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PA's PA 13th November

The PA's PA 13th November

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which David Cameron finally set out what he hopes to achieve in his renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the European Union in a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk.  In a perhaps surprise move, the Prime Minister opted to not take the easy route of a list of bombastic demands and rhetoric designed to please his Eurosceptic backbenches.  Instead, the tone, and accompanying public messaging, was more conciliatory; the demands more (at least to some) reasonable while still being challenging.  This certainly sounds like a PM who would genuinely rather stay in Europe than exit on merely ideological grounds.  Is this a sign he is putting country before party?    

Digital Single Market update

A quieter week this week on the DSM front, but in case you have withdrawal symptoms our Chief Executive speculates here as to possible reasons behind the upcoming Communication on Copyright being leaked and ponders what it actually is saying.  

Digital Single Britain?

The Government is, we understand, actively considering introducing a Digital Economy Bill (those with long memories will remember how successful the last one was!) in the second parliamentary term.  It is unclear what this would contain given that much of the legislation needed in this area (broadband spectrum, implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired) should be possible via secondary legislation.  It may be a vehicle for a potential increase to penalties for criminal online copyright offences and for the Government to do something around liability for search engines.  We are finding out more.  

Select Committee Inquiry update

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (John Whittingdale) and the Minister for the Creative Industries and Digital Economy (Ed Vaizey) will be giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee on 18th November as part of its inquiry into the Creative Industries in Scotland.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee has received many submissions to its inquiry into the Digital Economy which raise intellectual property issues.  The Committee is therefore likely to hold a specific oral evidence session on IP and we will be speaking to the Clerk regarding publisher representation.  

Apprenticeship levy

Even though the results of the recent consultation over size and scope of the levy are still unknown (to be announced as part of the Spending Review on 25th November), delegates at a Westminster Employment Forum still spent time discussing its potential impact.  Concern was expressed that the levy is being seen as silver bullet for the skills crisis which is not borne out by past experience.  A representative of the construction industry pointed out that their sector has had a levy for a number of years and yet they still have a skills gap.  Overwhelmingly though the impression was one of uncertainty.  While it will generate money, will this translate into commitment from the business community?  Would it achieve quantity at the expense of quality?  Of interest for the publishing industry was the focus speakers gave to the need for concerted growth in the number, and quality, of degree apprenticeships.  There seemed to be a general consensus that this is where the gap is in apprenticeships and this is where the focus should be.  

Are publishers rightsholders and able to benefit from compensation for copying?

This is the question which has been under consideration by the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) for some time in what has become known as the Reprobel Case (Reprobel being the Belgium Publishing Collecting Society whose right to receive remuneration from the private copying exception was challenged by Hewlett Packard) .  The IP Kat provides some amusing suggestions as to why this may have taken so long… While the question seems clearly answered in UK law the situation for some of our European colleagues might be somewhat different, in particular as regards to the Information Society Directive.  The full judgment can be read here  

CREATe conference on ‘Copyright Reform: The Implications One Year On’

This CREATe hosted event at Bournemouth University explored impact of reforms made to the UK copyright regime last year.  For the uninitiated, CREATe is a Government (Research Council)-funded research centre on Intellectual Property.  Chaired by Martin Kretschmer (CREATe, University of Glasgow), panellists Professor Tanya Aplin (Kings College London), Professor Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge), Adrian Storrier (CCLFR, University of Reading) and Professor Maurizio Borghi (CIPPM, Bournemouth University) examined changes to fair dealing and the contract override principle while Dr Kris Erickson (CREATe, University of Glasgow) led a discussion which delved further into the developments of parody – with further insight being provided by parody duo Cassetteboy (Coalition Talent) who talked through the development and creation of their videos which make reference issues from Piggate to The Apprentice. 

In a panel discussion focusing on the continuing issue of levies and private copying, Professor Martin Kretschmer shared his thoughts on the experimental nature of the exception in the EU while The PA’s own Florian Koempel (speaking in a personal capacity) urged greater cohesion between CREATe and the industry and emphasised the need to be more forward facing. Other issues raised during the course of the day included fair compensation, extended collective licensing and the future development of copyright law. 



This week we have:

Discussed copyright matters with colleagues from the Alliance for Intellectual Property, met with The Booksellers Association to discuss potential joint parliamentary activity; caught up with the Creative Industries Federation and heard about their upcoming priorities; attended the BBC Learning Industry Day; planned our response to the Section 52 consultation with interested members; addressed a CREATe conference in Bournemouth; supported Academic Book Week and spoken at the closing event at the British Library.   

Next week we will be:

Holding our annual Education Conference which will hear from Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools; meeting with Save the Children; meeting with Science and Universities Minister Jo Johnson; catching up with the copyright and digital economy policy officers at DCMS; promoting publishing as a career option to over 70,000 people at the Birmingham Skills Show.