioned defence of intellectual property (IP) laws and their importance at UK Music’s fringe event at the Conservative Party conference.

Speaking to an audience of about 50 Tory delegates, music industry professionals and overseas politicians, Mr Hancock insisted that Brexit would present an opportunity to strengthen IP rights in the UK.

When challenged by an audience member about why copyright protections were needed, he delivered a robust defence of IP laws and their importance in supporting artists and creativity. “Intellectual property is the property of the 21st century and it is vital that we get its protection correct,” said Matt.

Chaired by UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher, the panel brought together Mr Hancock, CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn and the new Conservative MP for Chelmsford Vicky Ford.

Matt said Brexit would present an opportunity to strengthen IP rights in the UK. He said this could be achieved once the EU (Withdrawal) Bill came into effect, allowing EU-derived laws to be incorporated into UK legislation.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the head of the CBI who are represented on the UK Government’s EU Exit Business Advisory Group, said the creative industries were an extraordinary asset for the UK. But she warned the creative industries needed real assurances that they would be able to continue to attract the best talent in the world after Brexit.

Carolyn said UK Music and CBI should work together with the Government to design a new immigration system that supported the music industry.

Vicky Ford MP, a former chair of the European Parliament’s influential IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) committee, said there was a need to make Brexit a global discussion to benefit the music industry and identified three areas of importance to the music industry in a post-Brexit world: access to talent; a stable regulatory environment; and maintaining influence.

The discussion concluded with a series of questions from the audience including on the impact of copyright reform within the EU and the impact of Brexit on reclaiming tax from overseas.

Among the audience listening to the debate in the conference centre’s Exchange Hall was prominent Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin.

Further coverage of the panel is available here from IQ Magazine.

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