Thursday 6 February 2014

Draft secondary legislation to regulate collecting societies laid in Parliament

More new laws!! 

Slowly, the Hargreaves Report implementation creeps forward, with the latest laws heading for the statute book.   On this occasion, it must be asked whether the new laws will actually change behaviour or help anyone or - well, mean anything really.

The IPO have very helpfully provided on their website a detailed explanation of what has happened, to which there is little to add other than a touch of commentary:

Today (6 February 2014) draft secondary legislation, to be known as The Copyright (Regulation of relevant licensing bodies) Regulations 2014 [snappy - that's the CRRLBR], along with an Explanatory Memorandum and revised Impact Assessment have been laid in Parliament. These draft Regulations have been made using a power in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act External Link. They are intended to support a system of self regulation by collecting societies (the "relevant licensing bodies" in the regulations) by giving Government powers to close any gaps that may emerge in the self-regulatory framework [that's right, support self-regulation by creating statutory regulation]. This should improve the efficiency of collective licensing and strengthen confidence in the operation of collecting societies, delivering benefits for members and users of collecting societies [because we are all more confident in things that the government oversees - like schools, hospitals etc].

The draft regulations have been updated to take account of feedback received from the technical review and further legal scrutiny. The main changes are:

- The ability to require a licensing body to modify only parts of a code of practice rather than having to compile a completely new code (Regulation 2).

- A new condition which gives the licensing body an opportunity to amend its code of practice within 49 days after being notified that it does not comply with the specified criteria. (Regulation 3).

- The time available to a collecting society to submit a compliant code after a direction has been issued by the Secretary of State has been extended to 49 days from 28 days (Regulation 4).

- Clarification of the total amount payable in default fines (Regulation 10).

- The addition of new appeal right which allows an appeal to be made against the imposition of a financial penalty as well as the amount (Regulation 12).

The draft Regulations will be subject to the 'affirmative' approval procedure. This means that they will only become law after they have been debated and approved by both Houses of Parliament. The exact timing of this process will depend on parliamentary workload, but we anticipate the Regulations will come into force on the April 2014 common commencement date. [government speak for the one date in April on which all SIs come into force - or 6 April for those who are more interested in hard facts than concepts.]

For further information please see the draft regulations External Link and consultation.

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