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PAN Report: BAPLA Meet With The IPO

Following the report we published on Jan 17th by contributor John Balean — Your Chance to Respond to UK Copyright: The Case for Change — John now reports on the meeting he attended last week organised by BAPLA with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) held at the Wellcome Trust in London.
John’s report for
BAPLA meet with the IPO
At the end last week BAPLA held a very positive meeting at the Wellcome Trust with some of its members and three representatives from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) who are leading the Consultation on Copyright in the areas of Orphan Works (OW), Extended Collective Licensing (ECL), and Collecting Societies.
The BAPLA members present at the meeting represented a broad cross-section of the industry from small, medium and large agencies and it was very encouraging to see all parties productively working together for a common goal in an industry that has often become fragmented over licensing and pricing models.
All of the topics in the Consultation on Copyright were discussed in an intensive working group session but key aspects of Orphan Works and ECL were the put to the IPO. There are differing opinions on how OW and ECL should operate and also a variety of constructive solutions but the consensus on both of these issues (by the BAPLA members present) was that neither Orphan Works nor ECL should be controlled by Collecting Societies, particularly if those Collecting Societies are working as for-profit businesses. It was also expressed that as the money DACS distributes to picture libraries represents only about 1.5% of that sector’s revenue it should not be in the position to be the sole representative of OW or ECL.
The IPO representatives gave assurances that Collecting Societies will not be granted OW or ECL rights unless they can be properly regulated. They also stressed that Extended Collective Licensing is meant to be an “Extension” of the current Collected Licensing that the Collecting Societies do, which means that they would not be granted the ability to licence in an area already covered by direct licensing.
Other interesting points raised were:
– It is possible that by definition a picture library could be classed as a Collecting Society.
– Any publication of an Orphan Work could be unlawful due to international restrictions therefore any open based scheme (internet registry for example) could invalidate the proposal.
BAPLA members also raised:
– that the safeguard of regulating a market rate for OW or ECL could be in contravention of competition laws.
– advances in technology (image tracking) may reduce the spread of Orphan Works and the need for mass rights clearance.
– a mandatory credit would also help reduce the spread of Orphan Works.
– the vital role metadata has in maintaining the connection of an image to its owner.
Overall it was a very constructive meeting and full credit must go to BAPLA for arranging it but the lobbying and discussions will continue to make sure that all of the concerns are addressed.
Again if you are not a BAPLA member (or even if you are) and you want your views heard please be aware that there is IPO event on Extended Collective Licensing & Orphan Works on 27 January 2012 at the BIS Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street in central London, it is important to email your interest Click here for more.