Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Periodical Publishers Association


  The Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) welcomes the Committee inquiry into the challenges and opportunities for the creative industries arising from the development of new media platforms.

  The challenges and opportunities directly relevant to the inquiry are a daily part of the lives of the PPA and its members. Publishing is at the heart of the creative industries. The European Commission is reviewing the current classification of the economic activities which fall within "publishing". Whatever changes are eventually agreed, it is clear that publishing of magazines, journals and periodicals will remain at the heart of the sector. The question of how they will be published in the future is central to the issues to be addressed by the Committee.

  The PPA is the trade body for UK magazine publishers. The association's membership consists of some 500 members who publish or organise over 4,300 products or services. These include over 2,500 consumer, business and professional magazines. PPA members also produce a large range of directories and websites, in addition to organising conferences, exhibitions and awards.

  Many PPA members offer online services, including websites, online versions of print publications and publications only available online, or through electronic transmission. Online publications also encompass consumer, business to business and contract magazines, and increasingly involve the use of new electronic rights management systems to help improve the provision of publications and services to subscribers.

  Increased use of digital technologies is having a significant impact on the way in which magazine publishers compile and design their products and services, and subsequently publish and make available their goods and services to customers and individual consumers.

  Ultimately, consumers and rights holders share the same objectives, involving affordable access to a wide range of content to satisfy effective demand for consumption across an ever increasing number of delivery platforms and devices. The successful use of new technologies (or "new media") embracing delivery platforms, electronic rights management systems, and technical protection measures will help to support these ambitions, stimulating new business models and creating opportunities for business to offer more choice to the consumer/citizen.

  This choice is proving increasingly important for the UK economy. Creative Industries are recognised as one of the economy's fastest growing sectors, contributing over £53 billion to the UK in 2002, accounting for 8% of GDP; supporting 1.9 million jobs and growing at an average of 6% between 1997 and 2002, double the rate of the economy as a whole.

  In 2001 the publishing sector generated 0.82% of United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product (compared to an EU average of 0.48%. Across the EU-25 the sector employed nearly 750,000 people, in almost 64,000 companies. Small and medium sized enterprises (1-49 employees) represented 97% of all publishing companies in the EU, but the 0.8% of companies which employed more that 250 people accounted for more that half of the total turnover of the sector.

  The PPA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Committee's inquiry and would be pleased to provide further evidence, written or orally to the Committee in support of the points raised in this response.


  A.  Media Policy for the publishing sector must increasingly take into account the way in which the industry interacts with other creative industry sectors, particularly those providing other information society services.[59]59 Access to the Internet and online services is providing consumers with information search facilities at the touch of a button. This allows publishers to provide links to detailed information on topics which might not have been possible within the editorial constraints of a traditional magazine. Options for readers can be developed using on line technology which provide greater choice over the way that consumers may wish to discover and research information available through the publication. Easy access to archive articles and information being made available on line also provide opportunities for consumers to research background and learn more on specialist topics using services which they trust and are familiar with.

  B.  Consumers and businesses are now benefiting from the flexibility that digital technology affords for transmission of content. The same service can now be received over an increasing range of devices. Digital "convergence" is enabling new on line magazine services to be delivered on line to portable and mobile devices in addition to television sets. This increases choice for consumers. But just because online magazines can be delivered to consumers as part of this wider range of services does not mean that any regulation of the content of such publishing services should be treated in the same way as, for example, a television broadcast service traditionally regulated under the Television Without Frontiers Directive. Divisions between the nature of creative industry services which are understood by consumers must remain both for effective future application of regulatory regimes, and the way that intellectual property supports the effective licensing of content within services to which regulation or self regulation applies.

  C.  The European Commission's latest study into the publishing sector must be reviewed, and based upon a fully up-to-date analysis of the publishing industry.

  D.  Digital technology, and the opportunities which it affords for business and consumers, has also brought into focus the vital importance of maintaining an effective legal framework for the protection, licensing and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It is crucial that this importance is understood and appreciated across government. Cross departmental initiatives such as the IP Crime Strategy and the recent announcement by the Chancellor concerning the Gowers review into the UK's intellectual property framework are welcome. Continued close links with representatives across the creative industries is vital if these initiatives are to work effectively. It is hoped that the Committee will endorse and encourage this.

  E.  Technical protection measures and rights management information systems are central to enabling digital technology to provide increased choice and opportunity for both consumers and business.

