The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Publishing has published a new report, asking the government to "protect and respect" the UK’s gold-standard copyright regime.
In the report, entitled Maintaining a World-Leading Publishing Sector, the APPG for Publishing's chair, Andrew Lewer MBE MP, makes a number of key recommendations for maintaining a world-leading publishing sector based on the meetings it has co-ordinated in recent months between publishing experts and parliamentarians and written submissions.
The Government should make protecting the UK’s gold-standard copyright regime a top priority and ensure intellectual property laws are fit for purpose as part of all future UK trade deals, the report said.
National or EU exhaustion rules are "critical" to publishing exports, it said further, emphasising: "The ability to sell books in foreign markets at different prices, without the fear of having unauthorised copies being resold into the UK, is vital if the UK is to remain a major publishing exporter."
The APPG for Publishing recommended removing the 20% VAT on digital publications, recognising 45% of children prefer to read on a digital device, and pushed for "sensible reform" of the business rates system "so that bricks and mortar retailers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage to online retailers".
It also recommended creating a balanced Open Access. "Publishers add value to the quality, integrity and accuracy of the UK’s research outputs, and, at a time when the volume of untested and misleading 'research' is higher than ever, it is vital that the critical role played by publishers is not undermined by ill-thought-through policy development," the report cautioned.
The report is the result of an inquiry launched by the APPG in 2018, which aimed to assess the benefits that publishers and booksellers from all disciplines bring to the UK, while also evaluating the potential risks that may affect the success of the industry over the coming years.
Lewer, chair of the APPG for Publishing, said: "The value of the UK’s publishing industry is £6 billion, of which exports account for £3.5 billion. The UK exports more physical books than any other country in the world. Publishing accounts for 1 in 10 jobs in the UK’s creative industries.
"It is imperative that the contribution the publishing industry makes to the UK—and the world—is truly recognised in Westminster and Whitehall. The APPG for Publishing now calls on the Government to advance the policy recommendations required for the UK’s book industry to thrive long into the future."
Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o. of the Publishers Association, said: "This welcome report highlights the importance of publishing and offers achievable recommendations to ensure the continued success of the UK publishing industry. A vibrant publishing industry is key in encouraging literacy and social mobility so it should be a top priority for the Government."
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