Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA; a week in which both HM the Queen and Wayne Rooney achieved historical milestones, albeit in very different ways.
Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee
As flagged in last week’s PA’s PA, the new Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, made his first appearance in front of the Culture Media and Sport Committee this week – an event which was probably more keenly anticipated than most given it was this Committee which John himself chaired for ten years. While the questioning was wide and varied it was very pleasing to hear John, at various points during the session, highlighting the importance of intellectual property – a topic clearly still very close to his heart.
Unsurprisingly, John’s views were sought on the digital single market and was asked by Labour MP Paul Farrelly whether he supported the direction discussions were going. John made it very clear that, in principle, he broadly supported the changes being proposed, so long as they didn’t jeopardise Britain’s highly successful media and entertainment industries. However, he stated that it is vital to ensure the process is carefully managed and the correct measures are taken to ensure IP rights are properly protected. On portability, he stated that he was keen to see it adopted - but again noted the concerns around it, commenting that while he wants to ensure territorial licencing is still protected, as removing the existing system whereby film and TV producers sell rights to their products in different markets across Europe would “do real damage” to the UK’s creative industries, the UK does support subscribers of paid-for services being able to access services such as Netflix and Sky Go when they are abroad.
He was also asked about where ministerial and departmental responsibilities lie around the DSM. John stated that they’ve gone a long way to ensure that the IP minister works jointly with DCMS and BIS and that both departments are supportive of the DSM – but not if it was to undermine the creative industries in the UK
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has launched a pre-consultation ahead of the publication of a Culture White Paper. The White Paper is to focus on four themes:
- The role culture plays in creating places that people want to live, work and visit. Areas to explore include how can culture and heritage contribute to vibrant, healthy communities across the country, and how can government support them to do that.
- People and how they engage with culture. How do we ensure that everyone can learn about and through culture, and get the right encouragement and opportunities to experience and participate in cultural activities throughout their lives?
- Building financial resilience in cultural organisations and institutions through new funding models
- Working with cultural institutions to promote Britain abroad and support trade, exports, inward investment etc
People are invited to ‘join the conversation’ on the department’s dedicated #OurCulture discussion platform. Vaizey is “seeking innovative proposals to drive discussion” and is “looking forward to seeing lots of lively debate that underlines our passion for the cultural sectors”. People are also urged to get involved on social media using the #OurCulture hashtag. The PA will certainly be doing so.
Digital Single Market update
With Brussels now back after the summer break, a great swathe of consultations are expected, giving us the first official indication of where the Commission’s thinking on its DSM proposals has got to since the publication of the strategy back in May. The Commission has produced this table, showing the status of the current consultations and which are coming up. These include consultations on Online Platforms (which Ansip has already said will run into next year as there will be stakeholder engagement following the formal consultation period) and Tackling Unjustified Geoblocking. The eagle-eyed amongst you will see a notable absence of anything timetabled on copyright…
Maria Martin Prat, Head of the Copyright Unit at the Commission, in addressing a meeting of the Federation of European Publishers, gave little away on the content of any potential legislation, instead using the opportunity to stress the need for publishers to remain engaged in the debate – particularly around what is ‘reasonable’ and what is not. A further take away was that we should not only be focused on the conversation around exceptions and limitations; there is now a willingness from the Commission and parliamentarians to address other issues of concern such as piracy and the value chain. With regards to timing (even given the absence of copyright in the table noted above), they still expect to publish proposals by the end of the year.
News has also reached us of a meeting convened by Vice President Ansip (responsible for the digital single market) to update his fellow commissioners on the progress being made on the implementation of the digital single market. Commissioners present included Oettinger (DG CNECT), Bieńkowska (DG INTERNAL MARKET), Jourová (DG JUSTICE), Vestager (DG COMPETITION), Pierre Moscovici (DG TAX) and Navracsics (DG EAC), as well as representatives from all other cabinets involved in implementing the strategy. Apparently Ansip is satisfied with the pace of the reforms…
The PA also continues its efforts communicate its views on the Digital Single Market. Richard Mollet and Susie Winter spoke this week at separate events on the proposals to reform the education exception and introduce a European-wide exception for text and data mining. Both prefaced their comments by explaining how, for publishers, the digital single market is already a reality and that any reform needs to take into account the existing, successful, working markets in many Member States.
