The challenge is to focus on practical, productive activities first and foremost, while keeping alive the importance of policing existing IP rights. For instance, a host of new and more efficient publishing models are emerging that exploit the internet without imperilling the moral and financial rights of creators. Governments should recognise that these are precisely what the knowledge economy is all about, and nurture them.
A more forward-looking model of media literacy could also be developed. In the UK, the communications regulator, Ofcom, is responsible for the promotion of media
literacy to help individuals confidently consume and create in a digital age. This is a noble ambition that should be treated as a serious policy programme, but when it comes to IP, the agenda suddenly turns matronly. ‘Do not download illegally’ it admonishes. And so children are taught what they are not allowed to do, but this should be secondary to what they are empowered to do.