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PA's PA 24th July

PA's PA 24th July

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA, in a week in which the race to lead the Labour Party descended into increasing disarray with leading figures from the last decade saying the party would be out of power for two decades because Jeremy Corbyn wanted to take it back three decades. 

The UK and the Digital Single Market

The PA was part of the delegation of rightsholder and other stakeholders in a meeting with IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe to discuss the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy (and if that reads just like the opening line of last week’s PA’s PA it’s because there was a very similar meeting last week).  This week the focus was again on portability with the UK government keen to be able to develop a position which has the support of the film and tv sector – and it appears they might achieve this, although the issue is fraught with commercial and technical complexity.  The meeting also discussed the important topic of intermediary liability – in other words, to what extent should companies like Google and Facebook have a duty of care to prevent online copyright infringement.  No parties seem to keen to argue that the E-Commerce Directive should be opened up and the “safe harbour” provisions fiddled with, but at the same time the Commission does need to look at tighter definitions around the “actual knowledge” of infringement and what should be done about it.    In a week in which the Competition Unit at the European Commission issued a Statement of Objection about the operations of UK pay-tv service operations, this debate is set to run and run. 

The IP Minister also noted that she had responsibility within BIS for Deregulation and was keen to hear what creative businesses thought could be done to reduce the regulatory burden they face.  A number of us noted that the need to spend money tackling online copyright infringement represented a burden – and one which should better be shared with online intermediaries.  Ministers are clearly in the market for more thoughts on how to improve business conditions in the UK, and The PA will be canvassing further views in the near future. 

Open Access

HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, has announced an important change in its open access policy.    Initially HEFCE had stated that to be compliant with its policy a paper would have to be deposited at the point of acceptance by a publisher.  In a reversal which is welcomed both by universities and The PA, the requirement will now state that deposit must occur at the point of publication – or within three months.  The PA had previously campaigned to HEFCE for exactly such a change but to no avail. There is no press release on the HEFCE site as yet but The Russell Group press release commenting on it is here. 

Ebooks show Resilience to Online Infringement

In the latest – the fifth - publication of the IPO’s survey of online content access, the publishing market showed again that it is suffering less from infringement than other sectors.  20% of UK internet users confess to access works illegally online, but within this figure only 1% accessed ebooks illegally.  In terms of users who access ebooks online, only 6% do so illegally – whereas the balance of infringement is 26%  for music , 25% for film and 21% for TV.  The full survey – which has loads of really interesting data – can be read here. 

Repeal of Section 52 CDPA – proposed timing of implementation revoked.

Following comprehensive consultation, Government decided in March 2015 that the repeal of Section 52 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) will commence on 6th April 2020 (we reported in previous PA’s PA). Following further consideration (and presumably further legal submissions by interested parties) Government has now decided not to proceed with the transitional arrangements leading up to 6th April 2015  and carry out a fresh consultation on the timing of the implementation of the repeal of Section 52.  As a reminder, current Section 52 CDPA contains an exception limiting copyright protection for certain artistic works when they have been industrially manufactured. Government decided to remove this exception in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. 

UK High Court quashes UK private copying exception

As reported last month, the UK High Court ruled that the private copying exception introduced into legislation in 2014 following the Hargreaves review was unlawful.  At the end of last week, the High Court went on to determine that the exception should be quashed.  It had mulled over making a reference to the Court of Justice of the EU, but to the delight of rightsholders, and no doubt the disappointment of lawyers, and the relief of UKIP, it has determined that it can make this decision without kicking the decision upstairs to Europe.  So, as of now, the UK is returned to the position before October 2014: copies of copyright works made for personal use will be infringements, unless otherwise licensed.  We await to see what the IPO makes of this: does it try and reintroduce the exception but with a compensation mechanism as required by EU law, or drop the whole idea.  Professor Ian Hargreaves, whose great idea this first was, was unavailable for comment as we went to press.

The complete decision of the UK High Court (you know you want to…) dated 17 July 2015, is available here. 

This week we have:

Attended the Digital Single Market round-table meeting with the IP Minister; met with the new non-executive director of the CLA, Phillip Graf; met with the Society of Chief Librarians and the RNIB; attended the IP Crime Group meeting and met with PIPCU; liaised extensively with colleagues across EU on the development of the copyright exception for education. 

Next week we will be:

Attending the go-live launch of the Copyright Hub, with the IP Minister.