  F. The PPA believes that the legal protections for "Digital Rights Management" already recognised in law at both European level and within EU member states should be maintained,60[60] in order that industry can develop and offer an increasingly diverse choice of products and services for the consumer, including on line and digital publications.

  Effects of unauthorised reproduction and dissemination of creative content, particularly using new technology; and what steps can be taken—using new technology, statutory protection or other means—to protect consumers.

  A. Government should support improved education and awareness to all consumers and in particular citizens about what "intellectual property" actually is, and why it is important to them. In this context it is important that people understand better how intellectual property is really relevant to their lives both culturally and potentially economically.

  A good example of the need for education and awareness concerns the real scope of products which might fall under the generic description of "Digital Rights Management". The PPA has recently set out its more detailed views on this topic in its submission to the All Party Internet Group.61[61] Such education will help ensure that consumers are better informed about the ways in which such products can work to improve efficiency, and provide for consumer choice.

  B.  Copyright exceptions and limitations are traditionally applied in law only in special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of a work or other subject matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of a rights holder. This flexible test has worked well to enable and accommodate recent rapid technological developments and should continue to be recognised and observed.

  C.  No specific right for libraries to circumvent technological protection measures is necessary in the light of the discussions which are taking place between representatives of both libraries and rights owners, who recognise the mutual interest in ensuring the right environment to stimulate creativity and invest in new work in the future.

  D. Rather than new rules extending the grounds for technical protection measures, and other DRM solutions, to be overridden in the interests of access for specialist groups, voluntary systems backed by copyright owners must be allowed to develop. It must be remembered that it is in the commercial interests of publishers to ensure that consumers are not alienated, and that effective demand for their products and services is maintained.

  E. The market for DRM solutions is a nascent one. There are few nascent technologies for which there are not initial technical problems. Government and Parliament should continue to monitor developments in the marketplace, and the way that new technical protection measures and rights management information systems are brought to market, but recognise the careful balance of interest established by the framework already provided for under the EC Copyright Directive.

  F. Digital technology, and file sharing, have brought with them opportunities for the unauthorised use of copyright works, including articles and magazines, at levels which would have been unthinkable of 50 years ago. The speed and anonymity of access to unauthorised material in the on line environment has provided real challenges to all sectors of the creative industries, including the magazine industry. The valuable work of the IP Crime Strategy and its links with industry through the National Intellectual Property Crime Group should be noted and supported by the Committee and the industry.

  G. The level of resource currently allocated by Trading Standards and other authorities for enforcement of copyright remains a concern. But the harm being caused to the economy as a whole through unauthorised use of intellectual property is now being recognised though the cooperative work of enforcement agencies and industry. Implementation of s107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to give Trading Standards Authorities a duty to enforce copyright offences recognised in section 107 of the Act remains an important outstanding issue. Balancing action for enforcement with the education and awareness campaigns about the value of copyright and other intellectual property will be important. The Committee is urged to support implementation as soon as possible.

  The extent to which a regulatory environment should be applied to creative content accessed using non-traditional media platforms.

  A.  The PPA supports the current review of the Television Without Frontiers Directive.62[62] However, the PPA believes that broadcast services, which are licensed, enjoy a unique position in our information society. Regulations that apply to push-services are proportionate and necessary solely within that context. Such a regulatory regime does not incorporate unlicensed pull-media such as website publications, and should continue not to do so.

  B.  The PPA does not believe there are grounds for any extension to a Directive such as TVWF if such extension is counter to the principle of proportionality, and such measures would be beyond those which are the minimum needed to achieve the objective of the proper functioning of the internal market. In this respect it is welcome that the latest proposals for amending the TVWF Directive recognise that the Directive does not cover electronic versions of newspapers or magazines.

  C.  PPA believes that the existing derogated regulatory and self-regulatory regimes in Member States for print media are wholly appropriate and proportionate to extend the responsible approach of the paper-based print publications to that of the online media.

  D.  The E-Commerce Directive Article 3 Paragraph 4 (a) (i) already contains suitable provision for derogation such that Member States may not restrict the freedom to provide information society services from another Member State except where such measures are necessary for:

    ...the protection of minors and the fight against any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality, and violations of human dignity concerning individual persons."

  E.  The E-Commerce Directive and the regulations implemented within the UK as a result of this are important for the proper functioning of the developing Internal Market in e-commerce.63[63]

  The ability for new businesses to operate on line without the level of regulatory oversight which applies to the operation of television and radio broadcasting services in the UK has already encouraged diversity and choice of new services for consumers.

  F.  Overall the PPA believes that the existing copyright and other intellectual property regimes within the EU provide for a carefully developed system of rights and exceptions which it would be wrong to alter by changes to Articles 12 to 14 of the Directive.

  G.  The meaning of "hyperlink" and "location tool service" is not defined by the Directive. The Member States which have applied additional provisions to the concept of liability of hyperlinkers and location tool services, may find that they have failed to take account of the way that the concepts have evolved since the Directive was adopted. The range of information services which might include hyperlinks and location tool services is increasing. Some of these may promote unauthorised or other illegal use of copyright or other material in which intellectual property rights exist, to the overall disadvantage of the publishing industry.

  H.  The harmonisation intended by the Directive has already been challenged as a result of some Member States already having included liability limitation cover for hyperlinks, location tool and content aggregation services. This lack of uniformity would be aggravated, if the United Kingdom enacted its own additions to the liability provisions of Articles 12 to 14 at this stage.

  I.  The evolving e-commerce market place needs to distinguish responsibilities for different types of hyperlinks, location tool services and aggregation services. Factors that should be taken into account include: the economic intentions of those providing the links or services; the practical business procedures which are developing; and the importance of the protection and respect for copyright and intellectual property rights.

  Whilst wishing to ensure that copyright, neighbouring rights and other intellectual property rights are left outside the scope of any further review of the E-Commerce Directive the PPA would hope that consultation concerning the wider issues raised by the Law Commission in its Scoping Study 2 relating to defamation and the law of contempt will help to show how limitations of liability in these fields warrant further discussion for automated information links or results of searches. The way in which US law has developed to distinguish intellectual property law provisions from the provisions limiting the liability of information content providers for certain other civil liabilities should be considered in this context. Appendix 4 (not printed here) includes further background to illustrate the concerns.

  Where the balance should lie between the rights of creators and the expectations of consumers in the context of the BBC's Creative Archive and other developments.

  A. The work of the Creative Industries Forum on Intellectual Property64[64] has been important in enabling not only the weaknesses within the current legal framework to be considered and addressed, but also in securing recognition from the government about the importance of helping people, both users and creators, to appreciate the value of "intellectual property" as central to the future health of creative industries within the United Kingdom. This education will play an important role in enabling the right balance to be maintained between the rights of creators and the expectations of consumers as more and more new services are launched in the digital environment to run alongside more traditional media.

  B. The current copyright regime is flexible enough to allow owners to decide upon whether material can be made available for others to adapt and develop.

  C.  The Creative Archive is a new initiative which should provide additional choice for rights owners (and through this) for consumers. However, it is important that such initiatives are properly understood and promoted in context.

  As previously noted, the Creative Archive, and Creative Commons, along with governmental initiatives to widen the availability of information to consumers will, unless users are properly educated, confuse and undermine their perception of the intrinsic value of such information, and lead to the inevitable decline of information publishing as a viable industry.

  Publishers and other rights holders have no long-term incentive to alienate legitimate consumers, or to stifle growth of effective demand for new business models. It would be unfortunate if those who argue that the system for recognising and rewarding the creators of copyright works is outdated, succeed in promoting the current debate as one of rights holders versus consumers—this is not the reality.

  D.  Copyright exceptions and limitations have evolved over time, but the underlying principle established in International Treaties, and more recently within Article 5.5 of the Copyright Directive, must continue to be applied and supported.

  E.  This provides "Exceptions and limitations . . . shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder".

  F. Since the existing regime has enabled rights owners to choose whether they wish to license the use of their works by means of sharing licences such as those developed by Creative Commons, it is unnecessary to make legislative changes to permit them.

17 February 2006

59   59 Government response to EU Commission Staff Working Paper on "Strengthening The Competitiveness of the EU Publishing Sector"-Appendix 1 (not printed here) Back

60   60 See Appendix 2 (not printed here) and the protections afforded by section 296 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended. Back

61   61 PPA response to All Party Parliamentary Internet Group inquiry into Digital Rights Management-December 2005-Appendix 2 (not printed here) Back

62   62 PPA response to European Commission issues paper on rules applicable to audiovisual content services-Appendix 3 (not printed here) Back

63   63 PPA Response to DTI Consultation Document on the Electronic Commerce Directive: The Liability of Hyperlinkers, Location Tool Service and Content Aggregators-Appendix 4 (not printed here) Back

64   64 Government's response available on DCMS website-<au0,2.5> Back

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