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From the Newsdesk

Last week in Parliament

This week, YouGov released their latest poll, showing that the Conservative Party has a 16 point lead over Labour.  Figures are Conservative (40%, no change), Labour (24%, -2), UKIP (14%, +2), Lib Dem (11%, no change) and Greens (4%, no change).  Labour has also gone down to third place among working class voters.

The UK Government has rejected the petition – that attracted over 1.8 million signatures – calling for Donald Trump’s state visit invitation to be withdrawn, however the petition will still be debated in Parliament on Monday, as will the counter petition calling for the visit to go ahead.  Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who has been criticised for expressing that he would not invite Trump to give a speech in Westminster Hall has hit the headlines again this week following James Duddridge MP’s tabling of a no confidence motion.  It has since come to light that the Speaker admitted to students in Reading that he voted to Remain in last year’s EU Referendum, again failing to illustrate impartiality.  It has been suggested that a dozen Cabinet Ministers want to see the Speaker gone, and the Prime Minister has distanced herself from the situation by saying this is purely a matter for MPs to decide on.

Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has spoken in the City of London calling on the British people to ‘change their minds’ about Brexit, claiming that they voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit.  Dubbed undemocratic and arrogant by Iain Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson has also said “I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign”.  Blair also used the opportunity to say that Labour is no longer a credible opposition to the forces that were intent on a hard Brexit.

Trump news: National Security Adviser forced to step down over links to Russia, Trump meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ivanka to play key role in US-Canadian task force for boosting the number of women in business, calls for Kellyanne Conway (Senior White House adviser) to undergo ethics inquiry into promotion of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, Defence Secretary threatens less commitment to NATO, Trump wades in on the Palestine/Israel two-state solution alarming the international community, Trump’s job offer for national security adviser has been turned down, telling Russia to ‘prove it’ to make a friendship work, bizarre 75 minute press conference, aide accuses BBC of ‘fake news’

Search and Copyright Code of Practice

The IPO has now confirmed that there is agreement on the latest draft of the Search and Copyright Code of Practice which Eddy emailed out to you last Thursday. Those on board with the Code are: Microsoft, Google, BPI, MPA and a subset of our own members (who are in a position to respond at the moment with the view that more can sign up under the Alliance banner in future). For business reasons, Yahoo are not currently in a position to enter into a formal agreement. The Alliance, BPI, MPA, Microsoft and Google are putting out a press release Sunday for Monday, and a story will be going up on the Gov.uk website on Monday.

Digital Economy Bill: Report Stage Amendments

As you know, Committee Stage has now been completed in the House of Lords, and some Amendments have been published ahead of Report Stage.  We will be covering the next sitting on Wednesday and will provide an update on any relevant issues to members.  Amendments of particular interest to us are:

LORD ASHTON OF HYDE (Government amendment)

Insert the following new Clause—

“Lending of e-books by public libraries

(1) In section 5(2) of the Public Lending Right Act 1979 (interpretation) for the definition of “lent out” substitute—

““lent out” means made available to a member of the public for use away from library premises for a limited time (including by being communicated by means of electronic transmission to a place other than library premises) and “loan” and “borrowed” are to be read accordingly;”.

(2) Section 40A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (lending of copies by libraries or archives) is amended as follows.

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1ZA) Subsection (1) applies to an e-book or an e-audio-book only if—

(a) the book has been lawfully acquired by the library, and

(b) the lending is in compliance with any purchase or licensing terms to which the book is subject.”

(4) In subsection (1A)—

(a) for “subsection (1)” substitute “subsections (1) and (1ZA)”;

(b) after paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) “e-audio-book” means an audio-book (as defined in paragraph (a)) in a form enabling lending of the book by electronic transmission,”.”

LORD CLEMENT-JONES

LORD FOSTER OF BATH

Insert the following new Clause—

“Remote e-lending

(1) Section 5 of the Public Lending Right Act 1979 (citation, etc.) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2)—

(a) in the definition of “book”—

(i) after “(an “audio book”)” insert “which has been licensed by the publisher on agreed terms for library lending”,

(ii) after “(an “e-book”)” insert “which has been licensed by the publisher on agreed terms for library lending”;

(b) in the definition of “lent out”, for paragraph (b) substitute—

“(b) includes communicating by means of electronic transmission to a place other than library premises”.”

Please note that this amendment was submitted before the Government amendment above

LORD STEVENSON OF BALMACARA

BARONESS JONES OF WHITCHURCH

Insert the following new Clause—

“Code of practice on search engines and copyright infringement

(1) The Secretary of State may impose by order a code of practice (“the code”) for search engine providers with the purpose of minimising the availability and promotion of copyright infringing services, including those which facilitate copyright infringement by their users.

(2) Any order made under subsection (1) must include appropriate provisions to ensure compliance with the code by the providers.

(3) Before imposing the code under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall publish a draft of the code and consider any representations made to him or her by—

(a) search engine providers,

(b) rights-holders and their representatives, and

(c) any other interested parties.

(4) The Secretary of State shall regularly review the code to ensure that it provides the most appropriate mechanism to satisfy the purposes set out in subsection (1).”

