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PA's PA 23rd October

PA's PA 23rd October

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the Chinese arrived in town, a Liberal Government took charge in Canada and the Governor of the Bank of England entered into the debate of whether the UK was better in or out of the EU.  The jury, however, is still out as to whether he came down in favour of membership or not… 

UK-China IP symposium

At the 3rd UK-China IP symposium hosted by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister took the opportunity to hear from a few industries including publishing about how UK Government can continue to support us with tackling online infringement in China‎. The round table was attended by the UK's IP attaché to China - Tom Duke and John Alty, CEO of the UKIPO who will take the opportunity of his visit to China in December to build on the good work already achieved with the Alibaba group, both to extend this co-operation and with other major ecommerce sites in China. 

Baroness Neville-Rolfe also announced a new project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council that will see a China Digital Copyright and IP Law Research Centre founded at the University of Nottingham campus in Ningbo, China.   

Online platforms

The PA submitted a short response to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union’s Internal Market Sub-Committee inquiry on Online Platforms and the EU Digital Single Market.  The response provided the opportunity to highlight two areas in which online platforms have the potential to create a negative impact on our sector: copyright infringement and the market dominance of established online players, with both of these issues having the potential to restrict, innovation and growth in the publishing sector and stifle the contribution we make to the economy and the UK’s cultural heritage.  This was covered in The Bookseller and the full submission can be downloaded here.   

Digital Single Market update

The PA returned to Brussels this week as part of a FEP delegation to meet with Anna Herold from Commissioner Oettinger’s Cabinet.  With responsibility for the digital single market proposals, the meeting was an opportunity to outline our proposed solution to the perceived problem of cross-border access to education materials made available online either by licence or under the education exception.  The Commission remains keen to harmonise the framework as much as possible – something which would threaten our established ‘exception subject to licence’ and cause significant damage to UK publishers and authors.  Our solution, of the introduction of a ‘legal fiction’ whereby the student would be treated as if still in the country of the educational establishment, would allow existing systems operating in Member States to remain unaffected while delivering the legal certainty desired by the Commission.   

Prior to this meeting, The PA attended a seminar organised by the Office of Baden-Wurttemberg on ‘Copyright in the Digital Single Market – who owns my eBook?’.  Dr Tim Kreutzer of the iRights Law presented his study ‘The Re-saleability of Digital Goods’  which sought to make the case for digital exhaustion with the counter arguments being rather frustratingly dismissed.  In her keynote, Anna Herold was clear that this was not on the Commission’s agenda stressing the importance of copyright as a driver for innovation and investment, pointing to the many new services and innovative payment mechanisms which have been developed which would be threatened if digital books could be resold.  The potential for this new, nascent market to be disrupted was too great.  in the following panel discussion, our colleague from the Börsenverein (German PA) Jessica Sanger mounted a strong defence of the status quo rebutting the counter argument from co-panellist Julia Reda MEP. 

The digital single market was also the subject of a short debate in the House of Lords this week.  Baroness Neville-Rolfe stated that she recognised the impact that any reform of territoriality could have on UK businesses stating “My Lords, I entirely share the noble Lord’s concern about territorial licensing. Reforms will need to be very carefully assessed to ensure that they do not undermine incentives to invest in the production of content, particularly by our European and British creative industries that contributed £77 billion to UK GVA in 2013.  

Apprenticeships

Ofsted has this week called into question the quality of a number of apprenticeships on offer.  According to Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of Ofsted, some apprenticeships are “not worthy of the name” and are wasting public funds and abusing the trust placed in them by the Government in giving credit to low-skilled tasks such as “making coffee and cleaning floors”.  An Ofsted report is due to say many apprenticeships are failing to provide people undertaking them with the skills and knowledge that employers require. The body believes low-quality options have damaged apprenticeships in a time when efforts are being made to present them as equal to academic courses.  This was reported here in The Telegraph.   

This week we have: 

Met with Anna Herold, Member of Oettinger Cabinet for the Digital Single Market, European Commission; attended a meeting of the Copyright Advisory Panel and presented on TDM; attended the UK-China IP Symposium and participated in a roundtable with IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe; attended the Creative Industries Council where concerns with the apprenticeship levy were raised with the Secretary of State.   

Next week we will be: 

Speaking at a Policy-UK event on European copyright reform; attending a meeting of the IPO’s Copyright Education and Awareness Group; discussing the digital single market and the Commission’s plans around copyright exceptions with the IPO’s Director of Copyright and Enforcement Ros Lynch; meeting with Science and Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP.