Industry news and creative rights developments
Budget Boost for UK: more film tax relief
New BFI 'Locked Box' Revenue Split Benefits Producers, Directors and Writers
Mash-ups parody UK © exception
Orphan creative works UK licence
BFI's New Diversity Guidelines
Planispheres secures European Regional Development funding
ISP email warning letters in the UK to reduce copyright piracy
BFI pilot new producer-distributor Joint Venture scheme
i-Features promoting micro/low budget production and stories outside the M25
Vimeo launch International Distribution Fund
Best Practice Online Guide to Production Accounting
Lord Smith’s independent Film Policy Review: "It's still about the audience"
BFI's International Strategy for UK Films BFI new Board members for 2014: Andrea Wong, Pete Czernin, Jonathan Ross
BFI's 2013 year book
BFI increase investment for research
BFI double investment for new talent Creative England's Production Fund
West Midlands Production Fund
The Film Enterprise Fund
The Innovations and Partnerships Fund
Digital Production Partnership
UK Copyright reform
Success and the Communications Act's 10th anniversary
UK MEDIA Desk's Annual Report: MEDIA in the UK 2012
Enhanced film tax relief and new tax credits for UK high end TV and animationRecent European News
EC white paper due May 2015 - proposals to create EU Digital single Market
European Audiovisual Observatory report on the impact of tax incentives on European film production
European Parliament Adopts Directive On Collective Rights Management for Music
European Court of Justice ruling on hypertext links
Web News Aggregation Services case referred European Court of Justice
European Parliament approves Creative Europe programme 2014-2020
Audiovisual Media Services Directive AVMSD
EU-US Audiovisual Sector 2013 talks
UK and China sign coproduction agreement, UK/Brazil agreement awaits ratifaction, Morocco co-production treaty in force
Film London board appoints three new directors
BFI 10% cut in the funding settlement for 2015-16
BFI's future strategy for 2012 -2017: Film Forever - Supporting UK Film
Creative Industries Council's Access to Finance Working Group Report Dec 2012
British Film Commission and UKTI form a joint venture to extend new film activity and the TV tax credits New VOD regulator - ATVOD
SeeSaw video on demand television service - licensed internationally
OFCOM grant go ahead for new free IPTV platform service - YouviewUKFC closure follows BFI / UKFC merger being off and investment for BFI sacrificed
Pact launches ‘A New Business Model for UK Film’
Channel 4 merges TV and online comissioning
Film 4 invest £15M an extra 50% - boost to Digital Economy Act obligations
House of Lords Report on the British Film and TV Industries
UKFC austerity plans and restructuring appointments
New OFCOM rules for Product placement on UK TV
Creativity, Competitiveness & Enterprise - BSAC Report
Clearer boundaries for BBC Worldwide activity
Television Without Frontiers / Audiovisual Media Services Directive
DCMS 2013 strategy "New Talents for the New Economy"
OFCOM’s Public Service Broadcasting Review
Germany amend film law
Irish Film Board reassured ongoing funding
Korean Free Trade Agreement
EC proposals "Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market"
Copyright & creative rights developments
Digital Britain Report announces key proposals for digital economy
UK copyright consultations: Gower IP Review
EU proposes longer copyright for performers
European Commission revisits plans to reform copyright levy
The National Intellectual Property Enforcement Report
ISAN International Standard Audiovisual Number
Copyright Tribunal Recomendations
British Government's Green Paper on the "Creative economy"
Recent UK News 2016
Digital Single Market
The EU has taken it’s first steps to broaden access to online content and outline its vision to modernise EU copyright rules. ‘Cross-border portability’, will be the new EU right for consumers which is intended to be introduced in 2017. Enabling Europeans to access online content anywhere in Europe while they are traveling, and ensuring that authors and other rights holders are better protected and fairly remunerated. nRef: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6261_en.htm
The EU has also announced that an agreement on Commission's EU data protection reform will boost the Digital Single Market. The final texts will be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council at the beginning 2016. Ref: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6321_en.htm (updated 09.12.15) Back to top
review of TV production sector
The review is the formal response to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport’s request and it covers:
- the changing market context
- the effectiveness of the current regulations
- the impact of production sector regulation on PSBs
- and options for reform including BBC Content Production.
Offcom’s review endorses the existing Terms of Trade and ‘’does not currently see a major case for change”. Ref: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/reviews-investigations/TV-production-sector-review/ (updated 23.12.15) Back to top
and Pact agree proposal for BBC Studios launching in 2017/18
Ref: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/statements/pact-joint-statement (updated 07.01.16) Back to top
UK News 2015
Boost for UK: more film tax relief
The Chancellor has announced the UK's successful Film tax relief will increase to "25 percent for all qualifying core expenditure, for all eligible film productions" and "the distinction between limited budget films and all others will be removed." Subject to EC state aid approval the changes will take effect on or after April 1 or the date of state aid approval (whichever is the later). Previously tax credits were available at 25 % on the first £20m (US$32m) of 'qualifying production expenditures' and after that at 20%, for both small and large budget films. The budget announcements also included reducing the minimum U.K. expenditure requirement for TV and animation productions from 25% to 10%, in line with films. (updated 18.03.15) Back to top
BFI 'Locked Box' Revenue Split Benefits Producers, Directors and Writers
The Filmmakers’ Alliance: Directors UK, Pact and The Writers’ Guild have agreed how the recouped income from BFI productions will be split, with each now being guaranteed a share of 12.5% each up to 37.5% of the BFI’s recouped income. This share of BFI’s recouped income is put into a ‘locked box’, and held to be drawn down for developing and producing future film projects. The guaranteed shares can be to reinvested collectively or independently. The agreement will be reviewed in 2017 and was originally proposed in the Film Policy Review in 2013 and adopted in the BFI's 'Film Forever' 5 year plan. (updated 28.03.15) Back to top
parody UK © exception
A new exception to UK copyright law took effect from 1st October 2014. Previously the author of the original material had to explicitly given permission for its use. Now copyright material can be re-used “for the purposes of parody, caricature or pastiche” without having to ask permission of the original author first. The new limited exception is intended to simplify the law in recognition of US law and realties on the web, but "fair dealing" principals will still apply and copying a whole work without changing it will not be allowed. The original author will still retain UK moral rights and be able to complain about the derogatory treatment of their work e.g. if a parody is disparaging. (updated 01.10.14) Back to top
creative works UK licence
A new licensing scheme announced by the IPO provides greater access to millions of so called 'orphan' creative works where the copyright owner cannot be established or found for films, photographs, oral history recordings and diaries. For info: www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-licence-to-use-an-orphan-work (updated 30.10.14) Back to top
New Diversity Guidelines
A new ‘three ticks’ approach applies to all productions supported by the BFI's Film Fund from 01.09.14 which will also be adapted and rolled out across all BFI Lottery funding for film by mid 2015:
To be eligible for BFI production funding at least one tick is needed in a minimum of two areas for a project:
1. On-screen diversity: diverse subject matter, at least one lead character positively reflecting diversity, at least 30% of supporting and background characters positively reflecting diversity;
2. Off-screen diversity: diverse key creatives (director, screenwriter, composer, cinematographer), at least two Heads of Department from diverse backgrounds, production crew and production company staff (both with a range of targets across different diverse groups);
3. Creating opportunities and promoting social mobility: paid internships and employment opportunities for new entrants from diverse backgrounds, training placements for people from diverse backgrounds, demonstrable opportunities for former trainees or interns to progress within their careers.
