Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) [SCE 021]

PPA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the Support for the creative economy.

1. Executive Summary

· UK magazine brands are worth £5.63 billion.

· Publishing employs 114,000 people in the UK.

· 4 in 10 globally downloaded and purchased digital magazines are produced by UK magazine publishers.

2. About PPA

2.1 PPA is the trade body for UK magazine, journal, and business media information publishers. A full list of PPA members is available at: http://www.ppa.co.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/ppamembers/index.html.

2.2 PPA’s membership consists of some 200 publisher members who publish globally renowned and respected consumer, customer and business products, journals, data and directories, in addition to conducting research, organising conferences and exhibitions.

2.3 PPA members offer print, digital and online publications and services, including websites, apps, online and digital versions of print publications, and publications and data only available online or digital channels. UK magazine publishers are global leaders: 40 per cent of digital magazines downloaded internationally are produced by UK magazine publishers.

2.4 PPA members are significant contributors to the UK creative industries. The total value of the UK magazine and business media industry is estimated at over £5.63 billion. The UK publishing industry directly employs 114,000 people [1] .

2.5 We are surprised that the Committee decided to focus on a small group of industries, ignoring UK companies that are embracing and innovating with digital technology. Digital magazines and products produced by PPA members have as much in common with music and film as newspapers and books. They contain rich, interactive experiences, both editorially and in their advertising. Whereas for other parts of the publishing and creative sectors, digital is just seen another route to market, magazine brand publishers see it as another platform on which to innovate. Publishers are producing Apple Newsstand specific products, rather than putting a product in a different form.

2.6 The shift in consumer behaviour and consumption patterns creates both challenges and

opportunities for UK publishers. Historically, the route to market was through newsstand and subscription sales of the printed product; publishers now operate on multiple platforms on a variety of devices through a number of channels.

3. The impact on the creative industries of the independent Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, and the Government’s Response to it. The impact of the failure, as yet, to implement the Digital Economy Act, which was intended to strengthen copyright enforcement. The impact of proposals to change copyright law without recourse to primary legislation (under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently before Parliament).

3.1 In addressing the recommendations made following the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, PPA has concerns that the question of "whose growth" has not been tested against the reality of world leading examples from within UK copyright based creative industries (including magazine and periodical publishing).

3.2 A holistic approach is needed when developing policy strategy to promote the continued growth and world leadership within the UK creative industries. Issues such as access to finance for business, the provision of tax breaks and incentives to support development and technical innovation and ensuring the broadband speeds within the UK are competitive in global terms, must be addressed alongside the effectiveness of the IP framework.

3.3 The UK should lead by example in terms of developing standards for the protection and effective enforcement of copyright within the online world. The Digital Economy Act provisions are examples of this. Unauthorised online use of PPA members’ publications is now threatening investment in, and the growth of, online applications that provide choice and diversity for consumers.

3.4 T he right to consent to the electronic communication of copyright works is becoming a vital part of new online business models and must be protected. Magazine and business media publishers are increasingly making publications available to consum ers and businesses "on demand".

3.5 The detailed work previously undertaken by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) regarding possible changes to the scope of educational and library preservation copyright exceptions should be followed up using the flexibility that already exists within EU legislation. Such an approach is preferable to a US-style "fair use" doctrine. The lack of legal precedent in defining the scope of "fair use" relevant to law within the UK is likely to increase burdens for rights owners and users. This is because they will have to turn to the courts for interpretation of "fairness" within the scope of a new doctrine. Rather than promoting creativity and innovation by new businesses, fair use favours existing large businesses who can afford to litigate.

3.6 Instead of a fair use approach, it is important that the Government acknowledges that the scope of exceptions, such as the educational exceptions currently permitted under s.35 and s.36 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), can be addressed within flexibility afforded by both International Copyright Treaties and the EU law linked to their implementation.

3.7 What is currently clause 66 (formerly clause 57) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill raised concerns within PPA membership about the potential scope of its application and the process by which copyright Regulations relevant to the future scope of copyright limitations and exceptions might be drawn up and applied in law. Government amendments laid for the Report Stage in the House of Commons helpfully clarified that changes under the provisions of the clause will be limited to EU law (and not exceptions that rely upon non-EU rules (such as recognition of a right to public performance)). The amendments have been welcomed by PPA in that they provide a clearer statement about the intent of the clause. However, for publishers, concerns remain about the process by which Regulations may be published pursuant to the Regulations.

3.8 PPA would expect the following points to be addressed as clause 66 (formerly clause 57) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill continues its process through Parliament. Reassurance is needed about preparation and publication of Impact Assessments that link to possible Regulations linked to specific elements of the optional exceptions under Article 5 of the EC Copyright Directive. These individual Impact Assessments must appropriately cross refer to others that may be relevant to other SI's under consideration. If, as a result of such publication, Parliamentary Counsel argue that one set of Regulations should cover more than "one" issue - then appropriate cross reference back to the individual Impact Assessments must be possible. As little "bundling" as possible will be important to avoid "blurring "impact, whilst also protecting transparency and consistency whenever possible. A reasonable time must be allowed between publication of the above Impact Assessments and release of proposed Regulations for implementation from 1 April or 1 October in any year.

3.9 "Timetabling reassurance" within any process for the publication of any proposed new Regulations reliant upon clause 66 (formerly clause 57) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will particularly important for stakeholders as rights owners await publication of updated Impact Assessments linked to proposals under consideration following the Government’s recent Consultation on Copyright, and possible changes to scope of copyright exceptions and limitations.

4. Ways to establish a strong skills base to support the creative economy, including the role of further and higher education in this.

4.1 PPA committed to working in partnership with Academic institutions and members are keen to help inform course content to ensure it meets employer needs. Our accreditation scheme ensures courses are up-to-date and helps secure employment for graduates. Access to academia is piecemeal, however, and there is resistance to employer engagement and inclusion of "practical skills" in academic provision. Those courses that do work with us value the service and insight we provide.

5. The work of the Creative Industries Council and other public bodies responsible for supporting the sector.

5.1 Creative Skillset has disbanded the Council that used to represent the Publishing Industry leaving without informed, employer comment on its activities. Publishing has been part of Skillset’s footprint for some four to five years and there has been very little tangible benefit to employers from the relationship. Indeed, Skillset has duplicated much of the work already being done by employers and PPA around careers promotion and accreditation, and much needed projects (research; support for diversity mentoring) have not received support or funding.

5.2 It would be fair to argue that the Creative Industries Council (CIC) does not represent the breadth of skills, talent, businesses and products produced by UK magazine brand publishers. There is not a single representative on the CIC from this part of the creative industries.

5.3 It would seem that the output of the CIC has been limited at best, and its remit and role are poorly defined. It should be the place for trade associations, businesses, and industries  that have a commitment and are based within the UK.

November 2012


[1] PPA analysis of the Periodicals and Journals Industry based on Annual Business Inquiry

Prepared 17th November 2012