IP Watchlist 2012 reveals the best and the worst countries for copyright

23 Apr 2012

There is a lot of debate at the moment surrounding consumers and intellectual property rights. The digital landscape changes almost daily and scenarios that were unimaginable even ten years ago have become reality.

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Today, the content industry and its consumers are dealing with questions like:


  • Do consumers own or simply license copyrighted material when they buy it?
  • Does the high cost of litigation prevent online innovators from creating?
  • Is illegal downloading a crime worth going to jail for?


Questions like these are coming up again and again and consumers and the industry are looking for answers.


CI sheds some light on the issues with the publication of its fourth annual IP Watchlist. This annual global survey reveals which countries consider consumers' needs best when designing their intellectual property (IP) laws and enforcement practices.


Responses from 30 countries on 49 criteria were considered in this year's survey, the results of which show no major changes from last year as IP law reform is a famously slow process.


Israel and Jordan top and tail this year's survey. Israel ended up on top thanks to its 'fair use' exception (the United States scraped into the top five for the same reason).


Two new countries in this year's survey, Malawi and Costa Rica, came out in the middle of a decidedly average pack. Jordan ranked last, with Argentina and the United Kingdom also faring typically poorly.

A number of countries have taken steps to reform copyright law for the benefit of consumers and to improve access to knowledge. Changes introduced (or upcoming) since the last report are detailed at


According to the UK's Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth, published in early 2011, "copying should be lawful where it is for private purposes or does not damage the underlying aims of copyright".


CI agrees. 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 follow suit.


Details of the research that informed this report, including references to the original sources, such as statutes and case law, are available at

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