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PA's PA 20th February

PA's PA 20th February

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA; a week in which we would like to make it clear that, unlike certain other news sources, there is an extremely close relationship between the interests of our financial and commercial supporters and our editorial stance.

 Copyright News: Section 52

Following last year’s consultation, the Intellectual Property Office has published its response and proposal on repealing Section 52 of the Copyright Act, which is a subsequent amendment of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which implemented the amendments flowing from the Hargreaves Review.  The repeal of section 52 will remove a permitted act in law which reduces the term of copyright protection for artistic works that have been industrially manufactured.  For publishers, the implications are around the ability to publish images of such works – in effect, following repeal it will mean that publishing without licence an image of such a work could be an infringement of copyright.   The Government long ago decided to make this amendment, but there was a haggle to be had over the transition arrangements.  The PA and publishers argued for – and as revealed this week, won – the longest period on offer, of five years.  The change will come into effect on 7 April 2020. Moreover, the Government has conceded that works published before that date will not be deemed to be infringing beyond it.  A draft Commencement Order has been published, consultation on which will last only a week (as is usual for such technical documents).  The full report from the IPO and associated documents can be accessed at this link.

European Commission Looks at Copyright…

Commissioner Oettinger held his second Roundtable on copyright reform, this week looking at education, research and libraries.  Publishers were represented by Pearson with IFRRO also taking part.  Our colleagues from STM, the European libraries lobby, EBLIDA and BEUC were also present.  Despite many promises that the new Commission would herald an era of greater openness and transparency in European policy-making, the sessions have been deemed to be closed door, and so we are not able to promulgate what was said.  In fact, as we weren’t actually there, we don’t fully know.  However, no omerta is being broken to report that the session involved the various stakeholders outlining their positions for or against proposals for copyright reform, with no questioning coming from the Commission panel.   It remains the case that the Commission is looking to draft a White Paper on the Digital Single Market in the Spring, with legislative proposals on copyright to be prepared by the Autumn.

…And so does the European Parliament

Following the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee’s report on the Harmonisation of Copyright, by Julia Reda (Green, but flying occasionally under the Pirate Party flag), other Committees of the Parliament are publishing their draft opinions on her report.  Those with a dog in the fight include Culture and Education (CULT) – their views can be seen here  and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) at this link.   Of the two, ITRE’s has the more supportive language, noting that copyright is the underpinning legal framework to European creativity, and welcomes multi-territorial licencing.  CULT takes a more negative line, with talk of a “broader” and “more general” approach to copyright exceptions.   Their drafts are, like the Reda report itself, not the final word from their Committees, as others on the Committee can – and we know will – propose amendments to the opinions.  These will be more driven by the views of the party groupings and the FEP team, and national associations including The PA, are working to ensure that our messages are being conveyed to the relevant MEPs.  The whole exercise may not have a direct bearing on the current process of policy development in the European Commission (although they will be aware of it) but is interesting in that it reveals how the ground lies in the EP and where supporters and opponents are to be found.

UK Does Well at Something Internationally

Forget, if you can for a moment, the Cricket World Cup and focus instead on the IP regime.  A study from the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Center has revealed that the UK ranks a stunning seventh in the world when it comes to the strength of its copyright regime, tying with Australia and only narrowly beaten by New Zealand  (imagine!!).  The US tops the table (hmm…funny that) with Germany and Singapore also on the medal rostrum.  Overall – and taking all forms of IP into account – the news gets even better.  The UK is second to the US (them again), with Germany and France snapping at our heels.  The full report complete with fun interactive infographic can be accessed here.

IP Infringement News

Although not strictly related to publishing, but it is a quiet news week, the Government has announced an additional £400,000 funding to trading standards to combat “fake and dangerous” goods sold in the UK, to be allocated by National Trading Standards. This includes £182,000 for its ports and borders project, to improve surveillance at Southampton and Felixstowe ports.  The full press release from the IPO can be read here.

And Finally:

Our good friends in UK Music have joined the fray in publishing a manifesto ahead of the General Election, which is now in a mere 75 days away (I know!...who knew!?).  It has a great deal in common with our own, but we are taking this as a form of flattery, rather than the basis of a copyright infringement claim.

This week we have:

Discussed Section 52 Repeal with the IPO, developed The PA’s response to the Reda Report on Copyright.

Next week we will:

Be joining in with the Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip latest Twitterthon, “#AskAnship”, wherein he is asking Europeans about what would help improve “your digital experience” – “not being ripped off by copyright infringers” might be one good answer…?; and eagerly awaiting Parliament’s return from the half-term recess; heading to Brussels for the Digital Stakeholders Forum and the FEP Winter Meeting; meeting with the European Booksellers Federation.



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