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NS and NPA Brief Lords on Copyright Amendments

Members of the House of Lords have been told that proposed amendments to copyright law contained in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill could seriously undermine the creative industries including newspapers in the UK.

The NS and NPA briefed members of the House of Lords on the importance of intellectual property rights to the newspaper industry ahead of a Grand Committee debate on the proposed new clauses yesterday (Wednesday).

In a briefing note to members of the Lords, the NS and NPA said: “The existence of IP rights incentivises the substantial investments that drive creativity and consumer choice.

“Newspaper publishers are both beneficiaries of copyright and users of copyright-protected material. In our view, copyright law remains fundamentally fit for purpose.

“There is a real risk that unwarranted changes could undermine the creative industries, where the UK is world class and which are an increasingly significant contributor to UK GDP.

“It is important for government to support and nurture the ability of the market to survive and thrive without imposing commercial models or constraining its ability to evolve."

The position paper also counsels against the use of secondary legislation for any changes or additions to copyright, arguing that any changes should be included in primary legislation, thereby making them subject to full Parliamentary scrutiny.

It also calls for a solution to the problem of orphan works which “affords adequate protection to the interest of relevant copyright holders” and calls for additional safeguards for rights holders around extended collective licensing.

Separately, a consortium of international media and archiving bodies such as The Associated Press, Reuters, The Press Association, and the Federation of Commercial and Audiovisual Libraries sent a letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable warning that it would consider challenging the amendments through Judicial Review if they proceeded.

The NS is the voice of Britain’s local media, the UK’s most trusted medium. It represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,700 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels.