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PA's PA 6th February

PA's PA 6th February

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the views of business took centre stage in the election campaign.  The Chief Executive of Boots criticised Labour tax’s policies as being bad for business.  His comments failed to quite hit the mark, however, given he is an Italian based in Monaco who has moved the company’s HQ from Nottingham to, er, Switzerland.   Problems continued for Labour with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls forgetting the name of the man who had chaired the party’s small business task force, giving Cameron the easy quip at PMQs of “Bill Somebody isn’t a person, bill somebody is Labour’s policy!”  How the House laughed….

 Unite 

Richard Mollet and Susie Winter had a positive meeting with the union Unite to discuss common policy areas.  The PA’s Publishing for Britain manifesto was discussed and a number of issues identified within it on which publishers and the union may be able to work together.  These included: copyright and intellectual property, fair markets for consumers, digital skills, libraries (school and public) and reading for pleasure / literacy. 

New consultation from IPO on Collective Rights Management

The IPO has published the consultation on the implementation of the Collective Rights Management Directive.  The deadline for comments is 30th March 2015 and the Government will publish its response to the consultation after the election in May 2015. It is expected that there will be a further consultation on the details of the implementation at a later stage.  The deadline for member states to implement the Directive is 10th April 2016.  As a reminder the Directive’s objective is to ensure that collective management organisations (“CMOs”) act in the best interests of the right holders they represent. Its overarching policy aims are to:

  • Modernise and improve standards of governance, financial management and transparency of all EU CMOs, thereby ensuring, amongst other things, that right holders have more say in the decision making process and receive accurate and timely royalty payments.
  • Promote a level playing field for the multi-territorial licensing of online music.
  • Create innovative and dynamic cross border licensing structures to encourage further provision and take up of legitimate online music services.

At this stage the Government is only consulting on two options (yet it still asks 41 specific questions!):

  • Option 1: Adapt the existing regulatory framework, including the 2014 Regulations, to comply with the Directive’s requirements.
  • Option 2 (preferred): Replace the existing regulatory framework, including the 2014 Regulations, with new Regulations. This would involve copying out the Directive as far as possible, but drawing on existing infrastructure (e.g. the Ombudsman) where feasible.

The PA Policy Group will discuss a PA response.

Update on the repeal of Section 52 of the CDPA 1988

We met with the IPO to get an update on the timings of the repeal of Section 52 of the CDPA (which will restore copyright protection in 3D and 2D designs so long as they are ‘works of artist craftsmanship’ – a definition of which senior judges continue to disagree).  While the repeal itself took place as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 we are awaiting information on the timings of this repeal and what length any transition period may be.  As previously reported, The PA has submitted comments into the IPO outlining the impact this repeal is going to have on publishers.  Individual publishers have also made representations.  To update:

  • A revised impact assessment is now with the Regulatory Policy Committee.   This is expected back by the end of the month, in time for the Commencement Order to be made before the House prorogues. 
  • The IA does factor in the concerns that have been raised by The PA and other publishers however the impression was given that the transition period will be three years. 
  • It also looks like re-prints will be impacted.  The IPO  are adamant that this is a business decision (even if society, students etc lose out because, due to the margins involved and such additional costs not being factored in when commissioning was done, the business decision is to not re-print).  The advice to publishers is to ‘re-print now’. 

They will be publishing guidance to accompany the change and would welcome our input on this.  The PA will co-ordinate a meeting for publishers once the Order has been to discuss what needs to be in the guidance.  Please contact Susie Winter if you would like to participate in such a meeting or would like further information. 

Education policy point scoring

The three main parties continue to try and score points off each other using future plans for schools and education policy.  Cameron firmly stuck his colours to the Academy mast and simultaneously sought to look tough by threatening to sack up to 3,500 “mediocre” head teachers (billed as an ‘all-out war’ on teachers) while aiming to give reassurance by promising that a future Conservative government would not cut England’s schools budget.   Watch him make this pledge here.  However, once it was clear that this was only a existing cash promise, not one linked to inflation, it was open season as far as Labour was concerned.  Tristram Hunt for Labour said Tory claims to protect funding were unravelling.  The Tories have also come under fire this week by their Coalition partners with David Laws revealing, as part of a broader dossier outlining how the Lib Dems have influenced government education policy,  that the Conservatives tried to slash spending on schools by 10% after the 2010 General Election. 

Tristram Hunt has had his own problems to contend with this week after getting into a Twitter spat with teachers.  After directing a Twitter user inquiring about Labour’s education policy to the party’s website and the user finding that the information fell short, Hunt replied: "Stop moaning. Read the speeches. Do some work. Your industry will be rewarded".  Unsurprisingly this didn’t go down well. 

National College of Teaching
This creation of this continues to look more and more likely as unions and others in the education establishment have come together under an umbrella group, Claim your College, to support the plan.  Supporters include the NUT, NAHT, prominent educators, schools, the Institute of Education and the Independent Schools Council.  The PA will be providing a letter of support. 

Educational publishing
We continue to engage with the Department for Education and Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb over the substance of his speech at our conference back in Novembers (which focused on the quality and take up of text books in UK schools). A workshop has been held with all stakeholders to discuss maths text books, to look at quality guidelines.  Similar meetings are being arranged for each subject group at the request of the Minister.  A sticking point remains the attitude of Ofsted to the use of text books which was appreciated by the Minister and discussions are underway to see this addressed. 

Exam reform

The Guardian reports on the decision by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to pull the plug on the A-levels Content Advisory Board (Alcab) which gave universities a role in overseeing A-levels.  This was established in 2013 as a key part of Michael Gove’s efforts to reform exams in England, the idea being to give leading UK universities and academics a say in the process of exam reforms – concentrating on specific subjects – and becoming a permanent check on the quality of A-level course content. 

 This week we:

Met with The Times, policy officials in DfE to discuss maths texts books, and Unite; attended the Copyright Hub Advisory Panel; discussed the repeal of Section 52 of the CDPA with the IPO; attended meetings of the National Literacy Forum and the Read On Get On coalition. 

Next week we will:

Meeting with Number 10, the Telegraph and the Guardian, Creative Content UK, the Copyright Hub; attending briefings at the IPO on China and IP-related barriers to emerging markets, a Westminster Media Forum event on libraries, and a meeting of the CEO’s of the Read On Get On coalition partners.  The PA is also visiting India and will be meeting with the IRRO.