Copyright Briefing Note
Copyright Licensing Agency – July 2014
- Regulation overview
Two main pieces of legislation have been passed at the national and European level in the last year, both of which impact upon copyright collecting societies in the UK. These are the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Act (passed in April 2013) and the EU Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive (passed in February 2014).
Several of the provisions arising out of this legislation relate to the functioning of collecting societies. Provisions for the licensing of orphan works, the legitimising of Extended Collective Licensing and the regulation of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) are of particular relevance.
- Implications of regulation
The implications of recent legislation for UK Collective Management Organisations are significant as they necessitate greater transparency in the operation and membership arrangements of these societies. UK CMOs pre-empted the new regulations by introducing a system of self-governance under the auspices of British Copyright Council (BCC). The BCC established a Working Group on Principles of Good Practice for CMOs, charged with developing a framework that would ensure that these standards were met. All UK CMOs agreed to introduce codes of conduct that would ensure they meet the standards of transparency required by the EU CRM Directive. These were already in place in all of the working group’s member organisations when the EER Act was passed in April 2013.
The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) played a leading role in the establishment of this system. Kevin Fitzgerald chaired the Working Group and worked to ensure its outcomes met the requirements of the regulations. An Independent Code Reviewer, appointed to conduct an objective review of the success of CMOs in following their codes of conduct, published a report in April of this year which gave BCC member organisations a clean bill of health.
- Future copyright debate in the EU
The new EU parliament commences in the autumn and brings with it expectations of further copyright reform. An EU white paper on copyright is expected to be released this summer and will highlight those areas of particular interest for the next five years of policy debate. The role of copyright in the digital single market will continue to play a central role in these discussions. Attention is expected to be paid – though not limited – to the following areas:
- Facilitating cross-border licensing with a view to reducing the number of collecting societies encountered by users;
- Harmonisation of terms across member states;
- Legislation to clarify the relationship between copyright and technology, particularly digitisation of publicly available content, hyperlinks and non-commercial data mining.