ORG parliamentary and policy update/2013-w11

< ORG parliamentary and policy update

This is ORG’s Parliamentary Update for 10-15 March 2013.

Official Meetings

Ruth Coustick attended the E-Campaigners Forum in Oxford.

Jim Killock met with ORG's Advisory Council on Tuesday. He met Robert Buckland MP and Oliver Colvile MP about the Communications Data Bill.

Peter Bradwell met the Mobile Broadband Group about mobile Internet filtering.

Consultations and Departments

Home Office: Communications Data Bill

ORG is asking you to let the Home Office know that a full consultation on the basis of a detailed proposal is needed, as the Joint Committee recommended.

Postcode Address File and licensing: consultation by Ofcom

Following the Open Data User Group's call to release the Postcode Address File as Open Data and ORG's recent email action supporting them, Ofcom are consulting on licence conditions.

PDF summary

Deadline: 21 March

CPS consultation on social media prosecutions

The Crown Prosecution Service consulted on their Interim Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via Social Media.

ORG submission

BIS consultation on the "information economy"

"The government intends to publish an information economy strategy this spring. To help develop the strategy, we are calling for views and evidence from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), both technology based and otherwise. This is one of several ways that we are communicating with a wide range of information economy industry suppliers and users."

Deadline: 15 March

IPRED consultation

On civil enforcement of intellectual property rights: public consultation on the efficiency of proceedings and accessibility of measures. The Commission are "gathering specific information on the efficiency of proceedings and accessibility of measures used in the context of civil enforcement of intellectual property rights."

Deadline: 30 March

IPO evidence on format shifting and parody

The Intellectual Property Office has produced three reports on parody and a fourth on format shifting copyright exceptions. These are evidential reports. In relation to parody, one study compares legal regimes to seek commonalities and rationales for a future exception. Two look at the economic impact of parodies on Youtube, and finds some revenue benefits to parodists and the platform, but does not find harm to the originals. This strengthens the case for a parody exception which allows parodies in the commercial sector. The first report says that:

"Parody is a significant consumer activity: On average, there are 24 user-generated parodies available for each original video of a charting single."
"There is no evidence for economic damage to rightsholders through substitution: The presence of parody content is correlated with, and predicts larger audiences for original music videos."

Format shifting is not currently legal in the UK. The Intellectual Property Office is considering a legal change as a result of the Hargreaves Review. This new evidence on economic charging for format shifting rights found little evidence that it was being charged for in markets for ebooks, films and music. This undermines the case for compensation.


Culture, Media and Sport Committee

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is conducting evidence gathering sessions on the 19 March concerning the regulation of the press. Witnesses include Max Mosley and Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley

Government Bills

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill Debate

The House of Lords discussed copyright licensing on the fourth day of Report stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. The debate was lead by Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat) who discussed a provision in the bill whereby the licensing of orphan works (copyrighted works where the copyright owner cannot be contacted) would be allowed even when it is unclear whether the works are still under copyright. Lord Clement Jones prompted a debate on what constitutes diligent search:

“One may wish to be rather clearer about when the duty of diligent search applies, certainly in regulation, because it may not be obvious from the outset that these works are orphaned and in copyright. Some further probing may be necessary on that.”

Extended collective licensing... Another half day of report has been scheduled for 18 March (clauses 77 and 78)

Third reading for the bill has been scheduled for 20 March

Debates and Questions

Cybercrime Question

Chinyelu Onwurah MP (Newcastle Upon Tyne Central, Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the financial effect of cybercrime to the (a) economy and (b) consumer.

James Brokenshire MP(Old Bexley and Sidcup, Conservative), in response, stated that:

“The UK Cyber Security Strategy, published on 25 November 2011, has an objective to tackle cyber crime and make the UK one of the most secure places in the to do business. Improving our understanding of the effects of cyber crime is a key element of the strategy. This includes actions to improve law enforcement capability to understand cyber crime, international cooperation to promote better shared understanding of the threat and the creation of a single reporting mechanism for cyber and cyber-enabled crimes for citizens and small businesses. It also includes the development of closer partnerships with the private sector to improve information sharing on the threats to business.

“In the second year of the programme this work is well under way. For example, by April 2013, all police forces will have a single mechanism for reporting fraud and financially-motivated cyber crime to Action Fraud, which will provide a better understanding of the scale and changing nature of the threat and also the effect on victims. The creation of the National Crime Agency and, within it, a new National Cyber Crime Unit will build a stronger intelligence picture of the effects of cyber crime.“

Pornography: Internet Question

Diane Abbott MP (Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is she will require internet service providers to introduce a default opt-in filter system access to adult content on the internet.

