The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, together with the Intellectual Property Office, is today "(c) The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age".
This report set out the policies which will drive the UK approach to copyright in the digital age, reflecting how the UK is working to deliver the right solutions at a domestic level and to help drive the agenda on copyright issues in Europe and internationally.
The core objective of "(c) The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age" is to ensure the copyright system supports creativity and promotes investment and jobs while also ensuring that consumers are able to act with certainty and clarity.
Building on the framework for supporting the creative industries set out in the "Digital Britain Report and Creative Britain", its ambition is to set out a copyright roadmap determining the lessons policy makers should take from the present to help decide where we should go in the future.
This copyright strategy will support fair treatment for creators; secure a viable future for rights holders; allow consumers to benefit from the digital age; and create a simpler system for businesses to operate in.
This copyright strategy highlights three principles that need to be kept in mind in order to create a positive environment for copyright owners, consumers and business.
First, copyright is harmonised at a European level and any action pursued domestically needs to be understood within this context;
secondly, a pragmatic recognition that intervention from Government will not be the most useful action in all areas requiring attention, with it being more beneficial for business and copyright owners to pursue many solutions; and
finally, recognition that Government have a responsibility to serve the interests of all participants in the copyright framework.
The strategy develops a number of policy announcements in the "Digital Britain Report", as well as encouraging domestic and international actions, which satisfy these three principles. The strategy states that the UK will:
Enable a system of copyright licensing on an opt-out rather than opt-in basis, as is successfully practised elsewhere in Europe.
Take powers to allow "orphan works" that have no clear owner to be used without fear of criminal liability.
Act to monitor the behaviour of collecting societies.
Encourage creative industries to employ standard contract terms and licences that give creators more control over their work.
Enable business to continue to develop new business models, products and services that better meet customer expectations on utility and price, including making it easier to license copyright works.
Ensure consumers respect copyright by encouraging the development of attractive legitimate services and tackling illicit peer-to-peer file-sharing.
Signal its readiness to consider sympathetically Europe-wide moves to let non-commercial users use copyright works without fear of legal complications.
Inevitably there will be some questions about how this work links in with what we are going to do about tackling unlawful peer-to-peer file-sharing. On unlawful file-sharing I am intending to make clear our intention to go ahead with legislation in this area which will establish a proportionate, but effective, way of reducing significantly the level of online infringement which is causing such damage to our creative industries. The approach of requiring internet service providers to send notifications to subscribers identified by rights holders as unlawfully file-sharing, and collecting data on the number of notifications sent to each subscriber which the rights holder can obtain via a court order, has been debated for some time, as has the imposition of technical measures should that approach not produce the results anticipated.
What I will also make clear, however, is that temporary account suspension could be included in the measures taken, something that we floated as part of a Government statement on 25 August 2009. Additionally I will make it clear that we are not expecting the whole cost to fall on internet service providers, but on the basis of a flat fee approach costs will be shared so that both sides can plan and budget. The full details of what we are intending, and the official response to the consultation that closed on 29 September 2009 will be made clear when the legislation is published next month.
The two policies are complementary. It is right for Government to intervene on unlawful file-sharing to help create the space in which innovative business offerings can emerge. But it is also right that this should be done against the background of a fair deal for all parties. Creators and those who invest in creativity must receive a fair reward-the creative industries are built on that precept-but we also need to move to reinstate the respect that copyright should command from reasonable law-abiding people. Without that respect we-and the creative industries-face a much harder struggle.
Copies of the "Copyright Strategy" will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Ministers received an update on process going forward to St. Andrews. The Council agreed a terms of reference on climate finance, exit strategies and the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth which the Swedish presidency will take forward to the G20 meeting as the European contribution.
ECOFIN agreed a set of conclusions outlining the principles for design of fiscal exit strategies, reiterating that continuing support for the economy was essential until recovery was established. Ministers also agreed on the need for comprehensive structural reforms to provide the right framework for future sustainable growth and for strengthened national budgetary frameworks.
Ministers held a discussion on financing aspects of climate change. This will be further discussed by the October European Council.
Ministers took stock of the significant progress made in negotiations on the creation of a new regulatory and supervisory architecture for the European Union. ECOFIN agreed that ongoing national
parliamentary procedures must be respected, and concluded that the EU should continue to aim for agreement on the complete supervision package by the end of 2009 in order to have the new system in place as soon as possible.
The Government recognise the benefits of this new system, as set out by the June European Council, for Europe to improve regulatory and supervisory systems for the future and to provide a global lead on regulatory reform. The Government will work to ensure agreement by the end of the year.
