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PA's PA 28th August

PA's PA 28th August

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the Labour leadership and deputy leadership contests limped into the final straight with Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson looking the probable victors come 12 September.   

New Peers announced

A raft of new peers have been announced as part of the Dissolution of Parliament Honours List.  The lists from all three parties are the regular mix of ex-MPs, party workers, donors and favoured business figures.  Of interest to The PA is that former Universities Minister David Willetts will be donning the ermine robes as will former Lib Dem Culture Spokesperson Don Foster – both of whom have a strong interest in the publishing industry.  The full list can be found here.   

Digital Single Market update

As part of their digital single market strategy, the European Commission has launched a consultation on the review of the EU Satellite and Cable Directive.  According to the Commission’s website, the consultation is to gather input for the evaluation process in order to assess the current rules, and to seek views on a possible extension of the Directive in light of market and technological developments.  The consultation document can be found here, the Commission’s press release here.  The deadline for responses is the 16th November 2015.  While the consultation is likely to be of greater interest to broadcasters and online service providers, audiovisual copyright owners and creators, and viewers of audiovisual media, the PA’s Policy Group will be reviewing it to ensure there are no implications for publishers of which we need to be aware.  

Select Committee inquiry into Big Data

As with the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, just as Parliament went into recess the Science and Technology Select Committee announced an inquiry into the opportunities and risks of “big data” (ways of handling data sets so large, dynamic and complex that traditional techniques are insufficient to analyse their content) The inquiry will look at whether the Government is doing enough to ensure that UK entrepreneurs can benefit from the data revolution, while looking at issues around data protection and privacy.  Questions posed by the Committee include:

  • the opportunities for big data, and the risks

  •  whether the Government has set out an appropriate and up-to-date path for the continued evolution of big data and the technologies required to support it

  •  where gaps persist in the skills needed to take advantage of the opportunities, and be protected from the risks, and how these gaps can be filled

  • how public understanding of the opportunities, implications and the skills required can be improved, and ‘informed consent’ secured

  • any further support needed from Government to facilitate R&D on big data, including to secure the required capital investment in big data research facilities and for their ongoing operation.

As with the EC consultation noted above, the Policy Group will discuss this and consider a PA response.  The official deadline for submissions is 3 rd September but we have spoken to the Committee Clerk who has confirmed that submissions will be accepted up to the end of September.   

International update

The PA has this week been at the Beijing International Book Fair where Director of Publisher Relations Emma House spoke at a UK-China Investment Forum focusing on inward investment from Chinese publishers into the UK.  Emma also spoke at the London Book Fair Creative Industries Forum which explored the importance of the creative industries, taking the opportunity to highlight how books travel across media and how strong copyright laws are needed to allow this to happen.  Other speakers included Alan Lee, Oscar winning Film Art Director for Lord of The Rings and Carma Elliot, Director China of the British Council. 

Such issues will continue to be discussed next week when Ros Lynch, Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the IPO, travels to China for the UK-China Cop‎yright Week which will see events in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. 


The BBC reports on the announcement that every child in Scotland could be registered for library membership under a new auto enrolment scheme.  Pilots have been launched which will see children automatically issued with a library card either at birth, from ages 3 and 4 or when they start school.  The scheme will also see libraries working with schools and communities to promote the services they offer to families.

And finally…

Word reaches us of a new pro-European lobby group soon to be launched.  CREATIVES for YES will seek to be the home for those in the creative sectors who want to see the UK stay in Europe.  Expect to see many more such groups, on both sides of the debate, launch in the months to cone.   

This week we:

Discussed the progress being made with the text book quality guidelines project with Schools Minister Nick Gibb; met with the British Library; attended the Beijing International Book Fair; discussed current issues facing publishing with The Times; caught up with Lib Dem Culture Spokesman Lord Clement-Jones.   

Next week we will be:

Attending the Publishing Research Consortium Steering Group meeting; planning for the TDM demonstrations we are holding in Brussels in partnership with ALPSP and STM; finalising details of the All Party Publishing Group ahead of Parliament’s return on 7 th September;speaking about the world of work to young people from disadvantaged communities at the Debrett’s Foundation.