ALCS welcomes support for Hargreaves Review

The Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society has welcomed the government support for the Hargreaves Review into intellectual property and growth, though it expressed concern over the proposals to extend copyright exceptions.  

In a statement, the ALCS said: "We support the overarching ambition of the review to ensure that the UK copyright system promotes 'fair and effective' means for grasping the opportunities digital technology presents."

However, the society, which collects fees on behalf of over 82,000 writers, expressed concern over the aim within the Review of developing 'the widest possible exceptions to copyright within the existing EU framework', fearing it "may have the unintended consequence of upsetting balances within the current system".

The statement also said it was "inflexible" for the UK to say it would not consider models for fair compensation for private use, as most other European countries already do this. This compensation already takes place in 24 out of 27 EU member states, and takes the form of a levy on the price of copying devices, such as photocopying machines. This levy is then filtered to authors to compensate them for the likelihood of the machine being used to copy their work. ALCS deputy chief executive Barbara Hayes described it as a type of “rough justice” for authors, and said the money from the levies in the EU does filter to UK authors, but the UK at the moment cannot reciprocate.

ALCS chief executive Owen Atkinson said: "It is excellent news that the government is trying to address issues around copyright bearing in mind the changing technology which facilitates easy abuse of the system. However, we are concerned at the tone of the proposals around extended copyright exceptions as we believe authors have the right to receive fair renumeration for the use of their work, online or otherwise."