Westminster Media Forum
The Westminster Media Forum ran an event this week on EU copyright reform and the digital single market. The event, which took place at the Royal Society, explored the priorities and challenges facing the Commission and Member States as the process of reforming copyright goes underway. Tech City Deputy CEO, Anthony Walker, opened the discussed the potential that the DSM has to increase innovation and growth. He highlighted that the DSM could be achieved more successfully though a series of rapid steps rather than one giant policy overhaul, which could incur unintended consequences. Anthony then joined panellists, Paul Joseph (Partner, RPC), Dr Eleonora Rosati (IP Lecturer in IP Law, University of Southampton and part of the IPKat blog) and Dr Ros Lynch (Director, Copyright and IP Enforcement, IPO) for a discussion on UK copyright policy and the impact of EU-level reform. Dr Ros Lynch discussed the UK government’s commitment to ensuring that any reforms made are targeted and based on robust evidence that does not undermine incentives to create.
The second session, chaired by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, saw speakers Stan McCoy (President and MD, Motion picture Association EAMA) Julian Ashworth (Global Director of Group Industry Policy, BT group) and Frances Lowe (Head of Legal, Policy and Public Affairs, PRS for Music) discuss key perspectives on EU copyright reform and the UK creative economy. All speakers agreed that their needed to be greater synergy between technology and the creative industries. Francis Lowe also highlighted the need to ensure that technology is used to create a value transfer so that artists are fairly remunerated. Richard Mollet (Chief Executive, The PA) Bill Bush (Executive Director, The Premier league) Javier, Ruiz Diaz (Policy Director, Open Rights Group) and Barbara Stratton (Vice-Chair and International Spokesperson, LACA) furthered the discussion. Richard highlighted the value of UK publishing and the fact that the industry already achieves the DSM through the current copyright framework.
IPO research priorities
The IPO Economics, Research and Evidence Team have published their research priorities for 2015/2016. The broad themes for the upcoming year cover three cross-cutting policy areas: Enforcement and Infringement; IP, Innovation and Growth; and the Value of Intellectual Property. According to the IPO, this approach will allow the team to look at big picture issues such as the impact of IP on innovation, and put the spotlight on how IP rights interact and add value to each other and the economy; to look at the reasons behind why the UK is considered to be the best place in Europe for IP and for start-up knowledge based intensive SMEs, and what is needed to do to maintain that position. Specific research projects have been announced on the Digital Single Market, Design Rights and the Economic Impact of Social Media on Counterfeit Goods which we will be feeding into as appropriate.
Canadian organisation Access Copyright has reported on the recent research by PwC into the impact of the changes in Canada to the exception for education. The report sets out the significant harm being inflicted to educational publishing in Canada, highlighting the fact that this reform has led to educational publishers reducing their investment in Canada which is in turn leading to fewer titles being produced and less variety for Canadian educators and students.
Higher Education Minister, Jo Johnson, continues to be vocal on the quality of teaching in higher education. Speaking at the Universities UK annual conference he said that while some academics did go the extra mile, many were disengaged leading to the quality of teaching becoming highly variable. He put the blame for this on too many institutions viewing scholarly output as key to their reputation and standing in international league tables meaning that “teaching has regrettably been allowed to become something of a poor cousin to research in parts of our system”.
Not a publishing case, but readers may be interested to hear of a successful case from our colleagues in the film and TV industry. A man from Northern Ireland has been handed a four-year sentence for running an online service from his bedroom that gave people access to hit movies and TV shows. Paul Mahoney made almost £300,000 from the advertising on his site, which changed its name three times after its launch in 2007 in order to evade detection.
This week we have:
Discussed the refugee crisis with the Cabinet Office; attended the launch of Future Book 2015; spoken at both a Westminster Media Forum seminar and BIC’s Future Trends in Publishing seminar; discussed current issues with the FT; attended a meeting of the FEP (Federation of European Publishers) where issues include the Commission’s DSM package, VAT reform, changes to the Timber Regulations and TTIP were discussed; and PA Director of Publisher Relations Emma House spoke at the Publishing Next Conference in India.
Next week we will be:
Participating in a meeting between European Publisher Associations and European National Deposit Libraries; along with STM, ALPSP, PLS and CrossRef demonstrating to MEPs and Commission officials solutions which have been developed to facilitate text and data mining; discussing The PA’s view on plans to reform the education exception with Maria Martin Prat, Head of the Copyright Unit at the Commission; meeting with a number of UK MEPs including Vicky Ford, Mary Honeyball and Andrew Lewer; catching up with creative industry colleagues at the Alliance for Intellectual Property board meeting; meeting with the new Policy Director at the Creative Industries Federation; discussing the implications of tomorrow’s announcement of the new leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.