Thursday 25 April 2013

A new dawn for British copyright

Here's how the UK government announced the next batch of law reforms to affect the copyright industries and the creators who fuel their fire: it's a media statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and & Skills and you can read it in its unexpurgated version, plus guidance for editors, here.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform [which rejoices in the acronym ERR] Bill today received Royal Assent. The Act will bring in a new regime giving shareholders more say on directors’ pay, improve dispute resolution through reform of Employment Tribunals, establish the new Competition and Markets Authority and enshrine the aims of the Green Investment Bank [unsurprisingly, copyright never hit the headline -- even a five-line one].
Business Minister Jo Swinson said: 
[the sort of thing that Ministers usually say, i.e. not a great deal].”
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act passed by Parliament today aims to support long term growth through a range of measures which:
  • ...
  • establish a new Competition and Markets Authoritybringing together the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission. This will be the UK’s lead competition authority with wide ranging powers to tackle anti-competitive behaviour, and a faster, clearer and more effective approach to help make markets work well for consumers. The competition regime will sustain fair and dynamic markets, encouraging businesses to set up and invest in the UK [while copyright is not explicitly mentioned here, holders of copyright, including collecting societies and businesses which use copyright, together with various registered IP rights as a way of creating and maintaining market share, may find this supercharged body -- which has a monopoly in dealing with abuse of monopoly -- may focus its attention on their licensing and/or enforcement policies]; ...
  • modernise the UK’s copyright regime to promote innovation in the design industry [on which see Class 99 blogposts here and here], encouraging investment in new products while strengthening copyright protections. Creating a level playing field for collecting societies and the thousands of small businesses and organisations who deal with them by strengthening the existing regulatory regime [Any idea how much this will cost or benefit collecting society members, such as composers? Presumably this was the fruit of evidence-based policy ...]. For the first time orphan works will be licensed  [it will be interesting to see how this is policed].for use; these are copyrighted works for which the owner of the copyright is unknown or can’t be found. There will also be a system for extended collective licensing of copyright works [to be discussed in full at a later stage].;
  • ...
  • create a power to give consumers the right to view and download the data businesses hold on them in an electronic format. This will help stimulate developers to create new data management tools and services [is the right to view and download transferable and commercially exploitable? It would be good to know];
  • ...
The Act has also been a vehicle for a wide range of repeals and reforms to existing law.
Eleonora has also posted a 'breaking news' item, which you can check out on the IPKat here

1 comment:

Les hurdle said...

When are we going to see competition in the UK re PPL PRS MCPS........... the current monopoly is a joke,