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PA's PA 12th December

PA's PA 12th December

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week which saw Ed Miliband (finally) set out some concrete economic planning.   Billed as “the speech that remembered the deficit”, Miliband, in a nod to Tony Blair’s famous pledge card, announced his first ‘pledge’ – to  balance the books by cutting the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS and not initiating any policies that require "additional borrowing".

UK update

Even though no longer the Prime Minister’s Adviser on IP, Mike Weatherley MP continues to bang the drum for the creative industries.  This week he has submitted to the Conservative Party a set of 10 IP policy priorities for inclusion in its manifesto for the next General Election.  These priorities include ensuring the UK maintains its international lead on tackling IP crime, obligating the IPO to deliver a comprehensive annual education policy promoting respect for IP, and conducting a focused review looking at how ISPs can specifically assist in protecting IP.  His final recommendation is for a commitment to the introduction of a permanent “IP Coordinator/Adviser” or “IP Director General”. Complementing the role of the IP Minister, this IP Coordinator would work as conduit for industry, championing the importance of IP to the UK economy.  Mike is standing down at the next General Election… 

The Alliance for IP (of which The PA is a member) heard on the good progress being made by Creative Content UK, the initiative which will see identified infringers receive notifications from their ISPs as well as a major public awareness / copyright education campaign.  The ISPs are building the systems which will enable them to process infringement information from rights holders and a creative agency will shortly be appointed to design and implement the public awareness campaign.  Members who are interested in the campaign should contact Richard Mollet or Susie Winter. 

Ban on books in prison unlawful

The High Court has ruled that the government's ban on sending books to prisoners in England and Wales is unlawful with Mr Justice Collins saying he could see “no good reason” to restrict access to books for prisoners.  The BBC reports on this development here while The Bookseller quotes Richard Mollet who commented that: “The declaration from the High Court that the Government’s policy banning books being sent to prisons is unlawful is a victory for common sense, dignity and decency.  Reading can play a huge part in rehabilitation and to deny this most basic of rights and enjoyments to prisoners always appeared daft and unnecessarily vindictive.  Let us hope that the Ministry of Justice follows the Court’s ruling without further quibble and allow prisoners to receive and engage with books.”  This ruling was also raised by Baroness Rebuck in the House of Lords where she highlighted the vital role reading plays in prisoner rehabilitation and how improved literacy is crucial for future employment. 

European Copyright Update

With European colleagues The PA attended a meeting in Brussels with members of the Commission’s copyright unit to discuss possible amendments / revisions to the education exception, particularly in reference to access to physical and digital learning resources in primary and secondary schools.  While they have not yet been given any specific steer as to which areas of reform to focus on, the public pronouncements of Juncker et al (as reported in previous PA’s PA) mean that while the scope of the reform is still under discussion, some form of reform is guaranteed. On the specific issue of whether the exception needs to be amended in relation to access to text books (physical and digital) in primary and secondary schools, The PA came out of the meeting cautiously optimistic.  However, as is often the case, one mole is whacked down only for another to pop up in that they made some comments regarding higher education!  We will be going back to them to similarly explain how there are no issues with regards to access to learning resources (physical and digital) operates in the higher education market. 

International update

The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) has been meeting in Geneva.  International Publishers Association Secretary General, Jens Bammel, told the Committee that reconciling publisher and librarian interests over copyright can best be achieved through collaborations not statutes and highlighted the success of the Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program which aims to increase the availability of scientific and technical information in developing countries.  

Education 

Ofsted has published its Annual Report 2012/2013.  Headlines are: primary school standards are continuing on an impressive upward trajectory with more than eight in 10 schools now rated at least good; the overall rate of improvement in secondary schools has stalled with a similar number of secondary schools inspected over the last 12 months improved as declined – while over 50 more secondaries are now in special measures than was the case a year ago; teaching in the further education sector has improved but too many college courses are still not equipping learners with the skills that employers want and the economy needs.

The Government has re-announced confirmed its intention to set up a College of Teaching aimed at driving up standards and putting teaching on an equal footing with professions like medicine and law.  In a joint statement with Mr Laws, the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says teaching is "almost unique amongst the professions in lacking such an organisation". The plans come two years after the abolition by Michael Gove of the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), which was set up in 2000 to be a professional body for teachers.

Meanwhile, The Times reports that Sir Anthony Seldon is less than impressed with Nicky Morgan.  The head of Wellington College urges her to be more radical and compares her unfavourably with her predecessor Michael Gove, who the describes as “the outstanding postwar education secretary”. 

Official data is showing that while more disadvantaged pupils in England’s primary schools are moving on to secondary school able to read, write and add up, more than 100,000 children are still failing to reach the expected standard. 

This Week We Have…

Met with the Copyright Unit in the European Commission; attended The PA’s International Conference; met with Creative Content UK; spoke at the International Copyright & Law conference. 

…Next Week We Will be…

Attending a conference on Growth in the Creative Industries; meeting with the Intellectual Property Office to discuss IP related market barriers in the emerging powers; meeting with BBC Learning.