According to a UK-IPO press release issued today, a new consultation has been launched in respect of certain copyright exemptions applying to playing recorded music in public. More details, including some proposed changes to various sections of the (already much amended) CDPA 1988, are available from the UK-IPO here.
The UK-IPO say (with IPKat links added):
"The Government is aware that some exemptions in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 may not be working well in maintaining the correct balance between the interests of music rights holders and users [IPKat comment: i.e. music rights holders think they don't get paid enough, while users feel confused and ripped off]. The sections to be reviewed are sections 67 and 72(1B)(a) and paragraphs 15 and 18(1A)(a) of Schedule 2 to the Act. The Government also proposes to repeal sections 128A and 128B which relate to the operation of section 72.
The exemptions principally allow not-for-profit and charitable organisations, in certain specific circumstances [IPKat comment: i.e. hardly ever and, if the collecting societies get their way, never], to play copyright sound recordings in public without being required to pay a licence fee for use of those sound recordings or the performances they contain."
The consultation document itself details three proposals, summarised as follows:
"Option 1 will repeal the exemptions, giving right holders exclusive rights over the public playing of sound recordings in all the circumstances which are currently exempt.The IPKat notices that there is no option 0 for leaving the Act exactly as it is, nor is there an option 4 for making the exemptions more sensible and workable by (for example, and just off the top of his head) making them apply to the whole range of copyright works relevant to performances in public, rather than just a limited and confusing subset. Option 1 would obviously be going too far in the interests of the music industry, and option 3 would just be far too complicated and subjective to work in practice, even though academic-types might prefer it. Option 2 therefore looks like the one that will be actually implemented, and probably regardless of any submissions in response to the consultation. However, if you want to try your arm at engaging with the consultation anyway, you have until 31 October 2008 to do so.
Option 2 will narrow the scope of the exemptions so that they are only available to small charities. It will also extend the exemptions so that they apply to both the PRS licence and the PPL licence. The exemption from both licences may also be extended to some limited uses of recorded music by NHS trusts.
Option 3 will remove the exemptions but right holders will only be able to charge royalties at a rate which is considered to be fair to both them and the users. This is referred to as equitable remuneration.
We also propose to remove the mechanism, introduced in 2003, whereby the Secretary of State can refer PPL licences to the Copyright Tribunal for adjudication."
More ways to waste your time here, here and here.
A consultation has also been launched on whether to extend the UK's derogation relating to the Artists' Resale Right, closing on 22 September 2008, but the IPKat suspects that hardly anyone will care.