To download the Guidelines PDF: www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-film-fund-diversity-guidelines-for-production-2014-07.pdf
secures European Regional Development funding
Planispheres has been selected for European Regional Development funding involving one to one support with the University of Lancaster Management School, and participating with the London Creative and Digital Fusion Project by attending the "Business Model and Value Proposition Tools Workshop" and related events at the Works Foundation in autumn 2014. The European initiative helps creative companies design new business models and supports the expansion of Planisphere's client base. This will also create a strategy for Planispheres growth in London and across Europe. www.londonfusion.org.uk (updated 05.08.14) Back to top
email warning letters in the UK to reduce copyright piracy
From 2015 ISP's in the UK are authorised to send email warning letters to account holders whose connections are believed to have been used to infringe copyright. Alleged infringers could receive up to four warning letters a year. However, the cross-industry initiative is a compromise and the more draconian sanctions including terminating internet access (4 strikes and your out) originally proposed in the draft Digital Economy Act have not being brought into play in the UK. The subscriber alerts programme is one of two key components that will be co-managed and co-funded by ISPs and content creators. The other initiative to be launched in early 2015 is an awareness campaign, led by content creators and part-funded by government, to promote legitimate online content services.
The joint scheme is supported by the Motion Picture Assn (MPA) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), the BBC, Equity, PACT, the Musicians’ Union, the Film Distributors’ Association, ITV; the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Publishers Association and significantly the English Premier League football's governing body. The UK's four main ISP's involved are BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media although other ISP's can join. (updated 19.07.14) Back to top
launch International Distribution Fund
In exchange for an exclusive window to stream films via the Vimeo VOD service, the U.S.-based video-sharing website has launched a €7.25 million distribution fund to support content creators and provide access to online marketing services. All projects that premiere in the top 20 international film festivals qualify to apply for support from the fund. See: https://vimeo.com/ (updated 31.03 14)
pilot new producer-distributor Joint Venture scheme
Six project pilots in 2014 will see UK distributors and BFI funded producers split minimum guarantees and revenues. The BFI is looking to 'test' the new business model across genres and budgets as well as partners which will allow the producer to invest BFI film production funds as their contribution, up to 50% of the UK distribution MG in a project. Then in return for sharing the UK distribution risk, the distributor will allow a 50% share of their net revenues to be held in a locked box' by the BFI which the producer can reinvest in future productions. Ref: www.bfi.org.uk/film-industry/joint-venture-scheme (updated 28.02.14) Back to top
promoting micro/low budget production and stories outside the M25
Creative England’s initiative supported by the BBC, the BFI and Creative Skillset requires creative writer director producer teams with professional experience and positive attention for their previous work. Sixteen projects will be selected for initial development and investment of £3,000. Of those 8 projects will go on to a full development involving £12,000 along with further script and packaging work. Now in its third round, the latest scheme launched on the 27.01.14 and applications closed on 14.03.14. Ref: www.ifeatures.co.uk/ (updated 31.01.14) Back to top
Practice Online Guide to Production Accounting
This new central reference point covers every aspect of production accounting, from pre-production and forecasting, through to taxation, filming overseas and payroll. The free guide avaiable to download at www.productionguild.com/productionaccounting
Endorsed by broadcasters and production companies in the UK along with the Production Guild of Great Britain and the Production Accountancy Forum, these useful resources are produced and made available to anyone in production. (updated 28.02.14 Back to top
Smith’s independent Film Policy Review: "It's still
about the audience"
The review published in January 2014 sets out current progress against the original 2012 Film Policy Review recommendations for UK film. Which includes encouraging the BFI to use it's industrial weight along with balancing it's cultural, educational and archival work.
Chapter 4 sets out the panels ongoing concerns about Development, Production and Distribution:
Chapter 5 expresses disappointment UK Broadcasters have not lived up to their promise to invest more in British film productions.
Ref: The full 2014 review is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/its-still-about-the-audience-two-years-on-from-the-2012-film-policy-review (updated
The original 2012 Film Policy Review's top priorities, included building a stronger British Film Industry and retaining UK talent, with the industry also calling for a more coherent international strategy. The 2012 report is set out at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-future-for-british-film-it-begins-with-the-audience-report-on-the-film-policy-review-survey
International Strategy for UK Films
Isabel Davis the BFI's Head of International launched the new strategy and the Olsberg report at the London Film Festival October 2013. The Strategy and the accompanying research available to download: www.bfi.org.uk/international Back to top
2013 year book
Huge amount of pertinent industry research and data available to view online and download: http://www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/film-industry-statistics-research/statistical-yearbook Back to top
new Board members for 2014: Andrea Wong, Pete Czernin, Jonathan Ross
The BFI has added Andrea Wong, president of international production for Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and president of international for Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), and Pete Czernin, who set up Blueprint Pictures (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and veteran broadcaster Jonathan Ross. http://www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/senior-staff-governors-bfi-fellows/governors (updated 18.03.14)
increase investment for research
The BFI are welcoming applications to deliver a more comprehensive research and statistics programme to the film industry, with £4 million available until 2017 (up £2.5m on previous funding). Described as being crucial to future-proof UK film and informing the development of new business models and cultural practice to support the sector. The application deadline is noon, 25 November 2013. Ref: Film Research & Statistics Fun www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/film-industry-statistics-research/research-statistics-fund (updated 08.10.13).
The BFI's Statistical yearbook 2013 contains 250 pages of detailed research to present the most comprehensive picture of film in the UK and the performance of British films abroad during 2012. Amanda Nevill, in the Chief Executive forward descrined it as "the clearest available picture of the health and trends across the UK film landscape so that we can address the increasing challenges and demands in the digital word". For online and pdf copies see www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/film-industry-statistics-research/statistical-yearbook (Updated 27.09.13). Back to top
England's Production Fund
Aimed at regional filmmakers and/or stories based in England this new fund will provide production funding of between 10% to 50% of the total budget. Run by Richard Holmes the fund is calling for 'ambitious films that can be made by committed filmmakers for under £1.5 million'. Awards are anticipated to be in the range of £50-£150k. (updated 31.10.13) Ref: For guidelines and expressions of interest for funds see: http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/index.php/portfolio/film/ - production_funding
Midlands Production Fund
Aimed at film and TV drama production specifically in the West Midlands 'demonstrating a positive impact for the region'. Also run by Richard Holmes, the WMPF can invest from £100-£500k to be matched with private equity on the same terms. (updated 31.10.13).
Ref: For guidelines and expressions of interest for funds see: http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/index.php/portfolio/film/ - production_funding
Film Enterprise Fund
A separate Creative England fund run by Caroline Cooper Charles, with the specific aim of improving the growth and sustainability of film businesses outside London. Investing £2m (over four years) with made-to-measure programmes of business support and investment to unlock new opportunities, develop creative strategies, re-energise their business models and attract increased levels of corporate finance. Ref: For guidelines and expressions of interest see: http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/index.php/portfolio/film
The Innovations and Partnerships Fund
Another new separate Creative England fund investing £250,000 pa supporting a wide range of film projects from development, production and distribution to business growth, innovation, and inward investment. Also projects that demonstrate a commitment to cross-sector and to the use of new technologies and platforms. Ref: http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/index.php/portfolio/film/ - innovationscollaboration (updated 31.10.13) Back to top
The Digital Production Partnership is standardising the technical requirements for the delivery of TV programmes to major UK broadcasters. Coming into effect in October 2014 these set new technical specifications for delivery. The initiative formed by the UK's public service broadcasters helps producers and broadcasters maximise the potential of digital production and avoid a proliferation of different file formats and structures for video content.
