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PA's PA 30th October

PA's PA 30th October

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA, in a week in which the Government’s defeat in the House of Lords on welfare reform led to calls for constitutional reform, whilst quarterly GDP figures showed the UK economy still growing, just. 

Repeal of Section 52, CDPA

Some will remember our hard-fought campaign over the government’s plan to repeal Section 52 of the CDPA, the effect of which will be to reinstate the full term of copyright protection to 3D artistic works, whether created as a one-off or industrially manufactured, and 2D images of them.  This has obvious implications for books and other publications which contain photographs of such works.  While we were not successful in getting published works excluded, we were able to chalk up a nominal victory in that, following consultation, the Government decided on a five year transition period, ensuring the costs associated with gaining such additional rights clearance could be built into the planning of new publications while not impacting too adversely existing works.  Unfortunately, the Commencement Order giving effect to this was pulled by the government following a legal challenge – the main charge being that the five year transition period was too long.  This week the government reissued its consultation on the length of this transition and we are very concerned to see that not only is the proposed transition period shorter (we were expecting that) but that they have gone totally to the other end of the spectrum with a transition period of only six months.  Not only that, but this six months starts from the date of publication of the consultation meaning that the repeal will come into total effect on 28 th April 2016!  We are drawing up a response to the consultation and would urgently like to hear views from publishers on the impact of such a move on their businesses.  As part of this process we will also be raising the inequity of this proposal with senior members of the government.   

Digital Single Market update

A new pan-European alliance of EU tech companies has been launched.  Called European Tech Alliance” they describe themselves as “a group of fast-growing tech companies that have been built in Europe. All members have recently found success and now want to scale up, so as to continue to grow and compete globally”. Their President is Niklas Zennström, CEO of Atomico and Founder of Skype, and its members include Avast, BlaBlaCar and Spotify – see the full list here.They intend to play a role in the current and upcoming discussions at EU level on the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy; as indicated in their press release, “the next 12 to 18 months will be particularly critical because the European Commission is writing rules to carry out its Digital Single Market strategy, aimed at clearing the way for all tech players – from the EU and beyond - to invest, grow, and prosper in Europe […] The Alliance will look to work with European Union institutions and Member States and commit to share their experience of building tech companies in Europe, so that any legislation or regulation that the EU looks to introduce nurtures the tech sector and enables it to compete on a global level”. 

Further information has come our way as to the content of the Communication due out on 9 th December.  As expected, this will cover:-           

  • Text and Data Mining

  • Teaching (clarification of uses that applies to online and cross borders – but we understand there will be no mention of exceptions)

  • Preservation for libraries

  • implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty

  • Freedom of Panorama

  • Out-of-Commerce for ALL SECTORS

  • Levies (link between harm and payment to be harmonized, double payment and non-discrimination of foreign authors)

  • Value gap with share of value with authors  (mention of remuneration) – on copyright contract it says that it will be taking into account EU and national competence.

  • Enforcement

  • Portability: gradually allow access more and more cross-border

  • Reform to the Satellite and Cable Directive

  • Territoriality through mediation

The DSM is gaining welcome interest in the UK Parliament.  Alongside the Lords Inquiry into Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market, the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has now published recommendations in relation to scrutiny of the European Commission’s strategy for a Digital Single Market.  The Committee importantly requests that the UK Government provides further information on its priorities for the Digital Single Market, the trade-offs the Government is considering, and that the UK Government keeps the Committee updated on developments. The Committee states that they will “pay particular attention to whether the policy proposals are evidence-based, necessary and proportionate”. They would also “would welcome the Minister’s assessment of how the recent Schrems judgment,44 which has the effect of restricting data transfers to the USA, impacts the Digital Single Market and the TTIP negotiations”.  The full report can be read here.

PA Policy Director Susie Winter spoke at a Policy-UK forum on ‘The Way Forward for Copyright: European Reform and Implications to the UK’ highlighting publisher support for the digital single market but pointing out the need for reform, particularly in the area of education exceptions, to not impact existing well-working systems in Member States.  The event also heard from Robin Stout, Deputy Director of Copyright at the IP, and Anna Herold from Commissioner Oettinger’s Cabinet. 

European Single Market

Separately, The EU has published a roadmap of actions it will take to progress the Single Market. This brings together a range of initiatives under one plan.  It is focused on three main areas:

·         creating additional opportunities for consumers, professionals and businesses

·         encouraging the modernisation and innovation that Europe needs

·         ensuring practical benefits for people in their daily lives

This strategy focuses on services and product markets. It complements the Commission’s efforts to boost investment, improve competitiveness and access to finance, ensure a well-functioning internal market for energy, reap the opportunities of the digital single market, promote and facilitate labour mobility whilst preventing abuse of the rules.

 Scottish Affairs Select Committee inquiry into creative industries

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee this week took oral evidence for this inquiry with publishing being represented by Ian Moss, Vice Chair of the Alliance for Intellectual Property.  Topics covered included the importance of IP rights, IP rights in Scotland, the digital single market and IP enforcement.  Ian stressed the need for an effective, robust and enforceable system of IP rights pointing to the importance of these rights for creators and the businesses which invest in them.  Specifically, Ian drew attention to publishing concerns with potential changes in Brussels to copyright exceptions, highlighting how changes to the education exception present a real problem for the existing market in education materials.

The Future of HEFCE…

The long running Westminster rumour that days may be numbered for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, HEFCE, gets a strong confirmation in this morning’s Conservative Home posting.  This website is the ur-source of news from in and around the Tory party and Government and Paul Goodman’s piece on Jo Johnson’s “accountability and transparency revolution” must be read as being very well sourced.  Much of what is written here has been seen before in previous weeks in various places, but the imprimatur is significant. Quite what this all means for open access mandates is unclear at this stage – but presumably the mooted new “inspections body” will inherit the identical or similar criteria to that currently operated by HEFCE.   Read the full article here.

This week we have:

Spoken at the Policy-UK event on European Copyright Reform; attended a meeting of the IPO’s Copyright Education and Awareness Group; met with BBC Learning; discussed upcoming research needs with the Publishers Research Consortium; caught up with Ros Lynch, the IPO Director of Copyright and Enforcement; and almost met with Jo Johnson MP, but sadly the meeting was postponed.

Next week we will be:

Continuing our Commission-lobbying programme and meeting with Navracsics Cabinet, the Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture; meeting with the BBC; catching up with ALCS; attending the Sharjah Book Fair.