International Media & Archive Consortium warns of Judicial Review over UK Government plans to weaken copyright
15/01/13 10:30 Filed in: Campaign Progress
A consortium of the world’s largest news agencies, commercial licensing companies and commercial audiovisual archives has today called on the UK Government to rethink its plans to weaken UK copyright law and its use of secondary legislation. The Government’s proposals are being implemented through the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill, currently being debated in the House of Lords.
Controversially, the Government proposes to make wholesale changes to UK copyright law via secondary legislation and without the benefit of Parliamentary scrutiny, which includes time for public review and comment. The consortium has delivered a Letter Before Claim to Business Secretary, Vince Cable, which is the first step in the process of initiating a Judicial Review - a formal legal challenge to the Government’s planned legislation and the manner in which it proposes to introduce it.
The consortium includes The Associated Press, Getty Images, Reuters, British Pathé, The Press Association, and the Federation of Commercial and Audiovisual Libraries, who operate advanced digital licensing businesses of content on all formats. The consortium believes that the economic growth arguments originally put forward to justify the Government’s proposals are without basis and has challenged the Government’s plans to introduce its proposed changes through so-called ‘Henry VIII clauses’ - secondary legislation which is not subject to the full scrutiny of Parliament, which includes visibility to the public.
A coalition of more than 70 creative industries organisations has described the proposals as premature, ill-thought-out and constitutionally improper.
This action follows on the heels of:
- the comprehensive demolition of the economic case for the proposed measures;
- unprecedented creative industries opposition to the proposed measures;
- warnings from foreign rights owners that the proposed measures will infringe their rights and breach the UK’s international obligations;
- the chaos of three different Ministers in charge of the Intellectual Property Office within four months;
- an All-Party Parliamentary report which found the Intellectual Property Office lacks effective political oversight and control;
- an inquiry into support for the the creative economy and the impact on the creative industries of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, and the Government’s Response to it;
- the widely reported remarks made by Steve Hilton, former special advisor to the Prime Minister, that 'British bureaucracy masters the politicians’;
- and of course the similar, failed attempt by Instagram to grab its contributors’ property, which has cost it half of its users.
Download the full Press Release