Both the broadcaster and the programme’s producer will continue have a duty to make sure content is suitably tested. When delivering a compliant AS-11 DPP file, production companies will also be required to deliver a full valid QC report and PSE test certificate. It is the production company’s responsibility to ensure they deliver compliant files according to their contract with the broadcaster. As always the post house should manage their own contractual relationship with the production company. (updated 04.12.13) For further info: http://www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk/downloads/guides/
The DPP also sets out budget guidelines to ensure all aspects of a digital production are fully costed and planned. A free application to enable independent production companies comply with metadata standards for file-based programme delivery is available for download. Ref: www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk/ (updated 30.09.13) Back to top
The UK's Intellectual Property Office has published their first drafts for review on the suggested copyright exceptions for 'private copying', 'parody', 'quotation' and 'public administration' needed to implement the The date for comments on these exceptions closed on 2 August 2013. Drafts for the other exceptions will be released as soon as they are ready. These IPO consultations follow on from Hargreaves Review in 2011 and the Government response in December 2012.
Further info: www.ipo.gov.uk/types/hargreaves/hargreaves-copyright/hargreaves-copyright-techreview.htm (updated 17.07.13) Back to top
Since April 2013 'high-end television' and 'animation' can also qualify as British and claim the new creative content tax relief in one of two ways. They must meet the requirements of the new cultural tests or fall within one of the UK's six official bi-lateral co-production treaties. By extending the tax credits to high end TV and animation the government has extended the BFI's remit to certify the new tax credits for both sectors' from April 2013. Like the existing film tax relief each sector will also be based on passing a cultural test earning at least 16 criteria points out of a potential total of 31 points. These new high end television incentives will apply to programmes made by a production company with an intention to broadcast and with budgets of more than £1m per hour slot time. Covering drama, comedies and documentaries (it will not apply to advertising, discussion programmes, news or current affairs, quiz shows panel shows, variety shows or similar entertainment). The production company must make the arrangements for preproduction, shooting, post production and delivery. The new cultural 'content' tests specifically include the UK and the European Economic are (thereby being wider than the film cultural 'content' test which only included the UK). Eligible productions will be able to claim back up to 25% of 80% of core production expenditure used or consumed in the UK. The final new guidance notes and tax relief is due to come into force on 13 August. . Granted State aid from 01.04.2013 to 31.03.2018 (European Commission approval http://ec.europa.eu). Further details:www.bfi.org.uk/film-industry/british-certification-tax-relief (updated 31.07.13.) Back to topFilm London board appoints three new directors
Culture secretary Maria Miller expects that the BFI 'will meet the costs of any restructuring necessary as a result of this settlement' and went on to say the DCMS "would like to see plans in place for making admin further savings where reasonable, by the end of October 2013. The BFI board are considering the government cut backs which may “stop valuable front line activities and reduce support for partner organisations.” Further details: www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/announcements/bfi-faces-10-cut-2015-16 (updated 08.07.13.) Back to topRecent European News
white paper due May 2015 - proposals to create EU Digital single Market
The much delayed, anticipated and controversial white paper to remove territorial barriers across European territories is due in May 2015. While the proposals are to include detailed impact assessments, many film industry insiders fear the proposals would destroy the 'independent film finance model', which has traditionally relied on separate territories being monterised for distribution and sales and that maintaing these separate rights is essential to raising finance for independent features. Futher info: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/our-goals/pillar-i-digital-single-market (updated 18.03.15) Back to top
Audiovisual Observatory report on the impact of tax incentives on European film
A timely conference in late October 2014 launched a new report on fiscal incentives, tax rebates and tax credits, which in turn raises wider industry issues: How to balance the growth of the domestic independent and international production sectors. What adverse effects result from the introduction of an incentive? How to identify increased needs following an increase in infrastructure. The full report to be made available by end 2014. www.obs.coe.int/en/home (updated 21.10.14) Back to top
But the Directive does not deal with the other rightsholder permissions notably the rights of producers and performers, required for multi-territorial licensing to use and exploit music online.
The deadline for implementation of the CRM Directive by Member States is two years once formally approved by the EC.
For more details, see: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/management/index_en.htm (Updated 31.03.14) Back to topEuropean Court of Justice ruling on hypertext links
Commentators have noted previous decisions of the European Court of Justice suggest that the ECJ may well agree. The Supreme Courts decision marks a new approach as the UK's lower courts had adopted a stricter interpretation and proposed the parties agreed new separate licensing terms to cover end users as well as a separate license to cover news aggregators when they use other newspapers copyright material. Indeed such an agreement was subsequently agreed by the parties and approved by the Copyright tribunal. The Supreme Court clearly prefers one license, which includes an additional payment to cover end users. Ref: Public Relations Consultants Association Limited (Appellant) v The Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited and others (Respondents) www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2011_0202_Judgment.pdf (updated 10.07.13) Back to top
Parliament approves Creative Europe programme 2014-2020
New allocations for the next phase of the MEDIA programme include support for international co-production funds, video games and audience development, but no radical changes have been proposed and the main funding priorities continue to be training, development, TV programming, distribution, access to markets and festivals. The elligibility crititeria has been tightened up, with additional requirments placed on the track record of submitting production companies. A Culture sub-programme, supports performing and visual arts, heritage and other areas, and a MEDIA sub-programme provides funding for the cinema and audiovisual sector. With both providing a new financial guarantee facility for creative businesses to access up to €750 million in bank loans. Ref: UK MEDIA Desk. Further info: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release (updated 30.11.13). Back to top
Media Services Directive AVMSD
In early 2014 the European Commission is to deliver it's response to the European Green Paper consultation: Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values. For further information see http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/public-consultations-media-issues.
In turn the EC response impacts on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), with issues affecting financing audiovisual production in Europe, competition and innovation. The AVMS Directive governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services (updated 30.09.13). It's predecessor was the Television Without Frontiers Directive 1989 revised in 1997. See next article on EU-US Audiovisual sector talks and for more details aslo the article: Television Without Frontiers / Audiovisual Media Services Directive below for more background.
Audiovisual Sector 2013 talks
The estimated £613 billion boost to international trade, keeps alive the hope of a wider agreement being reached between rich and poor countries in the long-stalled Doha Round. The new "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership' free-trade talks aimed at boosting jobs and growth were announced at the G8 summit in June 2013 and the first round of negotiations took place in July 2013. The European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht has said the challenge is to open up new opportunities for Europe’s creative industries of the future, without compromising the choices of our society nor the pride we have for our culture. After lobbying by more than 5,000 European directors and film professionals, the European Parliament voted to extend the well established compromise on cultural diversity, which allows the audiovisual sector to be excluded in negotiations. During this years Cannes Film Festival jury president Steven Spielberg called the traditional cultural exception “the best way to support diversity in filmmaking”. Harvey Weinstein has also lent his support saying, “the cultural exception encourages filmmakers to make films about their own culture. We need that more than ever.” Culture enjoys a special status within EU law with the current Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and the previous "Television without Frontiers" Directive. Further info: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-363_en.htm (updated 05.12.13). Back to top
Supporting British Film means:
• More money for the production and development of UK films, rising annually to £24 million by 2017, with new opportunities for filmmakers working in documentary and animation and a greater focus on development
• A New Talent Network to discover, grow and nurture new voices and stories all over the UK
• A remodelled P&A (Prints and Advertising) Fund – now the new Distribution Fund – responding to widespread changes within the sector
• A new International Fund including increased money for the British Film Commission
• The new BFI Business Development Fund, in partnership with Creative England, strengthens the commitment to industry growth in England by providing seed funding to new businesses
• A significant commitment to growing skills with a new BFI Film Skills Fund, working in partnership with Creative Skillset and BIS alongside ensuring the UK’s world leading film schools are supported with a one-off £5 million in capital funding by 2017
Ref: www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/policy-strategy/film-forever (updated 04.10.12). Back to top
Industries Council's; Access to Finance Working Group Report Dec 2012
The report, entitled ‘The UK Creative Industries: over talented, under resourced’, reviews existing studies on the sector, examines the data and evidence surrounding access to finance for the creative industries and recommends the following five practical solutions:
• Forget traditional banking, instead create a better understanding of the availability of other avenues for investment.