However, as you can see above the Code has now been approved by the Copyright Roundtable group

LORD CLEMENT-JONES

LORD FOSTER OF BATH

Insert the following new Clause—

“Transparency and fairness obligations

(1) Authors, artists and performers (“creators”) shall receive on a regular basis timely, adequate and sufficient information on the exploitation of their works and performances from those to whom they have licensed or transferred their rights as well as subsequent transferees or licensees, and the information shall include information on modes of exploitation, revenues generated and remuneration due.

(2) The obligation in subsection (1) may be met by complying with a code of practice collectively bargained between relevant representative organisations of creators and the representative organisations of those who exploit their works, taking into account the characteristics of each sector for the exploitation of works.

(3) Any such code of practice is to provide that each creator is to be entitled to a statement of income generated under such licence or transfer arrangements at regular intervals during each annual accounting period, and provide an explanation as to how the creator’s remuneration has been calculated referencing any contract terms relevant to the calculation.

(4) In the event of failure of a transferee or licensee mentioned in subsection (1) to comply with a code of practice, or in the absence of such a code of practice, the creator shall be entitled to apply to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court

for a detailed account of revenues due to the creator generated from the modes of exploitation referred to in subsection (1), and in the event of failure, the Court may award damages in the amount of any shortfall in the total amount due to him.”

House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee: Future EU digital laws post-Brexit

The European Scrutiny Committee has published a report looking at documents following the UK decision to leave the EU.

Cross-border portability of online content

The Minister for IP, Jo Johnson, updated the Committee on ongoing negotiations, reporting that the Maltese Presidency has produced a compromise text that “represents a sensible middle ground between the Council and Parliament texts”, and that it will “meet the needs of copyright owners, online service providers and consumers”.

  • Confirmed that the Regulation will come into force six months after it is formally adopted, and whilst we remain an EU Member State, during which time consumers will benefit from portable content services
  • It will not be possible to retain portable content arrangements solely through domestic legislation; but that businesses could potentially continue to provide portable content after the UK leaves the EU
  • After the UK leaves the EU “it would be for rights holders and service providers to provide licensing solutions to allow their content to be used in each Member state of the EU in a portable fashion”
  • He explained that key definitions have been tightened:
    • ‘Member state of residence’ is now defined as ‘actual and stable’
    • ‘Temporary presence’ is now defined as ‘limited period of time’
    • ‘Limited period of time’ means ‘for purposes such as leisure, travel, business trips or study’
  • Johnson stated that Parliament’s preference for the verification requirements to be specified in the form of a closed list has been retained (as opposed to the ‘semi-open’ list preferred by the Council)
  • The compromise text allows IP address checks to be periodical rather than random, and also includes an opt-out clause, “which allows verification to be bypassed if agreed by both the rights holder and the service provider”

The Committee has also applied a deadline of 15th March for the Minister to address the following:

  • Will the Government seek the inclusion of portability arrangements in a comprehensive FTA with the EU?
  • After the UK leaves the EU—assuming it does not secure portability provisions in any agreement with the EU—under what circumstances and how would the offerings provided by British content creators and service providers continue to be affected by the Regulation?
  • Has the Government, during its stakeholder consultations concerning Brexit, asked any UK-based content creators or service providers how practical it will be for them to continue to deliver portable content in the absence of the Regulation and whether they intend to do so? If so, what were their views?

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; but scrutiny waiver granted; drawn to the attention of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Exiting the European Union Committee.

GIPC Fifth Annual Index

Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce released its fifth annual IP index.  Although many highly performing countries are missing (e.g. The Netherlands and Norway), the report illustrates that more than half of the countries have raised their overall scores from last year.  Top five ranking countries are the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Sweden.

By-Elections: Stoke Central and Copeland

The Labour candidate for the Stoke Central by-election later this month, Gareth Snell, has faced backlash following his ‘ungentlemanly’ Tweets about women.  Widely predicted to retain the Labour seat, Snell has Tweeted women as being “bitchy”, “sour-faced”, “stupid”, “f***ing annoying” and talked about giving an actress from Coronation Street a “good slap” (note – all of these Tweets were before he became a candidate, but he should really have gone through his Twitter history…).

According to politicalbetting.com, current probability for Labour to win in Stoke is at 62%; and probability for Conservatives to win in Copeland is 69%.  All will become clear next Friday when we find out who won each seat in Thursday’s by-elections (if you haven’t noticed – I love a by-election!)

“Brexit and the future of Europe’s Digital Economies”, Wednesday 1st March 10:00-12:00

Vicky Ford MEP is chairing a public hearing on Brexit and the future of Europe’s Digital Economies (see attached) on Wednesday 1st March between 10:00 and 12:00 in the European Parliament.

Dates for your diary:

20th February 2017 – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2nd Reading HoL

21st February 2017 – APPG Enforcement Inquiry

21st February 2017 – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2nd Reading HoL

22nd February 2017 – Digital Economy Bill Report Stage HoL

23rd February 2017 – Copeland and Stoke Central by-elections!

27th February 2017 – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage HoL

28th February 2017 – ‘Importance of Intellectual Property to the British Economy’ Westminster Hall debate

1st March 2017 – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage HoL

7th March 2017 – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill Report Stage and Third Reading HoL

The Report Stage of Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill is yet to be set

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