Wednesday 22 January 2014

New UK Copyright Laws - coming soon...

 Earlier this week, the House of Commons gave a Second Reading to the Intellectual Property Bill and in doing so, gave a commitment around the new SIs dealing with copyright exceptions.

not the IP Minister David Willetts - a fan of New Order's
"Blue Monday" according to his Labour shadow.
As I am sure readers of this Blog are aware, while the Bill has little of interest to pure copyright lawyers, beyond some technical updating of the rules about recognition of foreign works, it contains some complex alterations to the law of designs and paves the way for the implementation into UK law of the Unified Patents Court.

The debate did however allow MPs to mention their favourite local copyright causes (Ian Paisley Jr referencing Game of Thrones, filmed in Northern Ireland) as well as a chance to raise issues about the joined-up (or not) nature of Government policy on the cultural sectors - and whether the Prime Minister knows who the IP Minister is.

The future of section 73, recently criticised in the TV CatchUp case, as discussed previously on this Blog in the context of the Government's Comms Bill White Paper, was also raised.

Most interesting, in closing the debate, the Minister confirmed the timetable for introducing the Hargreaves Exceptions SIs following the consultation last summer. The relevant extract from Mr Willett's speech reads as follows - with apologies for the slightly arcane parliamentary language:

Several Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mike Weatherley) and the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), asked where we are on copyright exceptions and what the next stages will be. There has been a consultation process on these provisions. It is correct to say that it has taken a long time; it is a complicated question. Given the technical nature of some provisions, we put out some draft regulations for further consultation, adding another stage to the process. 

*At this point there was a random interruption about the copyright status of the Simon & Garfunkel version of Scarborough Fair, which is not included in this Blog post - you need to read the entire debate to understand the interruption which was part of a running "joke" through the debate - although the discussion missed the real copyright story about how Paul Simon took and adapted the great British folk guitarist Martin Carthy's version of the song without acknowledgement*

What the Government intend [sic - surely there is only one government?] to do on copyright exemptions is to lay down the regulations in February, and they will then be subject to a debate under the affirmative resolution procedure. We understand the need for individual consideration; the regulations will not be completely bundled up.

This Blogger believes the last sentence means we will have a series of Statutory Instruments not just one, but how many is anybody's guess.

1 comment:

Sandy Crawley said...

It sounds as if there may be a meaningful debate. We tried to have one in Canada but were unable to get any of the mainstream political parties to truly champion the perspective of rights holders. Everyone pays lip service to the rights of creators and then, more often than not it seems, proceed to implement laws and regulations that eviscerate our economic rights in practice.