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The PA's PA 5th August 2016

The PA's PA 5th August 2016

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the honours system got called into question.  With David Cameron’s resignation honours list containing party donors, prominent Remain campaigners, drivers and stylists, there were calls from across the political spectrum for the system by which people are awarded honours to be reformed. 

PA’s PA will now be taking a break for August.  See you again in September. 

In this week’s edition:

Implications of Brexit for publishers

Copyright infringement

IP and Brexit

Orphan works

Interview with head of UKRI

Peer review

BBC White Paper

This week & next

Implications of Brexit for publishers

The PA released the results of its members’ survey on the implications of Brexit on their businesses.  Member companies were asked to identify what business and policy challenges and opportunities they foresaw from the decision of the UK to leave the EU.  The survey found that more than 70% of publishers remain committed to their business investment plans despite Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and identified ensuring a strong government commitment to copyright and reducing VAT on epublications as key priorities for the industry going forward.  Over half (53%) of academic publishers surveyed said that reduced funding for academic research and Higher Education Institutes, was the main challenge they faced.  More than a third (35%) said that higher costs of doing business, such as higher import costs, was one of the biggest challenges created by the Brexit vote, but almost half (44%) of the respondents said that cheaper exports due to the weaker pound would be the biggest opportunity post-Brexit (although some said this would be cancelled out by higher printing costs).

Commenting, PA Chief Executive, Stephen Lotinga, said: Our survey shows that despite the economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, the UK publishing industry remains resilient and will continue to play an important role in the creative sector and the UK economy as a whole. However, it also highlights the challenges the industry faces, including higher business costs due to the weaker pound and the difficulty planning in an uncertain environment. We will make sure that these concerns are addressed by Government, as well as working to secure the industry’s key priorities moving forward.”  Stephen provides further thoughts and analysis in this blog post. 

IP and Brexit

With there being much speculation on the future of many intellectual property laws following the recent Referendum, the Intellectual Property Office has issued a briefing note on “Facts on the future of intellectual property laws following the recent Referendum decision”.  The guide looks to offer factual information on the future of many international IP agreements that UK rights holders and business can make use of.

Interview with head of UKRI

The new head of (the new) UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) has given an interview to the BBC urging the UK to seize the opportunity afforded by Brexit.  Sir John Kingman told BBC News that research could be at the heart of Britain's post-Brexit industrial strategy.  He said: "I want UKRI to work hand in glove with government to ensure we do everything possible to ensure that as we formulate our relationship with the EU and the wider world and that we forge relationships which are consistent with everything we want to do in terms of having a stronger science base in the country and having a science base that contributes to economic success in this country."

BBC White Paper

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has published its report on the BBC White Paper. Overall, the Committee welcomes the White Paper and the Government’s commitment to the BBC.  It is “particularly pleased” that the Government have accepted their recommendations to:

                 Abolish the BBC Trust and replace it with a unitary Board

                 Consolidate regulation of the BBC in Ofcom

                 Enhance the role of the audit office

The Committee did however make three further recommendations:

                 The BBC should publish details of all salaries over the £143.000 threshold, including on-air talent

                 Rona Fairhead’s appointment process was inappropriate, and should have been via an open public competition

                 The BBC should proceed with a "Scottish Six": a television news programme anchored in Scotland

Copyright infringement

Nigel Adams MP has questioned the new Business Secretary on what representations he has received on the potential merits of requiring search engines to change their algorithms to reduce the visibility of illegal streaming websites – a perennial problem for content businesses.  Replying on behalf of the Government, Jo Johnson pointed to the regular roundtables Baroness Neville-Rolfe chairs  between the UK’s leading search engine providers, representatives of the music and film industries, and government officials. He went on to comment that “since the instigation of these roundtables, Google, Yahoo! and Bing have all taken steps to reduce the prominence of copyright infringing websites in their search results. These steps have included algorithm changes as well as changes to the autocomplete suggestions offered to users. The discussions are supported by research undertaken by OFCOM which has shown a decrease in the prominence of the most infringing websites (as measured by the number of notifications Google have received about infringing content for those sites).”

Orphan Works

The IPO has issued new guidance on orphan works and the commercial and non-commercial licences available.  Orphan works are copyright works where one or more right holder is unknown or cannot be found. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can issue a licence to allow these works to be used. This guidance explains how a commercial or non-commercial licence might be useful for you.

Peer review

A recent report from the Publishing Research Consortium found that peer review remains the principal means to establish trust in the scholarly literature, and is the filtering mechanism that sustains quality assurance.

This week we have:

Met with the Head of Jisc, Paul Feldman; met with Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; discussed common policy concerns with the Society of Authors.

Over the next few weeks we will be:

Continuing discussions on the apprenticeship levy with members; meeting with DCMS to discuss PLR for elending; catching up with STM; discussing upcoming legislative changes on accessibility with the RNIB; meeting with the National Literacy Forum to discuss the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge.