Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA - another week, another party conference. The Conservative gathering in Birmingham was the party’s opportunity to set out its successes of the past four years and provide a map as to where they will take the country if re-elected next May. However, with one MP and one donor defection to announce, UKIP ensured that they received nearly as much press as the Conservatives did. Having said this, Conference was in buoyant mood, partly owing to lots of policy announcements designed to keep the Tory faithful happy but also because of Labour’s dire conference the previous week.
Unlike Labour, whose fringe programme was dominated by events on health, education, social policy, you knew from picking up the Tory fringe guide that you weren’t in Kansas Manchester anymore. The PA attended an afternoon of events organised by the Conservative Arts and Creative Industries Network (CACIN – and yes, a new acronym is definitely needed) and appeared on a panel with the IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe for a session on “The Role of IP in Building a Creative Nation”. PA chief executive Richard Mollet called on a future Conservative Government to stop the carousel of reviews into the IP framework, to work with industry to ensure children understand the value of creativity and intellectual property and support the UK’s creative industries in Brussels. The Minister noted the potential reforms to copyright coming from Europe and believes the Commission could learn from the UK. She confirmed that the Government would take a supportive line on copyright and UK creative businesses in these discussions.
Education policy had a lower profile than Labour conference – Nicky Morgan not having the packed fringe diary of Tristram Hunt. Her set speech from the Conference floor was workmanlike and perhaps most notable for the loud and sustained round of applause which was followed the mention of her predecessor, Michael Gove. Morgan was at pains to draw a line under the reforms, but was (unsurprisingly) unapologetic about them. Her mission to instil ‘character, resilience and grit’ in the education system was firmly aimed at parents while her pledge to reduce teachers’ workload a clear attempt to win back friends in the teaching community .
Richard Mollet again participated in a fringe event organised by the National Literacy Trust which afforded us the opportunity of placing a copy ofPublishing for Britain directly into the hand of new schools minister, Nick Gibb. It was well-received and in response to The PA’s call for a library in every school the Minister noted that he had recently insisted that all school building plans coming for his approval had a designated library area. So that’s progress…
To coincide with the commencement of the remaining statutory instruments amending copyright law (those relating to private copying and parody and quotation) the Intellectual Property Office has amended its guidance for businesses and consumers which can be found here. A number of The PA’s suggested changes to the guidance on text and data mining have been incorporated. The guidance is now clearer on what is meant by ‘lawful access’ and how publishers can maintain control of their networks. Changes, along the lines we recommended, have also been made to the private copying guidance. The FAQ now states that many ebooks are subject to copy protection measures, the circumvention of which is against the law.
The Government is consulting on the timing of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The effect of this change will be to bring some older works back into copyright, including those used in books and publications. When the change comes into effect, the consequence will be that rights holders can license these works or prohibit further copying. Anyone who is not the copyright holder or their licensee will need to seek permission or a licence to make copies lawfully. The Government proposes that the repeal should take effect on 6th April 2018. The PA will be seeking views from its membership as to whether this allows for appropriate transition. The consultation closes on 27th October 2014.
Commissioner delegate Oettinger (Digital Economy and Society) has been quizzed for three hours by the European Parliament as part of his confirmation hearing. Although copyright will only be one part of his portfolio (together with telecoms, net neutrality, e-commerce) a large number of the questions were copyright related. Comments of interest included:
- Copyright is no longer up-to-date and Oettinger wants to adapt current rules to fit the digital age rather than start again. He acknowledged that we need to ensure that not everything ends up being for free and that there is a market for cultural products.
- Copyright needs to be protected but we need to see the opportunities of the digital world not just the dangers.
- He would rather take time (2-4 years) to consult all stakeholders and have a proper debate as opposed to sticking to the 6 month timeframe given him by Commission President Juncker. He is aware it will be a heated issue.
- Teachers and pupils should have access to culture and not have to pay prohibitive fees.
The Government has published its response to the consultation on the draft key stage 4 science programme of study and launched a new consultationon the draft order and regulations that brings the new programme of study into force. The new consultation seeks views on the draft order and regulations that will give effect to the new programme of study for science at key stage 4 from September 2016. It also seeks views on the extending the disapplication of the current programme of study for key stage 4 science for a further school year (2015/16) for all key stage 4 pupils, and on extending the disapplication for year 11 pupils in school year 2016/17 to reflect the phasing in of the new programme of study. The consultation will run until 30 October 2014.
According to new research from the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa)half of pupils in UK state schools have slow broadband or unreliable wi-fi. It says 65% of primary schools and 54% of secondary schools complained about a lack of wi-fi connectivity and nearly half of primary schools and a third of secondary schools reported inadequate broadband. BESA Director Caroline Wright called on the government to "take speedy action" to make sure all children could benefit from "an education that harnesses the power of educational technology".
Reading for pleasure / Literacy
The BBC reports on Michael Rosen call for primary schools to make parents come and sit on the floor for a grown-up story time. The former children’s laureate said a “powerful magic” happens when parents read to children and allow them to interpret what they see and hear. Reading closely with children was just as important as phonics, he added.
This week we have been at Conservative Party Conference meeting, amongst others, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, Creative Industries Minister, Ed Vaizey, IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe and Schools Minister, Nick Gibb. We have also met with the British Council, UK Trade and Investment and the UK IP Attaché in India and attended the inaugural meeting of the IPO’s new copyright advisory panel.
Next week we will be at Frankfurt Book Fair (SEE US AT HALL 8.0 STAND H7) where, amongst other highlights, Kirsten Jorna, Director of IP at the European Commission, will be speaking at the FEP Rendez-vous.