• Government to work with the sector to become more ‘Creative Industries friendly’ by improving existing (and developing new) interventions.
• Help businesses to understand the value of the IP they own – improve the information and understanding between the creative and financial communities.
• Improve the data.
• Stay focused on the bigger picture and strive to create an environment that is enabling to these businesses and competitive in the international landscape.
Ref: www.creativeengland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/CE-ReportDec12.pdf (Updated 20.12.12) Back to top
Film Commission and UKTI form a joint venture to
extend new film activity and the TV tax credits
The British Film Commission, the national body in charge of supporting international film production to the UK and the UK Trade and investment have partnered up to make an extra £400K available over the next two years to allocate to film activity and enable the BFC to maximise the benefits of the proposed TV tax credits intended to come into effect in April 2013. Making the announcement at the Creative Content Summit, Ed Vaizey, the UK Film Minister said the partnership provides a vital opportunity to grow inward investment and capitalise on potential opportunities with the emerging markets, through UKTI's existing international network. Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the BFC and Film London said, "this partnership will allow us to extend our remit, driving new investment in the UK. We have the facilities and the talent in the UK to welcome additional film and high end TV production and we are delighted to be working with UKTI to grow our commercial activity and forge new networks in the US and emerging markets." Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, said, "the UK has one of the strongest creative content sectors in the world and I am delighted that this partnership with Film London and the BFC has been forged to increase investment in the UK film industry.
Ref: filmlondon.org.uk/about_us/press_releases (Updated 01.08.12) Back to top
VOD regulator - ATVOD
OFCOM has delegated the regulation of video on demand services and responsibility for editorial complaints to the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD).
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SeeSaw video on demand television service - licensed internationally
In it's first year the new video on demand television service platform is projected to have generated over one million streams and over £100,000 for each of its leading independent suppliers. The tecnology was developed by Loko for Project Kangaroo (originally a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, ITV and C4 which ran into regulatory concerns with OFCOM). Acquired by www.arqiva.com/ the VOD technology is now being licensed internationally for broadcasters www.seesaw.com/ (updated 16.11.10). Back to top
grant go ahead for new free IPTV platform service - Youview
With no monthly TV subscription the joint venture (originally known as Project Canvas) has covercome strong opposition to OFCOM from pay subscription channels BSkyB and Virgin Media. Their specific concerns included the technical standards being developed would be withheld from competitors and therefore restrict competition. OFCOM recognises this is still an emerging sector and the market impact will be kept under review.
The joint venture with the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk, Arqiva and Five
- provides Freeview or Freesat channels, the last seven days’ catch-up
TV, and the choice of on demand and pay TV - films, sports and US drama. The
IPTV service requires a YouView box and broadband access to watch content on
TV. www.youview.com (updated16.11.10)
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closure follows BFI / UKFC merger being off and investment projects for BFI sacrificed
The Ed Vaizey Culture minister will make an announcement on the Governments new film policy for the UK on Monday 29.11.10. (Updated 24.11.10). In July it was announced to the industry without notice that UKFC will close when it's current funding ends in April 2012 in a surprise move by the coalltion government. At that time some were calling it yet another own goal for the British film industry and independent filmmakers. Described as a proposal, Jeremy Hunt the DCMS minister made the announcement without consultation in the House of Commons on 26.07.10 just before the summer recess which delayed further debate. So far the DCMS has singled out two key activities which will continue, work in support of film certification for tax purposes and more directly channelling Lottery funding into film. Few details have emerged but the suggestion is to free up the £3m spent on administration out of the annual budget of £15m "to support front-line services while ensuring greater value for money". It remains open how funding recouped from UKFC film investments will be administered along with the separate implications for the network of regional funding agencies.
See DCMS Press release: www.culture.gov.uk/news/media_releases/7297.aspx (Updated 27.07.10)
Previously Jeremy Hunt, the DCMS minister announced there is no money for
a new BFI Film Center estimated to cost DCSM £45m or the archive digital
access project at £2.5 but they will provide funding to build a new National
Film Archive store. Ed Vaizey MP, as the new Minister for Culture, Communications
and Creative Industries (joint Minister with the Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills) and has responsible for: Arts, Media, Museums and Galleries, Telecoms
and Broadband, Digital Switchover, Creative Industries and Libraries. Ref: www.culture.gov.uk/ (updated
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launches ‘A New Business Model for UK Film’
PACT's proposals if accepted by the industry will enable content creators to retain larger ownership of their intellectual property rights and have greater access to revenues from the films they create. Chief executive for Pact, John McVay said: “This is not about seeking more funds. It is concerned with using what is already on the table to create organic growth: growth that is based upon success rather than subsidy.” Pact estimates that because of the current business model for film, producers of even the most successful films remain reliant on public funding and typically struggle to share in revenues from even hit films. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2004) earned $50m at box offices worldwide and got 3 Oscar nominations, yet its producers, Archer Street, earned a zero return, despite its obvious success. According to a recent UK Film Council report, over half of independent production companies are loss making, despite their films being amongst the most popular with audiences. This is because the current funding model ensures producers cannot retain their IP and thus have little to invest, or leverage in negotiations. Under the new PACT proposals, film companies will benefit financially from making successful films. This means they will then be able to invest in future films they make and gradually be able to reduce their reliance on public funds.
Key proposals of ‘A New Business Model for UK Film’:
• 100% of the recoupment of public investment should accrue to the production company, with 70% ring-fenced for future development and production via a 'Film Depository Receipt' system.
• 'Film Depository Receipt' system: A ‘lock box’ where 70% of monies recouped are placed on the production company’s behalf, in an interest-bearing escrow account accessed only by the production company for use on future films. To be managed by a fiduciary agent e.g. the National Film Trustee Company.
• Tax credit as producer’s equity: 100% of the tax credit should be treated as producer’s equity investment and this amount would therefore sit in the recoupment waterfall.
• Higher tax credit for low budget films: Support for the House of Lords Communication Committee’s proposal for the tax relief level to be raised from 20% to 30% on UK films with a budget of less than £5 million.
• Terms of Trade with public service broadcasters: A new deal structure with new terms including a reduction in the length of the licence period to 5 years and a ‘use it or lose it’ provision where rights revert to the producer if the broadcaster is not using them.
• Containment of legal and finance costs: Public entities to agree a proforma set of principal legal documents to save time and money.
4 merges TV and online in comissioning restructure
All commissioning and creative activities are being merged to create a single cross-platform content division. The broadcaster restructuring is being led by new CEO David Abraham. Over the last year, record digital media profits and tight budgeting enabled the channel to break even.
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of Lords Report on the British Film and Television Industries:
1) The UK Film Council - funding level and merger with the BFI questioned
"We found widespread support for its work, but concern that part of its limited budget is being transferred to Olympics funding. We share this concern and question whether the Film Council should be substantially financed through the Lottery. We also question the case for a merger between the Film Council and the British Film Institute, which is currently under discussion."
