I've written to the intellectual property minister, Lord Younger of Leckie, regarding the decision, this week, to "delay" the implementation of copyright exceptions statutory instruments (SIs) for private copying and parody. These were scheduled for implementation on 1 June 2014.
I specifically draw his attention to the Consumer Focus
report, 'The economic impact of consumer copyright exceptions'.
Dear Lord Younger of Leckie,
In light of the decision this week, of Joint Committee on Statutory
Instruments (JCSI), to hold up the implementation of copyright
exceptions statutory instruments for private copying and parody, could I
ask that you draw the committee's attention to the Consumer Focus
report, 'The economic impact of consumer copyright exceptions'. It was
first published in 2010, republished last year and is available at:
The report itself may be accessed directly at:
Full disclosure - I am an academic at the Open University and was
involved in producing the report, along with colleagues from Oxford
University, Mark Rogers and Josh Tomalin. Mark was terminally ill at the
time and sadly died in July 2011. But he felt the absence of economic
evidence informing copyright policy was hugely important, sufficiently
so to merit a significant chunk of his considerable professional energy.
The report focused solely on copyright exceptions as they relate to
non-commercial, consumer activities. It dealt specifically with private
copy format shifting and parody. We concluded -
Investigating potential economic damage to rights-holders requires an
analysis of how consumer copyright exception could affect the demand for
the original creative work. The processes via which consumer copyright
exceptions influence the demand curve for original creative work can be
complicated. This said, a standard analysis of the demand for creative
works must assume that consumers incorporate the benefit of copyright
exceptions into their demand. A consumer’s decision to purchase is based
on the benefits of the product, including – in the case of creative
work – the value of any copyright exception. In this sense, it can be
argued that a creator automatically extracts value from copyright
exceptions, since these directly influence the demand for the original
The economic evidence that format-shifting, parody and user-generated
content cause any kind of economic damage to rights-holders simply does
not exist. Arguments that support tighter copyright law, or support
Private Copying Remuneration (PCR) systems, tend to confuse economic
damage with consumer value. Any future analysis on this issue needs to
investigate the conditions under which the proposed consumer copyright
exceptions would have any impact on demand for creative work.
I hope that you and the JCSI find the report informs your decision making in this area.