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UK government delays decision on copyright changes 

The UK government has decided not to make changes to copyright exhaustion laws following a consultation period, reports the Bookseller.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which launched a consultation last year considering a weakening of copyright rules used for exporting books around the world, announced on 18 January there ‘was not enough data available to understand the economic impact of any of the alternatives’.

The IPO said it ‘remains committed to exploring the opportunities which might come from a change to the regime’, and that ‘further development of the policy framework needs to happen before reconsidering the evidence and making a decision on the future exhaustion of IP rights regime’. There is no timeframe for a decision yet.

Publishers Association (PA) CEO Stephen Lotinga welcomed the IPO’s announcement, but said it remains concerned a future change hasn’t been ruled out entirely.

‘We are delighted that the government has chosen to maintain the UK’s gold standard copyright regime, which our world-leading creative industries are built on, and that ministers have listened to authors, readers and the wider industry on the risks of any change,’ Lotinga said. ‘The evidence is clear, any weakening of our intellectual property laws would be devastating to UK creators, and we will continue to make this case to government in any future discussions of the matter.’

In June last year, publishing industry organisations launched the Save our Books campaign against the mooted changes to copyright laws, which they claimed would lead to a flood of cheap copies of UK books coming back into the home market. Research from the PA found that up to £2.2 billion (A$4.15b) in annual publisher revenue was at risk, while up to £506 million ($A954.70m) per year of author and illustrator income would also be at risk.


Category: International news