Tanya Seghatchian will become the head of the new UKFC single
production pot of £15m. Tanya was the former head of development and previously
worked with producer David Heyman, JK Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves to
develop the Harry Potter books into the biggest film franchise in history. She
independently produced Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer of Love, which won both
the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International
Film Festival and the Alexander Korda BAFTA for Outstanding British Film of the
Year. Other reorganisations include the anticipated appointment of three Senior
Meanwhile the UK Film Council has closed its public consultation into policy and funding priorities from April 2010 to March 2013. In addition to identifying savings of £25 million over the next three years, the plans include replacing the Premiere, New Cinema and Development Funds with a single unified Film Production Fund to 'champion the very best of UK film talent' , and a new separate Innovation Fund to 'support the move into a fully digital world'. The consultation closed on 9 February 2010 and the consultation document 'UK Film: Digital innovation and creative excellence' is still available online: www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/consultation2009 (Updated 12.02.10)
Advertiser-funded film production' partnership - UKFC and Film Tree
A new association with the film partnership specialists Film Tree, is developing 'advertiser-funded film production' in the UK by facilitating relationships between brand owners and filmmakers for the digital world. Set up by a team with experience in film marketing, finance, and advertising, Film Tree will explore innovative funding routes, and brands searching for the highest quality entertainment content for their marketing campaigns. The initiative is intended to provide film companies with better access to brand financing, offer new ways of engaging with audiences, and promote closer working relationships between the creative industries. see Ref: http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/PRfilmtree (Updated 01.12.09)
Background on UK Film Council and the London Olympics:
In April 2008 when the Film Counci's annual budget was initally cut by £7.5m (US $15m) over the next 5 years to fund the Olympics, they said they'll make up the shortfall from its reserves and from film recoupment for their three-year budget period 2007 to 2010. A UKFC spokeperson said "We are confident that all U.K. Film Council lottery-funded activity from April 2007 to March 2010, announced in our three-year plan, will remain unaffected." (updated 24.04.07) The UKFC also announced in April 2008 it was providing £18 million during the next two years to develop the film economy and culture across nine Regional Screen Agencies. Each received £ 7.7 million pounds per year out of the Regional Investment Fund for England, a mix of National Lottery and grant-in-aid funding. The Regional Screen Agencies were set up between 2002 and 2004 and have already received £ 50 million from the UKFC. The agencies are EM Media, Film London, Northern Film and Media, Northwest Vision and Media, Screen East, Screen South, Screen West Midlands, Screen Yorkshire and South West. (Updated 10.04.08)
Fomer UKFC appointments:
Pippa Cross, former Head of Film at Granada Media and a Board member of the regional screen agency Screen South began her 4 year appointment to the UKFC board on 21.11.08. Bringing experience as a financier, executive producer and producer ("Shooting Dogs" directed by Michael Caton-Jones and "Heartless" directed Philip Ridley). A total of four new board members have been announced this year. Director Beeban Kidron ("Hippie Hippie Shake", "Used People" and "Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason") was appointed to the UKFC board in July 2008 for a four year term. Two new appointments were previously announced in March 2008: Elisabeth Murdoch, chairman and CEO of U.K. indie production company Shine Group and independent producer Gail Egan. The new board members follow the end of the four-year stints by independent producers Alison Owen, Marc Samuelson, Iain Smith and director Gurinder Chadha. (updated 21.11.08)
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The aim of the report is to encourage government and relevant regulators to
develop UK audiovisual’s capability as an enterprise sector and important
contributor to wealth creation.
• A New, streamlined audiovisual competition framework
• A new, focused and cohesive investment in enterprise and skills
• A bold new approach to public service content in the pluralistic broadband universe
• A copyright regime that facilitates decentralised creativity and access to content in the broadband ecology
OFCOM rules for Product placement on UK TV
Ofcom is proposing new rules which include:
• Restrictions on the types of products that can be placed
• Details of the types of programmes in which products can be placed
• The way in which products can be included in programmes
• UK-produced programmes with product placement required to use of an on-air symbol, at the start and end of programmes
The proposals are intended to protect viewers by making sure commercial arrangements are clear and transparent. Ofcom is also consulting on options for radio to reduce regulations on paid-for references to products and service.
Following consultation, revised rules will be issued at the end of 2010 and incorporated in Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, the rulebook for the broadcasting industry.
Ref see: www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news (Updated 28.06.10)
Background on UK turnaround on product placement ban
The previous Labour Government Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, confirmed UK product placement will be allowable on British television while ruling out the promotion of foods high in fat, salt, sugar (HFSS), gambling services, smoking accessories, infant and follow on formula and over the counter medicines. Bradshaw justified the new rules saying that a failure to introduce it would "jeopardize the competitiveness of U.K. program makers as against the rest of the EU." The UK is the only EU member state apart from Denmark that had not yet introduced product placement. (Updated 12.02.10) Ref: www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/minister_speeches
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport consultation closed in January 2010 and the department's thinking was set out: www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations
While the new AVMS Directive states that all EU member states must prohibit product placement, each country may decide to allow certain exemptions. Also see 'Television Without Frontiers / Audiovisual Media Services Directive' below. (Updated 27.11.09)
Ben Bradshaw the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport became more open to the idea than his predecesor Andy Burnham who had previously and repeatedly warned of his opposition to product placement on the basis there is a risk it will "contaminate programming" and the U.K.
Some time ago PACT announced a voluntary product placement code agreed with ITV, Virgin Media and Discovery which promotes "transparency," "no undue prominence" and "editorial independence." These guidelines include an onscreen logo to make viewers aware of the latest lobbying for what producers and broadcasters describe as "a legitimate new revenue stream." ITV managing director of advertising and brand Rupert Howell insisted that product placement is "an innovative and important new revenue stream for ad-funded, commercial broadcasters" stressing that it will help boost investment in original U.K. content "at a time when advertising revenues are declining."
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boundaries for BBC Worldwide activity
The future remit for BBCW has been set out following an 18-month review of the mandate, strategy and governance arrangements for BBC commercial activity.
Initiated by the BBC Trust the changes include:
• An end to mergers and acquisitions unless there are exceptional circumstances
• A clearer focus on securing value from the BBC's own intellectual property
• An exit from any activity that is not in keeping with the BBC brand
• Divestment of stakes in non-BBC branded international channels over time where it makes commercial sense
• A more transparent 'first look', with greater market testing to establish the right pricing structures
The review was based on three key principles regarding the BBC's approach to commercial activity. The BBC should:
• hold onto the value of its intellectual property;
• exploit that value on the licence fee payer's behalf; and
• make sure no commercial activity damages the core brand and reputation of the BBC, either at home or abroad
Ref: See www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust (updated 24.11.09)
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Background to the UK public consultation
Initial proposals for implementation were announced in Spring-Summer 2008 and copies of the DCMS consultations published. The DCMS and Ofcom then set up a stakeholder group to discuss the implementation of the Directive and were keen to continue the close contact with consumer groups, civil society groups and industry as plans developed.
For instance the Directive states that all EU member states must prohibit product placement, but each may decide to allow certain exemptions. For example up until late 2009 product placement has been banned from all U.K. made programs and the former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said his initial view is not to change this. The consultation allowed broadcasters and suppliers an opportunity to argue against the ban and he called on the industry to "marshal strong arguments and put forward a convincing case."
The new rules will apply from the end of year 2009 after allowing each Member State 24 months to introduce the regulations into national law. Viviane Redding, EU Commissioner welcomed "the more flexible approach which " promotes less regulation, better financing for content and greater visibility to cultural diversity and the protection of minors." Aiming to create a new level-playing field in Europe for emerging audiovisual media services including video on demand, mobile TV, audiovisual services on digital TV, the directive's extention to the internet and non-linear services is being opposed by some sections of the industry.
The Directive requires the UK and other member states to introduce "co-regulation" of
video- on-demand services. This is forming a significant part of the DCMS's work
with an important contribution from Ofcom.
Ofcom are also considering whether, and to what extent, to change current UK rules on amounts of TV advertising in the light of the Directive.
