Archive companies could be forced out of the UK if the government pushes ahead with changes to copy right legislation, according to the chief executive of British Pathé.

There is mounting concern that the changes to intellectual property laws proposed in the Hargreaves Review, including exceptions to copyright and extended collective licensing, would undermine an archive’s ability to make money by licensing content.

The issue dominated last week’s Focal International Awards ceremony, at which senior figures from across the archive industry issued a series of rallying calls.

British Pathé picked up the Footage Library of the Year Award, but chief executive Roger Felber warned that in their current form, the proposals would “seriously damage our business”.

“If Hargreaves becomes law as drafted, it would drive several UK archive companies out of businesses,” he said.

“Moving is something we and many others would have to seriously consider. The Hargreaves Review would seriously damage the UK economy.”

Felber added that licencing content to the UK could also be problematic because of the potential ability to remove copyright protection.

Pathé, which was established in London in 1902, owns and manages an archive of 95,000 short films.

The government’s response to the consultation on copyright is expected within the next few months.