Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA, in a week in which concerns mounted that the Government has no Brexit plan. A memo (initially thought to have been commissioned by the Government but which turned out to be unsolicited thoughts from a management consultancy) this week claimed that "divisions within the cabinet" were hampering Brexit preparations and that the Government could need an extra 30,000 civil servants to cope with the complexity of the task ahead. But while No 10 continued to maintain that it will not give a "running commentary" on Brexit, those on the other side of the negotiating table have shown more willing, with the Italian foreign minister Carlos Calenda accusing Boris Johnson of insulting the Italians after he warned that Italy would sell less prosecco if the EU did not allow Britain to remain in the single market. As the Government remains focused on Brexit, one beneficiary has been the House of Lords, which has been saved from plans to curb its powers to block legislation. Meanwhile across the pond, Donald Trump has started to plan his transition to the US presidency, offering one of the most critical jobs of White House national security advisor to Michael Flynn, a controversial retired three star general.
In this week’s edition:
EU update: Soulier case
The Court of Justice of the European Union has released its judgment in the Soulier case, a case regarding the legality of a French law which gives approved collecting societies the right to authorise the reproduction and the representation in digital form of out-of-print books without express permission from the author, while allowing the authors of those books, or their successors in title, to oppose or put an end to that practice subject to certain conditions. The Court ruled against the French government stressing the high level of protection granted to authors in the Information Society (Copyright) Directive and pointing to the fact that consent from authors is required before their works are being reproduced or communicated to the public. Such consent can be implied under certain conditions; but a fundamental precondition for such implied consent is that the author must be informed of the future use of his work by a third party and of the means at his disposal to prevent it if he so wishes. We are analysing it for implications on UK publishers but do not believe there are any immediate direct implications for UK publishers (operating in the UK) as there is no comparable system operating in the UK at present; the judgment being very much on the specifics of the French system. It is, however, following the HP v Reprobel case, a further ruling, which stresses the rights of the author.
APPG on Publishing and Reading for Pleasure
The Publishing and Literacy All-Party Parliamentary Groups held a joint meeting this week to launch the Read On. Get On. campaign strategy, which aims to get all children reading well by the age of 11 by 2025. Presenting the strategy, Jonathan Douglas, director of National Literacy Trust, said it was needed to prevent a potential loss of £34bn to the UK economy. Speaking at the launch, Joanna Prior, Managing Director of Penguin Random House, said she was delighted that reading for pleasure was threaded throughout the strategy, as she said it impacts a child’s likelihood of being happy, healthy and engaged in life. Sue Wilkinson, CEO of the Reading Agency, also stressed the importance of making reading enjoyable. She said: “If we are going to set ourselves this goal, it is not enough having schools teaching children to read, you also need to encourage them to enjoy reading so that it is something they are going to do throughout their lives”. Diana Gerald, from the Book Trust, agreed that it was important to make reading “fun”, suggesting that children should be encouraged to engage with and read the things they already enjoy, like Bob the Builder or Frozen. Meanwhile Iain Wright MP, chair of the Publishing APPG, said that from his experience in his constituency in Hartlepool, part of the problem that needs to be addressed is that some parents are embarrassed to admit they can’t read well enough to read to their children. The full strategy can be read here.
Brexit and higher education
The Government should exempt researchers from any immigration controls imposed on EU citizens post-Brexit, MPs from the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee have urged. The committee has said it is “essential” for the government to offer guarantees to ensure the UK can continue to attract top-quality researchers. It said: “We recognise that planning for exit negotiations is still underway, but there is clear agreement that researcher mobility is a crucial component of the UK’s successful research and science sector. The issue should be treated separately from discussions about immigration control more broadly, with firm commitments provided as soon as possible.” The committee also expressed concern that science and research would not have a strong voice in Brexit negotiations, and said that the Department for Exiting the EU urgently needs a Chief Scientific Advisor. The report said the Government must send a clear message that it intends to protect the UK’s strength in science. This should include using the Autumn Statement to commit to raising the UK’s expenditure on science R&D to 3% of GDP. Stephen Metcalfe MP, chair of the committee said: “As a Science nation we know we already punch well above our weight, but when it comes to research and development funding we are falling behind other developed nations. If we want to make the most of the economic opportunities that Brexit could bring, we must increase our science funding in line with key competitors like Germany and the US."
Higher Education and Research Bill
The government has outlined details on how the Office for Students (OfS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) can work together to ensure “a coordinated and strategic approach to the funding and regulation of the higher education system”, as part of its Higher Education and Research Bill. The government has said that the OfS and UKRI will work together on issues including knowledge exchange, infrastructure funding, accountability and assurance, evidence gathering and system intelligence, skills development and research degree awarding powers. According to the Times Higher Education, the higher education bill is likely to face strong opposition in the House of Lords, despite amendments designed to address concerns. Lord Rees, an influential peer and a former president of the Royal Society, told THE: “I know that strong concerns remain about the OfS and its powers to accredit and de-accredit courses and institutions. I'm one of those peers who thinks that the proposal to set up UKRI is an unnecessary upheaval, and will concentrate power in the hands of one ‘supremo’ who has the over-demanding remit of notably being adviser on science policy but also being the line manager and accounting officer for nine disparate and complex organisations.”
This week The PA ran #workinpublishing week to inform young people of school and university age of the wide variety of jobs available in publishing. The PA worked with members and other publishing organisations to collect and disseminate information, and partnered with local authorities, LEPs, and careers services across the country to ensure messages went beyond those who are already in publishing, including prospects.ac.uk and the National Apprenticeship Service. In partnership with London Book Fair, the PA also ran Inclusivity in Publishing, a conference dedicated to discussing what the industry can do to ensure the publishing ecosystem reflects British society.
Following the failure of Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke’s private members bill to ban unpaid internship and ensure that anyone working as an intern is paid the minimum wage, , the government has committed to investigating the practice as part of the current review of modern working practices. This call has been echoed by Social Mobility Tsar Alan Milburn.
The PA met with Government ministers, opposition spokespeople and other parliamentarians at the Creative Industries Council Autumn Reception. The room was addressed by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley who stressed the key role the creative industries play in shaping the UK’s image and reputation abroad. The event also served as the launch for a new publication from the CIC on Seizing the Post-Referendum Opportunity: 100 UK creative industries wins in 100 days to which the PA contributed.
HEPI Director Nick Hillman provides some thoughts on who University and Science Minister Jo Johnson’s Numskulls (and therefore the people acting as the biggest levers on Jo Johnson and his key officials) would be…. Included are Anthony Grayling, Gervas Huxley and Anthony Seldon.
This week we have:
Met with Culture Secretary Karen Bradley at the Creative Industries Council reception; attended the joint Publishing and Literacy APPG meeting with Iain Wright MP, Stephen McPartland MP and Stephen Twigg MP; met with content industry colleagues at the Alliance for IP board meeting and discussed how best to tackle issues of joint concern; met with Sue Bishop from the Department for International Trade; attended the launch of the BBC’s Terrific Scientific campaign.
Next week we will be:
Meeting with Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock; attending the FEP Autumn meeting in Strasbourg, discussing amongst other things the two recent CJEU court rulings; meeting with colleagues at the Publishing Research Consortium; attending the Business Book of the Year Award; meeting with the IPO’s Copyright Education and Awareness Group; catching up with the BBC on how its Love to Read campaign went; meeting with the other Read On Get On CEOs.