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PA's PA 5th September

PA's PA 5th September

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA.

With the polls narrower in Scotland and widening in Clacton a situation is developing where the UK (or what is left of it) could be negotiating its exit from the European Union just as Scotland is negotiating its entry.  The increase in support for the Yes campaign is even leading to some to grasp at strawscall for Cameron to postpone the 2015 General Election until May 2016 in order to stop a potential Labour victory which would come off the back of Scottish representation – representation which would cease to exist come Scotland’s full cessation from the union in March 2016.  However, it’s hard to see this getting any real traction outside the pages of Conservative Home.

Copyright and Publishing in China

This week saw the second UK-China IP Symposium and 7th IP Salon, with the new IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe visiting Beijing with a phalanx of IPO officials to discuss trademarks, patent, design rights and copyright with Chinese counterparts.  As part of this engagement there was a copyright salon, hosted by the UK IP Attaché Tom Duke, facilitating a debate with the Minister, Penguin Random House’s Jo Lusby and Richard Mollet (wearing his PA hat and that of Chair of the Alliance for IP).  The new Minister gave a very positive speech about the importance of copyright and the creative industries to the UK and noted the importance of ensuring that enforcement against infringement is strong and that piracy should not be tolerated.  The occasion also marked the signing of an MOU between the UK’s CLA and the China Written Works Copyright Society to ensure the distribution of licence income to Chinese works being copied and used in the UK.  “Good collective licensing built on good governance, transparency and accountability is crucial to maintaining investment in cultural and creative industries” the Minister noted.  Following the Symposium and the Salon, the UK delegation split into various teams with IPO Enforcement Director Ros Lynch leading the Chongqing delegation. In partnership with the IPR Research Centre of South West University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL),  the British Consulate and the International Publishers Copyright Coalition (IPCC) hosted a collective licensing workshop. Professor Zhang Yumin, SWUPL, updated the audience of publishers, IPR specialists, CMOs and librarians on a UK sponsored research project on Collective Licensing which will result in recommendations for the Chinese government in this field.  This was followed by presentations from CLA, the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS),  and CISAC on the subject of collective licensing. The afternoon session heard speakers from Elsevier, SWUPL and The PA on use of digital material in libraries and copyright protection in this field, with an emphasis on licensing as a solution.

The English language China Daily picked up on this event and its coverage can be read here.

Education

One of the BBC’s ‘back to school’ reports focused on the fact that returning pupils will be being taught a new curriculum following the changes brought in by the Coalition Government.   Five-year-olds will learn fractions and computer coding, while those in early secondary school will have to study at least two Shakespeare plays.  The BBC also reported on how the Stephen Perse Foundation School in Cambridge is making dozens of its courses available online for free.  Pupils or teachers at other schools will be able to download A-level, IB and GCSE courses through Apple’s iTUnes U service. 

Senior academics and university executives in Scotland told the Guardian they believed Scotland's best-known universities would lose access to billions of pounds in funding and joint projects supported by British research councils if the country voted to leave the UK.  Professor David Weller, Director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, highlighted the fact that 80% of his centre's work was in collaboration with other UK researchers and cancer charities.  He believes that should Scotland become an independent country then there is no way that kind of arrangement could be sustained. 

Dominic Cummings, Michael Gove’s former adviser, continues to be outspoken in his support for his former boss.  Writing in The Times (£) he warns that the reforms put in place by the former education secretary are at risk of being phases out now that he has left the Department for Education. 

Nicky Morgan has been forced to deny that the Government is planning to force pupils to be set by ability.  While only initially commenting that political opponents had a “rather unhealthy interest sometimes in speculating about what I am or am not about to announce”, she later confirmed that “It is not something I am looking at.”

Libraries

An OPM report for DEFRA on Rural Library Services in England has come to our attention.  The Report found that whilst many of the trends impacting on rural libraries are also evident more widely in library services, there are also specific challenges – and opportunities – based on their rurality.  These include: rural areas having smaller and less dense populations which means that rural libraries have less potential to generate high footfall, compared to their urban counterparts; rural populations being older, with the ageing population more exaggerated in rural areas; and a relative scarcity of services and facilities, compared to urban areas.

Enforcement

Mike Weatherley MP, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, has sent the PM the industry responses which he received to his Search Engines and Piracy: A Discussion Paper that was published in May.   The PA, along with colleagues from across the creative and content industries, sent in further thoughts.  This need for search engines to take greater measures to combat piracy, as Mr Weatherley’s report identifies, was highlighted by the Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport when he addressed the BPI’s AGM this week.  He said, “I completely agree with Mike Weatherley when he says that the search engines also have to play their part. They must step up and show willing.”

Open access

The LibLicense discussion forum has highlighted an on-line survey being undertaken by Research Consulting as part of a study commissioned by London Higher and SPARC Europe. The primary objective of the study is to establish the costs to UK higher education institutions of complying with funders’ open access policies, specifically those of Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Councils. The final deadline for responses is 30 September 2014, but data received by 10 September will be used to prepare an interim submission on compliance costs to the Independent Review of Implementation for RCUK's open access policy.  Subsequent findings of the project will be made available to the RCUK Review Panel as they become available in October and November 2014.

Parliament

In advance of the launch on Monday of the Save the Children co-ordinated Read On. Get On. campaign, a backbench business debate was held on “Achievement gap in reading between poorer children and their better-off peers”.  All participants in the debate acknowledged the important role reading and literacy plays in children’s development and the need for early inventions at schools and in early years settings, with the work of Beanstalk and BookTrust widely cited.  For a backbench debate on a Thursday afternoon attendance was not too bad with eight MPs participating (including the Minster Nick Gibb and Opposition Spokesman Kevin Brennan).  The full debate can be found here

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee will publish its report onAdult Literacy and Numeracy on Monday 8 September 2014.  Copies of the report will be available from the Committee’s website here.  A summary will be included in next week’s PA’s PA.

The new regulations governing extended collective licencing (one of the ‘Hargreaves’ recommendations) have been approved by Parliament.  Business Minister Nick Boles MP commented that the regulations introduce a flexible and balanced framework that safeguards the interests of non-members and ensure that ECLs are possible only where they have been demanded by the market and sanctioned by rights holders.  He went on to say that “ECL schemes will enhance respect for copyright, help rights holders to get paid, and allow for more streamlined licensing so that a greater number of works can be circulated and enjoyed legally”.  The full debate can be read here 

This week we: participated in the second UK-China IP Symposium; addressed the Copyright Protection and Collective Licensing in the Digital Era working in Chongqing; and attended a meeting of the Sherpa-FACT Advisory Group. 

Next week we will: attend a meeting of the Federation of European Publishers in Krakow; attend an event at Number 11 Downing Street to mark The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge; meet with Christopher Lockwood, special Adviser to the Prime Minister; attend the launch event of Save the Children’s National Literacy Mission.