Government Consultation Responses
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is a stakeholder in many of the topical IP rich issues so vital to the success of the software industry. As a result, it often engages with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), other Government Departments including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as well having a place on the IP Crime Group founded in 2004 by the IPO to bring together Government, Enforcement Agencies and Industry Groups.
FAST is a member of the Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN) where our General Counsel sits as a Director, and supporter of the CBI with a conduit directly through to the Intellectual Property Committee.
Often FAST is invited to respond to numerous consultation papers issued on various intellectual property rights issues and related areas.
FAST consults widely with its member law firms (Legal Advisory Group (‘FLAG’) when drafting such responses.
FAST writes to Baroness Wilcox Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills
FAST writes to Baroness Wilcox Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills ahead of the Government's response to the Review of the IP system for growth by Ian Professor Hargreaves (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.htm) reaffirming what it considers as key aspects for the Government to take into account in responding to the Report and actions subsequently.
Response to the European Commission's public consultation on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IP Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC)
FAST responds to the European Commission's public consultation on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IP Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC). In summary, FAST submits that Article 4 would be an industry self help remedy to combat those infringing the software intellectual property rights of its members. Read more for a more detailed summary.
Response to 'The Culture, Media and Sport Committee issues a call for evidence on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online
FAST responds to 'The Culture, Media and Sport Committee issues a call for evidence on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online and perceives there to be a loss of perspective about the value of IP. Minds have gravitated to the arguably narrow issue of illicit peer - 2 --peer file sharing.
FAST Submits response to OFCOM’s Consultation "Online Infringement of Copyright and the Digital Economy Act 2010 - Draft initial obligations code"
FAST continues in its committed involvement in the development of the Digital Economy Act, having submitted its latest response to the OFCOM consultation on the Obligation Code. The code is pivotal in guaranteeing the successful, long term implementation of the legislation.
The key concerns for FAST relate to the understanding of the working relationships that exist between the plethora of parties affected by the code. It is essential that the legal definitions account adequately for all the parties involved in order to ensure that the code is workable and is able to fully support the primary objective of the legislation, which is to protect the creative industries.
Response Online Infringement of Copyright Initial Obligations Cost Sharing
FAST welcomes the Government's consultation on Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) Cost-Sharing. We believe that this will help to flush out the often contentious issue of costs in advance of the implementation of the Digital Economy Act 2010 anticipated in 2011.
Response to the Government Consultation on Illicit P2P File Sharing, June 2009
FAST welcomed the Government’s consultation on legislation to address illicit p2p file sharing. It provided a further opportunity to reflect this organisation’s commitment to lobbying for decisive and swift action in this area. The questions posed by the consultation centred on 3 keys issues in relation to obligations, notifications and costs attributed to the process.
In this response FAST addresses the 3 key issues, raising questions around the content of notifications, the funding and role of Ofcom, and the overriding need to have regard for due process, to ensure that any legislation is fair and enforceable. It provides an insight into the legal and commercial position in relation to the software industry and this difficult topic.
Response to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Communications’ Inquiry: ‘Can we keep our hands off the net?’
The Federation welcomed the All-Party Group’s inquiry into Internet Traffic particularly given the background of the Digital Britain considerations. Given the Federation’s interest in ensuring that software intellectual property rights receive their deserved protection, our response was focused on the Committee’s question 1 which asked when ISPs should be forced to act to deal with some types of “bad” traffic and when solutions should be found elsewhere.
The Federation believes that under present legislation ISPs are permitted to release data on request and suggests that ISP often cite concerns over data protection as a commercial foil to legal considerations.
In this paper the Federation argues that software vendors must be able to deal with infringers with the minimum of hurdles and feels that ISPs should provide personal data relating to an IP address to rights holders on a proper request, without a court order being needed.
Comments on: ‘Copyright in a digital world. What role for a Digital Rights Agency’
The Federation welcomed the opportunity to comment on the major points in this paper which covered the illicit peer to peer debate, the establishment of a Rights Agency and the proposal for legislative obligations and a Code for ISPs.
Although the software industry is possibly not challenged as much by illicit p2p file sharing as perhaps the music industry, it still suffers considerable loss due to this activity. The Federation feels that software should be treated as a special case as it is geared towards providing a service to the user and will become more so with the advent of software as a service etc.
The proposal to form a Rights Agency is not supported by The Federation, who believes that it will become ineffective, expensive and bureaucratic and will not assist rights owners in their fight against illicit file sharers.
With regard to the proposed legislative obligations and a Code for ISPs, The Federation broadly welcomed the initiative if it felt that it would reduce illicit peer to peer traffic.
Feedback and Comments on: ‘Digital Britain: The Interim Report’
The Federation was invited to provide feedback and comment on this interim report which lays out the Government’s proposed actions in relation the advancement of broadband generally and Next Generation Access Networks. The Federation comments on relevant matters concerning it including the proposed Rights Agency, its’ remit and administration; new approaches to civil enforcement; proposed legislation requiring ISPs to notify infringers of unlawful activity and the information to be made available to rights-holders in relation to the disclosure of file-sharers details.