The new rules also provide for:
• an update EU rules on TV broadcasting
• simplified rules on the proportion of TV broadcasts that can be taken up by advertisements
• product placement in certain types of TV programme where member states want to permit
• retaining the single-market “Country of origin” principle, where TV broadcasters are regulated only by the member state from which they are transmitting
• the regulation of non-EU satellite TV channels based in the UK
• broadcasters’ accessing footage of major sporting and other events for showing in TV news programmes’ “short reports”
Other film specific projects include a finishing school in animation education in partnership with Aardman Animations; and the UK Film Council developing “mixed media centres” in Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Bristol. Ref: See the goverments website www.culture.gov.uk/-new-talents.htm (announced 22.02.08)OFCOM’s Public Service Broadcasting Review
Two models allocate responsibility for funding to just one institution - one the BBC, the other a new independent funding agency. The third model would evolve the current market and retain commercial broadcasters' designated public service role. The fourth suggested model would enable C4 to keep its PSB remit but ITV and Five would only be able to bid for limited competitive funding
The second phase of the review will involve further analysis, another published
report and a further consultation in the autumn 2008 including:
Detailed evaluation of the four possible long-term models for public service content;
Specific proposals on the short- and medium-term issues identified in the report, particularly with regard to services for the nations and regions, funding for Channel 4, the future roles of the commercial PSBs, options for children’s programming, promoting innovation in content and the potential future need for intervention in interactive media. (Updated 10.04.08)
PSB Review — Interactive
Building on the first review Ofcom's second statutory review started in 2008 and will be completed no later than 2010. The first review "A new approach to public service content in the digital media age: The potential role of the PSP Public Service Publisher” was released on 04.01.07 which set out options for future public service delivery:
"Overall, there will be a range of opportunities and challenges…These may require a range of responses, some of which could be focused on traditional TV, and others could help ensure that public purposes and characteristics are properly addressed on wider digital media...If further intervention were required on public service grounds, a number of potential avenues are available. Further intervention could:
• Be limited to linear television only – with funding focused on specific broadcasters, forms of content (e.g. support for regional news, local TV or indigenous language services), or via targeted grants on a commission-by- commission basis
• Have an important digital media element – whether support for existing providers (either existing broadcasters or other digital media operators), or funding for a new organisation designed to deliver public service goals in new ways.
The review proposes that a mixed approach is "likely to be both necessary and desirable"and that there is "value in considering the creation of a new organisation: A new provider of public service content, the "PSP"".
Under the PSP’s operating model Ofcom is suggesting:
• The PSP could be a commissioner – rather than a producer – of participative content.
• A more radical rights model could be designed specifically for an organisation delivering public purposes in new ways: “share-aware” alternative “open licensing models”
• Would operate a non-commercial business model, although the open rights model could allow other parties to develop commercial propositions that build on PSP content and services. Relevant analogies here include open source software.
The PSP could aim to secure reach and impact by partnering with other organisations
for distribution – possible partners include traditional broadcasters,
local TV and community media, alternative platform operators, and service providers.
Ofcom has sought responses on:
• The appropriate nature of intervention in the digital media age, and the balance between TV and non-TV forms of public service content distribution
• The potential role of the PSP and its creative remit
• The operating model – in particular, the approach to rights management
• The scale of funding required. (Updated 31.03.08)
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amend film law - broadcasters contributions to film fund no longer voluntary
The statutory levy for broadcasters is backdated to the beginning of 2010 and brings them to line with theatrical exhibitors and the video industry. Widely anticipated, the German broadcasters’ contributions to the German Federal Film Board (FFA), will now be calculated according to the number of German and foreign features that are scheduled. Theatrical exhibitors had made a claim of unequal treatment and the discrepancy had already been ruled as being unconstitutional by an Administrative court. The Federal court is still to announce a final decision. Another looming priority for the industry and Government is agreeing a programme for state support for the digitisation of cinemas. (updated 18.06.10)Back to top
Film Board reassured ongoing funding at 2009 levels
The IFB has secured €29.3 m euros enabling it to continue to provide development production support and Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for film and television remains in force until the end of 2012. The confirmation of next years funding, although representing a 5% drop on 2009 levels is still good news, given Ireland's budget deficit. (updated 11.12.09)
Irish Film Relief renewed until 2012. Brian Cowen, Irish Minister for Finance has renewed Section 481 tax relief and the Irish film agency's budget has been increased from $28.8m (Euros 19.6m) in 2007 to 34m (Euros 23.2m) in 2008. Simon Perry, Irish Film Board CEO, welcomed the 18% increase and the decision to renew Section 481. The uplift suggests the Irish Government may well positively respond to the IFB's proposed amendments to Section 481, part of a recently completed Indecon review of the incentive. (Updated 06.12.07) The amended Section 418 tax relief was subsequently approved by the European Commission which provides 80% tax relief on investments up to 35 million euros or 80% of the production budget.
Irish Film Board investment - 50% treated
as producers equity
"The producer of a film or television project in which the IFB invests is now entitled to an internal corridor of 50% subject to certain exceptions. In effect, half of the money invested by the IFB is considered as money invested by the producer. The IFB is deemed to have recouped when it has earned back half of its investment, the other half having been received by the producer. The internal corridor will not apply to net profits. This single approach is being applied to all types of films which receive IFB funding i.e. features, documentaries, animation and television drama, and all types of production and co-production, resulting in one basic principle - albeit with variations in a small number of particular cases. The exceptions are regional support funding, documentaries, and short films." see http://www.irishfilmboard.ie/ - Bord Scannán na hÉireann (updated 05.09.07)
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and China sign coproduction agreement, UK/Brazil agreement awaits ratifaction,
UK/Morocco co-production treaty in
The UK and China signed their first co-production agreement in April 2014 which still needs to be ratified once the new terms have been subject to constitutional procedures.
The UK/Brazil co-production treaty signed in late 2013 still needs to be
ratified once the new terms have been subject to constitutional procedures.
The treaty between UK and Morocco is in force boosting collaborations between filmmakers. The two countries signed the initial co-production treaty in October 2009. The new agreement enables qualifying film productions to access the benefits of national status in each country. Benefits include the Moroccan tax incentives, access to the UK’s Film Tax Relief and the BFI Film Fund with a current allocation of £22 million per year to invest and has beeb extended to include TV productions. The terms for the treaty were negotiated by the BFI and Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM), Morocco’s national cinema agency. Director general of the CCM, Nour-Eddine Sail said: "Our intention is to expand this ambition into the area of TV production too so that content producers for high end television also gain the cultural exchange and financial benefits.” The BFI’s chief executive, Amanda Nevill, noted the longstading collaboration between filmmakers of the two countries with directors from David Lean through to Christopher Nolan, using Morocco for its stunning landscapes and substantial production infrastructure. Ref: www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-press-release-uk-moroccan-film-treaty-in-force-2013-09-02.pdf (updated 06.09.13). Back to top
Also see 'International co-production agreements below'. Back to top
Free Trade Agreement
Under the new AVMS Directive, as part of a three-year Free Trade Agreement, Korean co-productions will now qualify for the 50% European quota.
Two concessions for animation in the criteria to qualify as a co-production for the purposes of the European quota:
• Three European co-producers will have to be involved (for live action it is two)
• The minimum combined financial contribution of the European partners must be 35% (for live action it is 30%)
A standing committee of EU ministers and civil ministers will monitor the impact of this going forward.
PACT's initial concerns are around the serious implications for UK producers, who may struggle to be involved in co-productions with Korean partners due to a lack of tax incentives. (Updated 27.11.09) Back to top
Communication on "Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market"
The long expected European Comissions communication was published in early 2008. The new proposals follow the EC’s initial public consultation in 2006 on ways to stimulate growth of a true EU single market for online digital content (films, music & games). The Communication seeks to address two key challenges including:
· Content online platforms
· Multi-territory licensing for creative content
From the beginning the proposals have run into strong industry opposition, with rights holders noting it is essential they participate in drafting any changes and have the opportunity to consider and evolve practical industry responses.
