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Mollet: education copyright exception 'would hit incomes'

The government's proposal for a new copyright exception on the photocopying of education materials would hit authors and publishers, Publishers Association chief executive Richard Mollet told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee earlier today (22nd January).

Giving evidence at a session on "Support for the Creative Industries", Mollet said that the government's recently published proposals for copyright exceptions contained some good ideas, a few bad ideas, and some that were "potentially ugly."

He highlighted concern over the proposal to allow photocopying of educational material, saying it "allows people to do things which they currently need licenses for" and "is going to hit author incomes and hit publishers' investments."

The CLA has also voiced concern over the exception

Mollet questioned the value of the exception on parody as well, asking: "Is there really an economic case to create a new loophole?"

The PA chief, also the chair of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, told the committee: "Our argument to the IPO is, if you modernise copyright in the wrong way, and you remove our ability to do that licensing, you are imperilling the business, so step gently because you are stepping on our licensing models. And on the enforcement side, if you don't do any enforcement you won't allow these new business models to grow because they are competing with illegal free."

Meanwhile Owen Atkinson, executive director of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society, warned the committee there could be damage when exceptions were brought into legislation because they were then "set in stone".

He said he took an "optimistic" view of digital change. "We're a nation of creators and we export. Pound for pound in GDP we are as good as anyone in the world, if not better," he said. "The internet gives us a fantastic channel; if we copyright we can support creativity....I do believe this can be very profitable in the future for UK PLC if we can...continue to support business in finding licensing solutions."