Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 11th September 2012.

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Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

(1) if he will take steps to ensure that any transitional periods granted to businesses affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will be granted on a case-by-case basis;

(2) whether his Department plans to offer assistance to firms engaged in the manufacturing and production of replica furniture if they suffer economic disadvantage as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(3) if he will estimate the number of British businesses likely to be economically (a) advantaged and (b) disadvantaged as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(4) what the evidential basis is of the statement in his Department's impact assessment report on the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, that the extensive use made by internet importers of the UK as a staging post for EU-wide sales means that it is likely that a very significant part of this claimed loss could be caused by infringers trading in the UK;

(5) what consultation his Department is conducting on a transitional period for businesses to adapt under the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(6) if he will conduct an assessment of the recent study by Dr Clare McAndrew of potential effects of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on manufacturers, importers and retailers of replica furniture; and if he will publish the results of that assessment;

(7) what assessment he has made of potential changes in the level of litigation relating to copyright disputes as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(8) whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects of the proposed repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on firms currently producing furniture replicas;

(9) what assessment he has made of the impact assessment report from the Intellectual Property Office on the plans to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(10) whether the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will be introduced on the basis of a transitional period to allow firms to adjust;

(11) what assessment he has made of whether firms are likely to close as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; and how many such closures may take place;

(12) whether he has made an estimate of additional costs that may be incurred by businesses as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(13) if he proposes to consult with any of the individuals and businesses likely to be affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(14) if he will publish the research and statistical basis for the cost and benefit analysis of the plans to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 set out in the impact assessment by the Intellectual Property Office;

(15) what factors he plans to take into account when deciding what length of transitional periods should be granted to businesses affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(16) which stakeholders were consulted as part of the impact assessment process for the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(17) if he will estimate any projected change in tax revenue resulting from the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;

(18) if he will estimate the likely effect of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on the number of jobs in (a) manufacturers and importers of replica furniture and (b) other associated businesses;

(19) whether the Intellectual Property Office consulted manufacturers and importers of, and traders in, replicas as part of its impact assessment of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; and if he will publish any representations made as the result of such consultation;

(20) whether his Department consulted about the possibility of applying the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 retrospectively.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

As detailed in the impact assessment on copyright protection for designs:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/docs/c/12-866-copyright-protection-designs-impact-assessment the Government propose to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“section 52”) in order to clarify and update UK legislation in line with EU law.

The Government did not carry out a formal consultation prior to publishing the impact assessment, but it did take into account representations made to it by manufacturers of classic designs who have said that they sustain significant losses as a result of internet sellers who take advantage of the loop hole in the UK legislation to sell unauthorised copies from the far east in the rest of the EU. The Government do not plan to publish these ad hoc representations. It is aware of the work by Dr Clare McAndrew.

The research and statistical basis underlying the cost and benefit analysis for the proposed repeal was set out in the impact assessment and was endorsed by the Regulatory Policy Committee as fit for purpose.

The Government have no current plans to provide further estimates of the impact on jobs or tax receipts on businesses associated with the manufacturing and import of replica furniture. Nor are there any plans to apply the changes retrospectively.

As detailed in the published impact assessment, the number of items which may be affected by the repeal of section 52 is uncertain, but will depend on the exact nature of the transitional provisions, the extent to which the provisions are tailored to individual cases, as well as stock levels, and contractual and licensing arrangements. The repeal may have only limited impact in some sectors, depending on how many rights holders decide to enforce their copyrights and to litigate if necessary, and how far the works concerned are judged to qualify for copyright protection. The Government have no plans to provide direct financial assistance.

The Government will hold a public consultation on the implementation of the transitional provisions. In the meantime, discussions and evidence-gathering with importers, sellers and manufacturers of replica furniture are continuing.

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