Rights holders claim that online licesing must fit in with the real life world and because different windows vary in different territories it remains vital rights holders are able to retain the option to manage their exclusive rights and exercise them through collective agreement. From an economic prespective, in the medium and longer term, the sustainability of market for the creative industries requires different approaches and this flexibiltiy will continue to be appropriate in different territories and single territory licenising will remain an important option.
It is also claimed that on-demand distribution online can have a substantial knock-on effect on the value of creative content, for example within the secondary window one form of delivery can potentially damage the value of another; that the distinctions between primary and secondary markets are no longer clear as they once were. There are also separate practical difficulties of securing rights clearances on an all-encompassing basis. Therefore it should be accepted that the market for online content will continue to develop in different ways and at different paces for different types of content and traditional business models will need to operate alongside new online business models. (updated 31.03.08) Back to top
Copyright & creative rights developments
Britain Report announces key proposals for digital economy
In June 2009 the government published their strategic review proposing action in 3 areas:
Facilitating innovation and experimentation for the creation and monetisation of digital content
Tightening the legal and regulatory framework to combat digital piracy
BBC licence fee consultations on ‘contained contestability’ for local, regional & national news
Support for independently funded news consortia to take over regional news on ITV
Potential collaboration between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4
Channel 4 to champion new talent across all digital media
Guidance on the media mergers and an enhanced role for the regulator Ofcom in local mergers
Three-year national plan to improve digital participation, Martha Lane Fox appointed ‘Digital Inclusion Champion’
Programme of digital switchover in public services. Revised digital remit for Channel 4 and a key role for BBC in digital development
Guaranteed funding for three years for targeted marketing and outreach
UK-wide access to 2Mbps broadband by 2012 and digital radio upgrade by 2015
Accelerating current and next generation mobile coverage and services
Ofcom to assess the UK’s communications infrastructure every two years
Ref: See www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/
Just days before the report was published, Ben Bradshaw replaced Andy Burnham as the new culture secretary in the emergency cabinet reshuffle.
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copyright consultations: Gower Intellectual Property Review
Following the second round of consultations, an anouncement is expected before the end of 2009 on extending the current copyright exceptions. In early 2008 the UK-Intellectual Property Office published a new round of consultations on the proposed changes to copyright exceptions, arising out of the preevious year's Gower Intellectual Property Review. Including a controversial proposed exemption for "format shifting" and extensions of the UK “fair dealing” exceptions (when the © owners permission is not needed in specific limited circumstance):
The Gower review is proposing new extensions:
for educational establishments
for format – shifting
for private study and research
for libraries for the purposes of preservation
for caricature, parody, or pastiche
Responses to date seem to support an exception for caricature, parody and pastiche and a revised "fair dealing" provision for the purposes of parody and satire could assist in promoting creativity in the field of comedy, reduce clearance costs, and bring the UK more in line with the United States more favourable "fair use"provisions.
But the proposed exemption for format shifting in the case of film and television content continues to face strong industry opposition. Including arguments that the public's demand for format shifting for film and television is not yet proven, and the demand is likely to be significantly less than that for music content and a personal copyright exception will conflict with current Digital Rights Management use. It will create more confusion for consumers as well as potentially making DRM use open to a legal challenge. In other words the exception will have unintended consequences, the public is already often uncertain over what uses they are entitled to, not to mention it causing a potential increase piracy and may well undermine the very growth, in the creative content sector, the review was meant to support.
Background to copyright review:
Gower Intellectual Property Review
Published on 6th December 2006 Ref: See www.ipo.gov.uk/policy-issues-gowers the report goes far further than initially invisaged by many observers.
The Executive Summary sets out 54 recommendations including:
Flexibility - Balanced and flexible rights for consumers and rights holders
• Introducing a limited private copying exception for format shifting works (8).
• Allowing private copying for research to cover all forms of content (9).
• Creating an exception to copyright for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche (12).
• Providing for orphan works (13) and setting out what constitutes a "reasonabe search" for them after consulting with rights holders, collecting socities and archives (14a).
• Establishing a "voluntary register of copyright" (14b).
• Making Digital Rights Management complaints easier to file (15).
• Investigating if the DTI should label DRM systems for consumer guidance (16).
• Better provision of IP information for UK businesses via UK Trade & Investment (28) and Business Link (27 & 32), including how to use IP strategically when Companies register at Companies House (26).
• Consider a market survey by the Office of Fair Trading into whether the UK collecting societies are meetng their stakeholder needs (33).
• increasing cooperation so that competition and IP policy foster competitive and innovative markets for the benefits for consumers (34).
• Rasing public awareness, in particular on the wider impact of IP crime and the exceptions to rights (35).
• Matching the penalties for online and physical copyright infriments by amending s107 CDPA (36).
• Reviewing the level of damages awarded for civil IP cases (38).
• Reviewing industry protocols for data sharing between rights holders and ISP's to remove and disbar "piracy" activity (39).
• Empowering the Trading Standards to enforce copyright infringement legislation (40).
• Training in alternative dispute resolution and mediation (43) as well as for judges, and magsitrates, (44)
• Supporting the establishment of a single EU court for cross border IT disputes (45).
• Establishing a new Strategicc Advisory Board for IP policy (SABIP) covering the full range of IPP rights reporting to the Governement minister responsible (46).
• Changing the name of the UK Patent Office to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) (53).
Further background: The UK Government has held a major review of the Intellectual Property regime to examine key areas of concern in IP law. This is covering a huge range of practical quesions of how IP rights are used and enforced. Headed by Andrew Gower, the findings setting out targeted and practical policy recommendations by providing a foundation for the government's long term strategic vision for IP policy. This very ambitious look at reforming copyright law is intended to deal with the challenges of the digital age.
Time will tell whether the review has either the time or resources to deliver much more than a snap shot of the current issues and ongoing debates. With much of the UK's copyright law, as well as the law on trade marks and patents being derived from European Uniion directives and international treaties, there is little that can be amended in isolation.
One example is the review's suggestion that the "fair use" exceptions to UK copyright law are ill-equiped for the internet. This is quite true, and it is being argued that these exceptions need to include private use copying of DVDs on to personal computers as well a review of the time shifting exception for private use. However these areas of the law are already covered by the Information Society Directive - a European wide initative which can only be reformed at a European level.
Formats don't currently qualify for copyright protection even though the UK is a world leader. Developing new laws in this area can be seen as one where a balance needs to be struck between protecting the creators and being overly prescriptive.
The Law Society was lobbying for is the abolition of the threats provion in copyright and trademark law, although some feel this can be achieved without major reform.
Other issues of concern include the complexity of IP rights and the costs involved with enforcement. Refering disputes to the Copyright Tribunal can be expensive particulary for small and medium sized businesses (see 2008 Copyright Tribunal recomendations above). The Gower report's recomendations are sent to the DTI and the DCMS (see 2008 recomendations above).
Background to format shifting:
IPPR report "Public Inovation: Intellectual property in a digital age"
In November 2006 the Institute for Public Policy Research called for a new "private right to copy" The IPPR's report was timed to influence the Government's imminent "Gower Report" (see below).
One key IPPR recommendation was to take into account the new ways people listen to music, watch films and read books. "The idea of "all rights reserved" doesn't make sense for the digital era and it doesn't make sense to have a law that every body breaks" said Kay Withers, the reports author. According to research from the National Consumer Council, more than half of British consumers are infringing copyright law by copying CD's on to their computers, ipods and MP3 players.