The UKIPO's Consultation on Copyright for the Future, Developing a Copyright Agenda for the 21st Century
The Federation welcomed the invitation from the UKIPO to be a material stakeholder in this review but expressed some concern as to its’ purpose and hoped that it was not intended to sideline the Gowers Review of 2006. The Federation consulted with Members on the questions raised and was pleased to receive some innovative suggestions. The resulting views on the protection of software copyright, and whether the current system provided the right incentives to sustain investment and support creativity were discussed in the paper.
European Commission Green Paper – Copyright in the Knowledge Economy
The Green Paper’s purpose is to stimulate debate on how knowledge for research, science and education can best be disseminated in the online environment. It aims to set out a number of issues connected with the role of copyright in the ‘knowledge economy’.
In its response The Federation comments only in general terms and although encouraged that an exception for copyright is not being proposed The Federation would welcome the opportunity to affirm their position, commenting that any legislation attempting to create further exceptions would conflict with the Directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (91/250/EEC).
Taking forward the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (Recommendation 39): Legislative Options to Address Illicit P2P File-Sharing
Recommendation 39 in the Gowers Review suggested that if voluntary arrangements between ISPs and rights holders to deal with illicit file sharing were not operationally successful, then legislation should be considered. This consultation centred on examining the options for solutions to the problem of illicit ‘peer-to-peer’ file sharing of copyright works to take Recommendation 39 forward.
In its response The Federation considers whether a voluntary MOU may be effective, the alternatives to it and how they may be expedited.
Submission to the inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group: Has Gowers Helped or Hindered Enforcement of IP Rights?
The Federation generally welcomed the recommendations of the Gowers’ Review but two years on, were pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the report’s relevance now.
In this paper, FAST lays out its views on a wide range of topics in the report including the enactment of s107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, the inclusion of IP on the National Community Safety Plan, whether the Government’s delay in implementing certain recommendations is causing problems and why, and whether digital developments in the past two years have resulted in changed focus and priorities, and explains the considerations behind its comments.
The Information Commissioner’s inspection powers and funding arrangements under the Data Protection Act 1998
As part of the Data Sharing Review the Ministry of Justice sought views on two specific recommendations:
- that the Information Commissioner should have extended statutory powers to gain entry to relevant premises to conduct an inspection, that the organisation and persons should have corresponding duties to cooperate, and
- that a tiered fee system be introduced to ensure a higher level of funding to carry out the statutory duties.
In its response, FAST considers and contributes comments to this important compliance debate.
Taking Forward the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
The Government is now taking forward the recommendations of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property held in 2006. As part of this, The Federation was asked to comment on the proposed changes to copyright exceptions which, amongst other matters, asked whether the format shifting exception should be limited to recorded music and films or if it should apply to other copyright works.
Taking Forward the Gower's Review of Intellectual Property
The Alliance's comments on the proposed changes to copyright exceptions which, amongst other matters, asked whether the format shifting exception be limited to recorded music and films or if it should apply to other works.
The Law on Damages
The Federation believes that to comply with international obligations under TRIPs and the Enforcement Directive, the UK Government must provide remedies for software copyright infringements that are ‘dissuasive’. Paying the price of the licence, as it is under the current damages rule, has no deterrent effect.
DTI Consultation on an amendment to Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002
The Federation supports the amendment to Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002 which will allow software intellectual property rights holders to enforce by having access to the information held, for example, by Trading Standards. This paper explains the reasons why The Federation supports this amendment.
Response to Representative Rights Consultation
After the publication of the Gowers Review on Intellectual Property The Federation responded to a dedicated Consultation Paper concerning Representative Actions under the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. In this paper The Federation asks the Government to continue to foster a regime which acts as an effective and dissuasive deterrent to those who are intent on infringing software intellectual property rights.
Consultation on Content Online in the Single Market
The European Commission issued a public consultation document on ‘Content Online in the Single Market' and invited the Alliance to make a submission.
In their response they discuss the concerns of the Alliance over the protection of content online, whether the present environment is conducive to developing trust in and take-ip of new creative content services online, and to what extent the creative industries suffer from piracy and how they try to combat it.
The response also covers their attitude to education and awareness campaigns and actions that the Alliance would like to propose.
Response to the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
In 2006 the Government set up an independent review of the UK's intellectual property framework. This review was led by Andrew Gowers and The Federation were invited to contribute. The Federation in turn invited its members to take part so that robust legal protection for software could be maintained thereby protecting the livelihood of the software industry. This paper is the submission put forward to the Review team.
Response to the Rogers Review which examined more than 60 policy areas currently enforced by local authority regulatory services
The Government commissioned a review to examine more than 60 policy areas that currently local authority regulatory services enforce and to recommend by Spring 2007 around 5 high risk national priorities. The Federation is keen to assist in improving Trading Standards enforcement action in key areas by making recommendations on these 5 policy areas and recommends that one of these areas is ‘Trade Description/trade marking/mis-description/doorstep selling' (includes IP crime) and in this paper lays out the reasons for this recommendation.