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Copyright Reform

Volume 547: debated on Monday 2 July 2012

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Baroness Wilcox, has today made the following statement:

Today the Government are announcing part of their response (“the Response”) to the recent Copyright Consultation (“the Consultation”). These are Government proposals to take powers to authorise orphan works and voluntary extended collective licensing schemes, and put in place statutory codes for collecting societies that do not adhere to voluntary ones.

The Government have considered the responses to the consultation carefully, and intend to legislate as soon as possible. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently going through Parliament provides such an opportunity and the Government plan to lay amendments to introduce these measures in the Committee Stage of the Bill.

The response document sets out the broad parameters that the Government intend to set for these measures, and further information about their intentions regarding the regulation of collecting societies. Subject to parliamentary approval once the necessary legislation is in place, there will be further consideration of the regulations for the authorisation of orphan works and extended collective licensing schemes, generally through consultation. Similarly, there will be further consultation on the regulations for statutory codes of conduct.

The response will be published on the Business, Innovation and Skills, and Intellectual Property Office websites, at: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/response-2011-copyright.pdf and a copy will be placed in the House Libraries. Responses on other issues covered by the Copyright consultation—including the Government’s plans to modernise copyright through changes to the UK’s copyright exceptions and the proposed copyright notices scheme—will be set out in a subsequent document later this year.

The Government have welcomed the views of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on this area of work, and is considering the recommendations, from its recent report “The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property: Where Next?”.

In addition, the Government will be introducing an amendment which will take the form of a power to amend the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 by regulations in order to implement EU directive 2011/77/EU on the term of protection for sound recordings. This power will allow the Government to implement the EU directive while maintaining the current level and scale of criminal penalties for infringement activity applicable under UK law.