Welcome to today’s second edition of PA’s PA.
The Conservatives slender majority (of 5) is now confirmed as is the fact that we are facing not two but three leadership elections following Nigel Farage’s failure to win in South Thanet. In his inevitable resignation speech, Nick Clegg pointed to the election being one in which “fear and grievance have won, liberalism has lost". A night of disappointing results, including the shock defeat this morning of Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, led Ed Miliband to also announce he would be standing down but he said "We have come back before and this party will come back again”. PA Chief Executive, Richard Mollet, has provided his thoughts on the implications of the election for publishing and the creative industries for The Bookseller. Click here for a more humorous take on how the election map of the UK looks…
David Cameron on returning to Downing Street ass Prime Minister has promised to lead a government for "one nation" and make "Great Britain greater". He has started to announce his new Cabinet, which, at least for the top posts, is looking very like his old one. George Osborne remains as Chancellor with Philip Hammond returning as Foreign Secretary. Similarly, Theresa May and Michael Fallon remain as Home Secretary and Defence Secretary respectively. Further Cabinet posts will be announced this evening with other ministerial and government posts being appointed over the weekend. Now that he finally has a majority, Cameron will not want to waste any time in establishing his first fully Conservative Government.
PA Statistics Yearbook
The PA has released its 2014 Statistics Yearbook, the industry’s annual authoritative analysis of the performance of the publishing sector. Headline figures point to digital innovation driving publisher revenues with digital now accounting for 35% of revenues:
Children’s books (up 36%) – with the sector up 11% overall
Academic textbooks (up 17%) now at 24% of sector sales
Audiobook downloads (up 24%);
Educational materials for schools (up 20%).
While the figures do reveal a 2% decline in overall book sales, UK book and journal publishing still account for £4.3 billion with 44% of this coming from exports.
Read further analysis in The FT (£), The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Bookseller.
While this week has been pretty much dominated by the general election, Europe has been by no means quiet.
The Commission has published its white paper on the digital single market: A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe.
It is fair to say that the White Paper is far less harmful than we were perhaps expecting, at least at the start of the process. Clearly, a great deal of our concerns have been registered although in parts there is a mismatch between the language of the ‘Actions’ and that of the narrative which we will need to keep a close eye on. For example, it states that the Commission “will make legislative proposals before the end of 2015 to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for winder online access to works by users across the EU, including through further harmonisation measures. The proposals will include…(iii) greater legal certainty for the cross-border use of content for specific purposes (e.g. research, education, text and data mining)”. But, the preceding narrative states that this need for greater legal certainty will be assessed. We will look to hold the Commission to this and ensure that such an assessment is carried out prior to any legislative proposals being made.
Other points of interest:
While commercial TDM is referenced (“Innovation in research for both non-commercial and commercial purposes, based on the use of text and data mining … may be hampered because of an unclear legal framework and divergent approaches at national level” p.7), there is no specific mention in the accompanying action and the change from “is hampered” (which was in the leaked drafted) to “may be hampered” at least points to an acknowledgement that the case still needs to be made.
No mention of elending
Tax treatment of certain e-services, such as digital books and online publications to be considered
Competition sector inquiry to be held into e-commerce, relating to the online trade of goods and the online provision of services. The narrative notes how “some online platforms have evolved to become players competing in many sectors of the economy and the way they use their market power raises a number of issues that warrant further analysis beyond the application of competition law in specific cases”
Number of action points around tackling online infringement with the narrative going as far as referring to intermediaries having a ‘duty of care’
The Commission has also issued a working document for its staff which provides further analysis and evidence for the actions contained in the white paper.
There is obviously much work still to do in shaping the form these ‘legislative proposals’ will take but taken as a whole, with the inclusion of a competition inquiry and measures on enforcement, this paper could have been a lot worse. We issued the following comment: “The digital single market is a reality for publishing and today’s White Paper from the Commission includes some sensible proposals for extending this. It is right that the Commission commits itself to making an assessment of the need for greater certainty around copyright and we look forward to engaging in that process. Such an assessment should be thorough and complete before any legislative proposals are drafted”.
The Policy Group will be meeting early next month to discuss next steps.
Prior to this, the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists) Group in the European Parliament, in which UK Conservative MEPs sit, had issued their own paper. Drafted by UK MEP Vicky Ford (who is also chair of the Parliament’s IMCO Committee – Internal Market and Consumer Protection) the paper provides a good balance to the Reda Report in stating that any reforms to copyright must be targeted, technologically neutral, based on robust evidence and support Europe’s diverse creative industries, commenting that they are “one of our richest resources for job creative in the future”. The group also stresses that copyright enforcement is essential and states that the copyright enforcement regime must be prioritised by the Commission.
UKREP (the UK Permanent Representative in Brussels) also entered the conversation this week with the UK’s views on the compromise amendments to the Reda Report being made public. Unsurprisingly, given it was prior to the election, a pretty straight bat was played with the need for evidence being a welcome constant refrain. It reconfirmed the UK’s opposition to a single copyright title as well as its belief that all exceptions shouldn’t be made mandatory, but does comment that TDM should be explored. The wording around the education proposals is particularly welcome as the government flags a concern about language which calls for broad exceptions commenting that “A broad exception for education without restriction could undermine markets for educational works if rightsholders do not receive appropriate payment for use of their work”.
If you haven’t already, there is still time to register for our Annual Conference and AGM on Wednesday 13th May 10am at Bloomsbury House, London. Contact Anita Desilva on for further information.
This week we have:
Been at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and briefed journalists ahead of releasing our annual statistics yearbook.
Next week we will be:
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, meeting with members of the Creative Coalition Campaign, attending The Bookseller Industry Awards, meeting with the Music Publishers Association, contacting new MPs and Ministers, as well as holding our AGM.