On 14 June the Government published the Summary of Responses of the Consultation on Copyright (see our report on the Consultation here). The Summary does not set out any intended action by the government at this stage but, as the title suggests, summarises the key views from the 471 responses received. A copy of the Summary can be found here.
We found the following areas of particular interest:
Exception for private copying - The proposal for a private copying exception caused a divergence of views. Even those in favour of an exception had differing views on the scope of any such exception (such as whether it should be restricted to individuals or sharing should be permitted within household or family circles). Rights holders argued for the imposition of conditions on making use of such an exception, with the need for a levy on blank media and copying devices for compensation being advocated (although the government have previously stated that they do not have an intention to introduce levies). It was also argued by some that remote cloud storage should fall outside the exemption.
Exception for text and data mining for research - The responses acknowledged that analytic technologies were valuable but views on how deployment might best be supported caused strong divisions. The main debates seem to centre around whether an exception should be created or whether a licence based solution should be adopted, and whether the solution should be limited to research or include commercial activities.
Protecting copyright exceptions from override by contract - unsurprisingly, this turned out to be a controversial issue. In general, rights holders were against a prohibition to override exceptions in contracts stating that there was sufficient contractual freedom for a user to negotiate or to not accept the terms offered. On the one side of the argument, the user groups felt that they were often not in a position to negotiate, due to weak negotiating position and/or resources. In addition, users argued that it would lead to complex arrangements with a lack of uncertainty about what rights had been granted.
The UK government response is expected in the next few months.