The (new) Defamation Act is now in force and includes a “serious harm” threshold to make it more difficult for spurious claims to be brought. There is also greater protection for academics publishing in peer reviewed journals.
We’ve also had confirmation this week of a Westminster Hall Debate, secured by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, to be held on February 13th. This debate will focus on the CMS Committee report into Government support for the Creative Industries, which was extremely critical of the Government’s direction of travel on copyright and which the Government roundly dismissed (see previous PA’s PA). And this debate will be very timely, given that we expect at least some of the draft SIs which will bring in the government’s changes to copyright reform to be published in the last few weeks of February.
Google’s latest Transparency Report shows that over 230m requests were made to Google in 2013 for URL removals, four times the number of requests in 2012. The Report also suggests take down times of approximately 6 hours, and a compliance rate by Google of 91%.
And Mike Weatherley, the PM’s IP Advisor, is the subject of an FOI request.
Oh – and it appears that Ed Quilty really is leaving the IPO. Well, the IP Directorate anyway.
In case you were wondering how Gove’s Twitter Question Time went, you can see for yourselves here. The last section is on exams, curriculum and accountability. And this piece is an extremely useful overview of what we can expect for education reform in the year ahead.
News from Europe
Just before Christmas the Commission published the first in a series of legal studies that will inform its decision as to whether to reopen the Copyright Directive. We are also ploughing on with our response to the Commission’s Copyright consultation, coordinating closely with FEP and our other European friends. We will be attending a session at the IPO next week to inform the UK Government’s response.
After months (or is that years?) of to-ing and fro-ing, the Italian Communications Regulator, AGCOM has been empowered to block websites dedicated to copyright infringement. As of 31 March 2014 AGCOM will have the power to order foreign and domestic website owners to remove infringing content in response to complaints from rights holders. If those sites fail to comply, AGCOM can require ISPs to block access to the infringing websites, on penalty of substantial fines.
Extended Family News
The CBI has launched its growth strategy for the Creative Industries, arguing that the creative industries should be recognised as a key sector to get behind in the UK’s industrial strategy. Focusing on three overarching ways in which the UK can develop the CI’s contribution to the UK economy, copyright is an key part of this, with the CBI urging a focus on licensing and a strong, united voice in Brussels. The CBI will also establish a “task & finish group on copyright in 2014, a forum for the UK’s creative industries to monitor and report on the progress made to reduce copyright infringement.” Alongside access to finance, the report also focuses on skills, overseas market and competition.
Who we’ve met and forthcoming meetings:
This week we: met with Philip Davies MP; met with the IPO; met with the Association of Authors Agents.
Next week we are: meeting with Brian Binley MP; meeting with Paul Farrelly MP; attending the Conservative Arts and Creative Industries publishing event; meeting with Ofsted; meeting with the IPO; attending the CICI lunch with John Alty; attending an Alliance for Intellectual Property Liberal Democrat dinner; attending the post-Finch stakeholder forum.
Articles (and broadcasts) of interest
The Authors Guild intends to appeal the Google Books decision by Justice Chin.
Miriam Margolyes gives her view on copyright infringement.
And you can listen to Richard Mollet on the Today programme, aired on Boxing Day, discussing the internet, legality and ethics.