Hugh Robertson MP (Faversham and Mid Kent, Conservative), in response, stated that:

“The Government has, in its response to the Department for Education's consultation on internet parental controls published in December last year, asked all internet service providers to actively encourage people to switch on parental controls if children are in the household and will be using the internet. “Actively encourage” means making the decision of whether to set up parental controls is an unavoidable step for parents.

“In addition, the Government has asked that internet service providers put in place appropriate measures to check that the person setting controls is over the age of 18 and is pressing for all of the information and communications technology (ICT) industries, including retailers and device manufacturers, to work together to develop universally-available, family-friendly internet access which is easy to use.“

Business, Innovation and Skills Copyright Question

Iain Wright MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with representatives of small and medium-sized businesses in the creative sector on potential increases in the regulatory burden following the implementation of the modernising copyright proposals; and if he will make a statement.

Jo Swinson MP, in response, stated that:

“Ministers in this Department have regular meetings with representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises, in which the subject of regulation comes up frequently. The Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my noble Friend Viscount Younger of Leckie, and his predecessors, regularly meet groups interested in the impact of implementing Modernising Copyright. These groups will include people who represent or are themselves small businesses in the creative sector.“

Cybercrime Question

Bob Ainsworth MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding he has allocated under each budget heading to his Department's cyber-security budget in each of the last three years.

Andrew Robathan MP, in response, stated that:

“Cyber security is the responsibility of all personnel within the Ministry of Defence, and we are taking action to treat it as a mainstream task in the way we conduct operations and business. In doing so, we draw on funding from a wide range of sources and budgets. Full details are being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security. However, the MOD is currently investing centrally allocated money from the National Cyber Security programme as an outcome of the strategic defence and security review 2010.”

Communications Data Bill Questions

Julian Huppert MP: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support BAE Systems Detica has provided to her Department in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, (d) 2012 and (e) 2013.

The Home Department and its agencies have received support from BAE Systems Detica through the contracts detailed in the following table: […]

BAE Systems Detica, Communications Capabilities Development programme, 2009
BAE Systems Detica, Communications Capabilities Development programme, 2010
BAE Systems Detica, Communications Capabilities Development programme, 2010
BAE Systems Detica, Communications Capabilities Development programme, 2011
BAE Systems Detica, Communications Capabilities Development programme, 2013

Katy Clark MP: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documents explaining the details of the revised draft Communications Data Bill her Department has prepared and published.

James Brokenshire MP, in response, stated that:

“Alongside the draft Bill, the Government published a range of supporting documents, including Explanatory Notes, a Delegated Powers Memorandum and a Memorandum on its compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, and an explanatory 'Q&A' briefing document. We also submitted extensive written evidence to the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill.

“The Bill and its supporting documents are being revised in line with the Joint Committee's recommendations —the substance of all of which the Government has accepted—and the Government will bring forward legislation in due course. A range of further explanatory material will be published to support the legislative process.”

European Union

EU rejects blanket porn ban

The European Parliament, while approving a report by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality to eliminate gender stereotypes in the European Union, rejected the controversial proposal to ban “all forms of pornography”.

As CNET reported '625 members of the European Parliament voted 368-159 in favour of passing a report aimed at stamping out gender stereotypes in the region, with 98 abstaining. However, the controversial "porn ban" section of the proposal was rejected.'

This rejection has seemingly become a major victory for online freedom, however as Christian Engstrom MEP told RT the result is “a little bit unclear”. Although 'The European Parliament said no to turning Internet service providers into porn police, and they said no to setting up authorities to regulate media,' the European Parliament still expresses support for an older resolution (1997) calling for “statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media and in advertising.”

See EDRi's report.

Law and Legal Cases

Pirate Bay loses appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

In 2009 Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi were sentenced to one year in prison for complicity in sharing, or allowing others to share, torrent files. According to RAPSI the European Court of Human Rights has upheld the Pirate Bay co-founder's criminal conviction for aiding infringement on the Internet'. As Intellectual Property Watch states:

“Neiji and Sunde had asked the Court to declare the rulings of Swedish courts against their operation of the file-sharing service Pirate Bay a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights......The Strasbourg Court in its ruling today unanimously affirmed the right to share even copyrighted material, finding that even sharing for commercial purpose is covered by Article 10. Yet the Swedish Courts had balanced the two conflicting rights of freedom of expression and copyright protection in its judgement. ”

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

ORG contact details

Staff page