Yet More New Copyright Developments

Copyright is as much in the news as ever.  Here is a round-up of some of the latest copyright developments:

In the UK, the government has launched a consultation to hear views on using the power in section 170(2) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This would enable it to reduce the duration of copyright in certain unpublished works, which currently remain protected by copyright until the year 2039, regardless of the age of the work.

The consultation invites views and seeks evidence on the potential impact of the proposals. Evidence is particularly asked for on:

  • the estimated number of works subject to the 2039 rule
  • the proportion of such works for which the rule inhibits publication
  • the potential number of works which would be published if the rule were removed.
  • the scale of administrative burdens currently shouldered by cultural institutions in relation to 2039 works
  • the benefits to institutions of the removal of the 2039 rule
  • quantifiable costs to copyright owners.

Responses should be sent to [email protected]

In Europe, the Legal Affairs (JURI) committee of the European Parliament which considers matters relating to copyright has announced two new initiatives:

1)      A creation of a working group on IP Rights and Copyright Reform.  This will be co-ordinated by Jean-Marie Cavada, a copyright-friendly MEP from France.  It will meet once a month and hear from experts.    

2)      An implementation report on the Information Society Directive (formerly the Copyright Directive) which will be led by the Parliamentary Research Unit and include an impact assessment.  

Meanwhile, in China the country’s first Intellectual Property Court has been launched. Following announcements earlier in 2014, the Chinese government opened the first court in Beijing. Further courts will be set up in Guangzhou and Shanghai. The courts will be responsible for most IP issues, specialising in patents and trademarks and software issues. Civil cases concerning copyright will probably stay in the Basic People’s Courts. The courts in Beijing dealt with 15,000 IP cases in 2013, a figure that is expected to increase substantially in 2014 and 2015.  

Last but not least in this copyright round-up, the seventh edition of Lynette Owen’s incomparable guide to Selling Rights was published in November.  Long recognised as the leading guide in its field, this edition contains, among much else, new material on Creative Commons and Open Access, a consideration of the effects of the Digital Economy Act (2010), the implications of adding e-book rights to print licences and a section RROs and collective licensing, as well as fully updated advice on the full range of potential rights as they are governed by current legislation.  More information can be found here about Selling Rights and you can obtain your copy from The Great British Book Shop, by clicking here.