In September 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the appointment of Mike Weatherley MP as his brand new advisor on intellectual property matters.
As the founder of Parliament’s Rock the House competition and member of the All-Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group launched in 2003 to raise awareness and rally against copyright and related infringement, Weatherley seemed like the ideal candidate.
The then 56-year-old quickly offered his support to the recently formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and promised to assist the government to focus on anti-piracy enforcement issues aimed at protecting the creative industries.
By December of 2013, Weatherley was making it clear that ISPs should be held responsible for their customers’ infringing downloads and just weeks later suggested jail sentences for persistent file-sharers. Greater accountability for companies such as Google became a recurring theme in the MP’s work.
But while Weatherley has made quite an impact in his unpaid position, his role as a Conservative Member of Parliament will come to an end in the first quarter of 2015. In an announcement today Weatherley confirmed that he will not be standing at next year’s General Election.
Noting the enjoyment he’s had serving the people of his constituency in the south of England, Weatherley also touched on his role as Cameron’s IP advisor.
“Over the past year, I have taken immense pride in serving as your Intellectual Property Adviser. I am sure that you will agree that we have made huge steps towards really getting politicians and industry talking – which is key to making the most of our country’s wealth of creative talent,” the MP told the Prime Minister.
If Weatherley keeps to his own predictions then he will step down as an MP before May 2015 but he also hints that he would like to remain involved in government IP matters.
“It would be a privilege to continue offering my assistance in this regard,” he told David Cameron.
Interestingly, local media is reporting that Weatherley is believed to be returning to the creative industries. The 57-year-old was formerly the European vice-president of the Motion Picture Licensing Company and also worked as the finance director of record producer Pete Waterman’s empire.
A revolving door situation, where Weatherley heads out of government into a position with a large entertainment group, hardly seems out of the question given his history, but for solid information the world will have to wait. In the meantime his work in government will continue, with some of his time devoted to the industry he’ll soon be re-joining.