The IPPR argues that for too long the music industry has influenced the publics thinking on copyright issues for their own agenda, and that the making copies of CD's and DVD's for personal use would have little impact on copyright holders. While acknowleding the music industry has been right to focus on illegal distribution, Dr Ian Kearns, IPPR Deputy Director said, "It's not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have, that is the job of goverment".
The report also looks at how "Digital Rights Management" technologies
- conflict with the public's right to "acessability". "Someone
with poor sight may use screen reader technology and may have to change the format
of the content to use it but DRM technolgy isn't sophisticated enough to take
this into account" said Kay Withers who argues the British Library should
be given a DRM free copy of any new digital work and that libraries should be
able to make more than one copy. The IPPR also opposes the music industries call
for an extension of the current 50 year copyright term for sound recordings.
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proposes longer copyright for performers
The EU has proposed that performing artists should be entitled to keep copyright on recordings for 95 years instead of the current 50 years. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents recording companies such as Warner, EMI and Sony BMG, has welcomed the move. (Updated 18.02.08)
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Commission revisits plans to reform copyright levy
EC announced revived plans to overhaul the levies on the sale of computers, iPods and other gadgets and remunerated to artists as compensation for private copying. The new consultation period will be open until 18th April, and the Commission will hold an open hearing in June. "It should be possible to envisage some workable solution that assures the rightsholders of their due compensation and at the same time applying the levies in a way that is commensurate with the loss caused by private copying" said EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. Updated 18.02.08
In mid December 2006 the EC reversed their original proposed reforms and decided more reflection is needed following lobbying by the European artistc community and strong opposition by the French government.
Back in September 2006 the European Comission announced plans to boost intellectual property rights by cutting copyright levies for electronic companies and products from ipods to DVD players and mobile phones. By developing a more efficient levy system and by promoting IPR's the EC aimed to make the European Union on of the the most deynamic, knowledge- based regions in the world.
But on 18 October 2006 "Culture First" launched an appeal to the EC not to scrap the copyright levies on private copying that help support creators across Europe. The campaign claims scraping private copying levy, worth €560 million ($700 million) in 2005, would deny filmmakers, performers and other creators a vital revenue stream. They say it provides content creators with a commercial incentive to work in the industry as it makes up a considerable part of their income. The coalition includes European authors' group GESAC, international authors' group CISAC, European film directors group FERA, international performing artists' group GIART, the International Confederation of Music Publishers ICMP/CIEM, independent music label group Impala and European actors' federation EuroFIA.
Nevertheless the EC's latest draft proposals circulating in November 2006, proposed scrapping the levy within a few years. EC Officials were claiming the levy hampers IT companies developing new products and note that only 20 out of 25 EC countries apply the levy, with those that do using different rates to calculate payments. Then on 7th November 2006 European directors sent an open letter to the EC saying the levy was meager compared to the revenues of the IT industry, but was vital for the European film sector, strugelling to raise finance. The lobbying group said the EC's attempts to transform the levy into a digital rights management system have failed."Creators should have the right to be failry compensated for their work when it is being reproduced. While consumers have an ability to copy films, film directors should be able to exercise their right to compensation for such usage".
The Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy was due to circulate the
EC's formal recomendations by the end of 2006. But in mid December 2006 the EU's
executive body felt the issues were too politically sensative and they announced
that EC President Jose Manuel Barroso had decided that more reflection was needed.
After 12 months reflection in February 2008 the reforms were refloated and the
new consultation round announced.
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National Intellectual Property Enforcement Report
The seriousness of the growing commercial threats to IP rights moved up the agenda when the Chancellor injected £5 million into trading standards to clamp down on piracy in June 2006. A government report was launched by what was then known as the Patent Office (now known as IP Office) at the Trading Standards Institute Conference. www.patent.gov.uk/press/press-briefings
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International Standard Audiovisual Number
The ISAN is a new voluntary unique numbering registration system that is permanently assigned to an audiovisual work. It can identify that work across national boundaries and language barriers by providing a unique, internationally recognized and permanent reference number for each audiovisual work registered in the ISAN system. Some of its possible applications are: to track the use of audiovisual works; for anti-piracy purposes such as verifying title registrations to assist collecting societies in the management of rights.
An ISAN may be applied to all types of audiovisual works including motion pictures and short films, trailers, video games, productions for television or other means of delivery, including individual episodes of television series; industrial, educational and training films; commercials; broadcasts and recordings of live events (such as sports events and newscasts); and composite and multimedia works if they contain a significant audiovisual component.
The ISAN code itself is a "dumb" number, meaning that it does not include any signifying elements. Its purpose is to uniquely identify the work, and always relates and provides descriptive information about the audiovisual content. The issuance of an ISAN is in no way related to any process of copyright registration, nor does the issuance of an ISAN provide evidence of the ownership of rights in an audiovisual work.
The ISAN UK Registration Agency launched in December 2007 by the MCPS-PRS
Alliance, Pact and Soundmouse.
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The Governments "Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) Select Committee" published its 2nd report in 2008 on “The Work and Operation of the Copyright Tribunal". The main function of the tribunal is to settle various types of disputes, where the parties cannot agree between themselves, mainly in the field of collective copyright licensing. Recommendations arise from the review carried out by the UK Intellectual Property Office. Ref: See www.publications.parliament.uk
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Government's Green Paper on the "Creative economy"
This was an attempt to set out the government's longer term thinking but even at the time some industry pundits were wondering whether fiscal incentives would be adequately addressed. "The first part of the paper was to have provided a coherent analysis of the UK’s creative industries, their significance in the global economy and the opportunities and challenges they face. This section is intended to raise the profile of the significance of the creative industries and set out an impressive picture which can be championed across government and industry. Part two of the Green Paper was to analyse existing public policy regimes, and float some exciting projects to pursue with industry, public bodies, and regional and local partners". Ref: See www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library (announced 22.02.08)
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& UKFC appointments
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's DCMS appointments: Just days before the June 2009 Digital Britain report was published, Ben Bradshaw replaced Andy Burnham as the new culture secretary in the emergency cabinet reshuffle. The new UK Secretary for Culture, Media & Sport holds overall responsiblity for all departmental policy, spending reviews and broadcasting, including the digital switchover. Margaret Hodge remains the UK film minister, responsible for all the creative industries. Also responsible for arts heritage, architecture, royal parks, museums, libraries, science and tourism. (Updated 30.06.09)
Tim Bevan has been appointed new UKFC chairman.
The co-founder and co-chairman of Working Title Films took over from Stewart
Till who has completed his 5 year term as Chair and four and half years
as vice chair. Bevan’s credits include ‘Fargo’, ‘O Brother,
Where Art Thou?’, ‘Atonement’ and ‘Frost/Nixon’.
(Updated 30.06.09) Pippa Cross, former Head of Film at Granada
Media and a Board member of the regional screen agency Screen South began her
4 year appointment to the UKFC board on 21.11.08. Bringing experience as a financier,
executive producer and producer ("Shooting Dogs" directed by Michael
Caton-Jones and "Heartless" directed Philip Ridley). A total of four
new board members have been announced this year. Director Beeban Kidron ("Hippie
Hippie Shake", "Used People" and "Bridget Jones: The Edge
Of Reason") was appointed to the UKFC board in July 2008 for a four year
term. Two new appointments were previously announced in March 2008: Elisabeth
Murdoch, chairman and CEO of U.K. indie production company Shine Group
and independent producer Gail Egan. The new board members follow
the end of the four-year stints by independent producers Alison Owen, Marc
Samuelson, Iain Smith and director Gurinder
Chadha. (updated 21.11.08)
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