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PA's PA 14th March

PA's PA 14th March

Parliamentary News

The IP Bill received its third reading this week, and with the copyright SIs still unpublished some MPs took the opportunity to raise further concerns (although the Bill is, in the main, focused on design rights).  Iain Wright, Pete Wishart and Mike Weatherley were particularly strong, with Mike (who is No10’s IP advisor) making a number of references to the need for the Prime Minister to give a strong statement on the importance of IP to UK creators and the UK economy, and Iain pointing to the “dither and uncertainty” caused to rightsholders by the Government.

In response to questions about the copyright SIs David Willetts repeated his comments from Committee that, while some may be bundled, there will be a number of (separate) SIs (good news for us).  On timing, he first said that they would be laid next week but then very quickly backed away from this and referred to them being laid “very soon.”  And, mindful of the weeks slipping by, Willetts said that an April commencement date was now “very hard”, but intimated that the Government may introduce the exceptions soon after this i.e. not wait until the next common commencement date in October. 

The IP Bill now returns to the House of Lords for consideration of Commons amendments.

Open Access

The Wellcome Trust and other funders published a Report this week looking at how to improve competitiveness in the APC market (based on the presumption of a problem rather than fact). The Report looks at a number of different models and mechanisms that could be used to put competitive pressure on publishers to lower prices, although it becomes clear that this competitive pressure, in the authors’ view, need only be applied to hybrid journals.  Full OA journals are deemed to be “working effectively in creating pressure to moderate the price of APCs.” 

The report proposes a number of models that would help “develop mechanism by which funders can help to make the hybrid OA market less dysfunctional” despite no clear demonstration that the market is in fact failing.  A number of scenarios are proposed (8 for hybrid, 4 for full OA journals) that could seek to lower prices, specifically APCs, including local offsetting, APC caps and a tapering off of funding.  The Report also proposes the introduction of minimum requirements that publishers must meet in order to qualify for receiving payment.  The PA commented on the Report here.

Meanwhile, Knowledge Unlatched has secured enough funding to make its pilot collection of books open access.

Two further reports of interest were published by BIS, one looking at the UK’s innovation, research and growth and the other looking at Research Council Impact, whilst The Guardian reports on falling R&D spend in the UK.


Jonathan Douglas of the NLT appeared on Radio 4 this week, talking about the role that technology can play in boosting literacy.


The long awaited report  on parallel imports has been published in India, which does not make for comforting reading.  For example, the Report states:

We do not envisage that permitting parallel imports of printed books will have an immediate damaging effect on the publishing sector or on the economy as a whole. The impact of the effect of amending Clause 2(m) will be tested over time.”

Stakeholders are invited to submit comments on proposals by 26th March.  SpicyIP looks at the implications here.

Who we’ve met and forthcoming meetings:

This week we: attended an APPG EU event on completing the digital single market; met with Science Europe; met with The Reading Agency; attended the APS Conference; met with UKTI.

Next week we are: meeting with Schools Minister, Lis Truss MP; attending a Sherpa/FACT advisory group meeting; attending a Copyright Hub Partners meeting; attending an Alliance for IP event in Brussels, with Mike Weatherley MP; attending the Books and Consumers conference.

Articles of interest

Tim Berners Lee is calling for an online Magna Carta, including against copyright enforcers.