Ministers then discussed the draft regulation establishing a European systemic risk board (ESRB) and the draft Council decision entrusting the European Central Bank with specific tasks in relation to the ESRB. The UK maintained its Parliamentary scrutiny reserve on the proposals. The presidency concluded that there was broad agreement on the substance of the proposal of the regulation and would take further steps on the Council decision. ECOFIN will return to this in its meeting in December, when Ministers will also address the proposals for the new micro-supervisory structures.
ECOFIN agreed Council conclusions on the strengthening of EU arrangements to ensure financial stability and provide crisis management in the event of a future financial crisis. ECOFIN will consider this further in its meeting in December.
The Council discussed a draft anti-fraud agreement with Liechtenstein and a draft mandate for the Commission to open negotiations with Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland. The Council broadly agreed on the substance while noting political reservations by Austria and Luxembourg. Discussions will continue at working group level before coming back to ECOFIN in December.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Barbara Follett): The Government have today published the summary of responses to the second phase of our consultation on local spending reports. The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 ("the Act") places a requirement on the Secretary of State to make arrangements for the production of local spending reports and to consult those likely to be affected before making them. The document has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and is available on the Communities and Local Government website at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/about/sustainablecommunitiesact
The aim of local spending reports is to assist local authorities, their partners and the community to promote the sustainability of local communities by providing more information about the public money that is spent in their area.
Considerable interest was shown by respondents in the potential that the mapping of local public spending offers in support of partnership working, the delivery of efficient and high quality local services and local transparency and accountability. We recognise the clear expectation of the majority of respondents that the
local spending reports should, over time, include more information, from a wider range of public bodies. However, the responses to the consultation which dealt with the purpose and content of future reports did not provide a great deal of information on the likely costs and benefits of developing the reports and the precise way in which they could be used.
The Government remain committed to the provision of information on local spending although we must ensure this is useful, to local authorities, their partners and the community they serve and that the cost of producing this is justified by its benefit.
We, therefore, will be considering the findings of this phase of the consultation in more detail together with evidence from the Total Place initiative, Sir Tim Berners-Lee's work on how Government can use the internet to make non-personal public data as widely available as possible, and the responses to the Strengthening local democracy consultation. Once this is completed we will consult on the proposals that arise from the exercise, as required by section 6(10) of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. We will report back to the House before the end of December 2009 on the next stages in developing local spending reports.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr. David Kidney): Today my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord Hunt, made the following ministerial statement:
I would like to inform the House that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is close to concluding its sale process for the disposal of land adjacent to Sellafield in Cumbria.
I hope to be able to announce the successful bidder-who intends to develop the site for new nuclear power generation-shortly.
Proceeds from the sale of this site will be used by the NDA to offset the cost of decommissioning and to further its core mission. A successful outcome of the sale process will further demonstrate that major energy companies are gearing up for significant investment in low carbon energy in the UK.
I will place details of the outcome of this sale process, including the sum raised and the identity of the bidder in the Libraries of both Houses.
Any new nuclear power station development will be subject to the regulatory and other consenting processes.
The land to be sold has been nominated into the Government's strategic siting assessment process which assesses sites for their suitability for new nuclear power stations. The Government will be consulting on their assessment of the sites that are potentially suitable for new nuclear power stations as part of their consultation on the draft "National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation" which will be published this autumn.
The Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Douglas Alexander):
I announced on 16 March, Official Report, column 40WS, a public consultation on options for access to the island. The consultation has now been completed. A report summarising the responses
that were received is now available on the Department for International Development website: http://www.dfid. gov.uk/.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Bach, has made the following written ministerial statement:
On 14 July 2009, the Government announced the beginning of a consultation exercise on draft regulations to support the introduction of means-testing in the Crown Court in January 2010. On 8 June 2009, the Government had announced their intention to extend means-testing to defendants and appellants appearing in the Crown Court.
The consultation exercise on the draft regulations concluded on 6 October 2009, and a Response to Consultation on the draft Regulations and Supplementary Impact Assessment on Crown Court means-testing is today being published by the Ministry of Justice. I am also taking the opportunity today to lay the draft regulations before Parliament. Those that are subject to affirmative resolution will be debated in due course.
Copies of the Response to Consultation and Supplementary Impact Assessment have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Mole): I regret to inform the House that some of the figures in the answer given to Parliamentary Question 276453 on 2 June, Official Report, column 298W, to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) about how much (a) the Department and (b) its agencies spent on car hire in each year since 2001 were incorrect.
When preparing an answer to a current question it has come to light that there are some discrepancies with the data submitted for the previous answer given due to two errors in the transposition of data. The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) has also provided data for the last three financial years, whereas none was given by them for the previous question. They advise that figures are now available following improvements in record keeping and their undertaking of a contract to maintain vehicles on behalf of the Olympic development authority has resulted in an increase in car hire.
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