Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA, a week in which we learned that the Camerons had had a disagreement over whether their daughter should dress up as a character from Frozen.
General Election 2015
All the political parties continue to drip feed tantalising titbits from their manifestos but there is still no sight of the actual documents themselves. We – and daresay the whole country - hope to see them next week. In the one UK-wide (although minus Northern Ireland) leaders debate, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon was roundly hailed as the ‘winner’, and the polls are giving the same story, with Labour looking in big trouble north of the border. However, across the country it is as tight as ever between the main parties.
This week’s campaign was dominated by talk of people who spend most days of the year offshore and yet still make a big drain on the Exchequer. Yes, Trident nuclear submariners and non-domiciled tax-avoiders were both in the spotlight, with the Tories having identified the nuclear programme as a potential deal-breaker in any Labour-SNP coalition negotiations. Meanwhile, their own potential interlocuters, UKIP, experienced a spooky metaphor for their declining poll rating as their conference stage collapsed at a news conference.
Those of a musical bent should not click through to this link, but The Green Party have taken the unusual step of releasing a Party Election Broadcast in which (partial) look-a-likes of Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage perform a One Direction-esque rendition of the never-to-be-a-hit song “Coalition”. Quite what it has to do with Green politics is quite beyond us, but as nadirs of the PEBs go, it deserves a place in history. Only 26 more days of this to go.
The Leadership for Libraries Task Force, set up following a recommendation in the last year’s Sieghart Report, has appointed its first Chief Executive. Kathy Settle is currently Director for Digital Policy in the Government Digital Service (part of the Cabinet Office). The task force met for the first time earlier this month and is chaired by the Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Paul Blantern, and will look to share best practice between councils. It is backed by £250,000 funding from DCMS.
We’ve received a useful insight into the UK Government’s position on elending. Responding to a parliamentary question from Dr Matthew Offord on what assessment his Department has made of the changes to (a) EU and (b) UK copyright law that would be necessary to enable the Public Lending Right to include remote e-loans, Ed Vaizey said that any extension of the PLR scheme to include remotely downloaded e-books would be incompatible with the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC). In order for such an extension to be possible, it would first be necessary for an exception to be made to the Communication to the Public Right, as set out in the Directive, and which would be applicable to remote e-lending. Such an extension would subsequently require an amendment to primary legislation. Government continues to monitor discussions on the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC).
One manifesto that has been launched is Labour’s Education Manifesto which confirms much of what has been already pre-announced. Key commitments include:
· To restore the role of Sure Start
· Smaller class sizes for five, six and seven year olds
· Ending the Free Schools programme
· Introducing Master Teachers
· Building a gold-standard vocational route through education
CLA has reached a new agreement with the Department for Education to provide a collective copyright licence for schools and councils. By centralising, and simplifying, licensing in this way each school’s administrative staff will no longer need to spend time and resources applying for and managing licences. In addition to the CLA Education Licence, the arrangement includes the Schools Printed Music Licence for music publishers and the schools newspaper copying licence from NLA media access. At the same time DfE has also signed a deal that includes music licences from PRS for Music, PPL, MCPS and CCLI.
Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), has released a report on the critical role of intermediaries in protecting the global supply chain against counterfeiting and piracy. The report - Roles and responsibilities of intermediaries: Fighting counterfeiting and piracy in the supply chain - was developed in response to the increasing vulnerability of supply chains and online platforms to the infiltration of counterfeit goods and copyright piracy, and outlines steps that intermediaries can take to keep fake and pirated products out of the supply chain and off the Internet.
The fact that he is standing down from Parliament hasn’t stopped Mike Weatherley MP from keeping the pressure on the government to do something on search engines and copyright infringement. One of his final PQs was to ask what the Government’s policy was on requiring internet search engines to incorporate trust marks and warnings to signify legal content in their algorithms and the search results presented to the consumers. In response, Ed Vaizey acknowledged that search engines play a valuable role in guiding consumers to sources of legitimate content online saying that they are well placed to work with copyright owners to explore ways to promote legitimate websites in search results, taking into account any competition issues. he pointed to the series of round table discussions between search engines and copyright owners chaired by IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, as evidence of government action.
The European Commission has announced a new study into e-reading. Launching next week, The Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digitisation will consider whether or not reading digitally changed people’s comprehension of the text they consume. The project will run until the autumn of 2017 and involve academics from a multiple of disciplines including the arts, humanities, social sciences and neuro-sciences.
Reading for Pleasure
The Save the Children-led Read On Get On coalition (of which The PA is a founding partner) has release a new report highlighting the importance of early years education in delivering basic language and reading skills. The Power of Reading details how the lack of priority given to early years investment, and the quality of staff in nurseries in particular, will mean that the gap in reading ability between England’s poorest and better off children will remain one of the worst in Europe - unless urgent action is taken early in the next parliament.
This week we have:
Met with JISC and ALPSP to discuss all things Open Access and ventured into the heart of Hoxton to give a talk at Tech City’s strategy day.
Next week we will be:
At London Book Fair! Key highlights include: Creativity, the Internet and Politics which will look at how, from privacy, to piracy to cyber-attacks, society is being forced to re-evaluate how we use the internet and what we should demand of it and how it impacts creative businesses. Speakers include Tony Burke from Unite, Simon Milner from Facebook and Laurie Kaye from Shoosmiths (Tuesday 14 th April 11.30 – 12.30); and The Charles Clark Memorial Lecture 2015 which this year is being given by Professor Lionel Bently, Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge (Wednesday 15 th April 4pm – 5pm). Professor Bently will be examining that vexed question of Academics: The Copyright Industry’s Enemy? We will also be encouraging visitors to the Fair to make a pledge on our Reading for Pleasure ‘Pledge Tree’ and support and the work of the UK’s literacy charities in getting children and adults reading.