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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:11 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: Cheshire, UK
Somewhat ominous?

The Digital Economy Bill, published on Friday, will bring in unexpected registration requirements and government control over authors' agents and some publishers, according to copyright experts at national law firm Beachcroft LLP. Such agents - along with certain picture libraries, software resellers, record companies, film distributors and publishers - may need to register with the government, pay annual registration fees and be subject to codes of practice, backed up by criminal sanctions, if provisions regarding the control of 'licensing bodies' are brought in.
This unexpected impact relates to any 'organisation' which licences any copyright material created by more than one different individual - or acts as agent for any such owners. Although the intent of the Bill was to exercise greater control over Britain's major collecting societies, it is likely to catch thousands of agencies which negotiate licences of copyright works in all industries. Individual agents trading personally - or agents who represent only one author - will not be covered but the larger agencies established as limited companies will inadvertently be covered by the new legislation. Rights departments of major publishers, if separately constituted as legal entities, would also be covered.
Industries covered include book publishing, film, newspaper websites, online information sources and libraries, the film exhibition and distribution industries, software vendors (both business and games), iTunes and other music distribution sites.
Copyright expert, Robin Fry, a partner at Beachcroft, said: "The government might have been thinking about the UK's fourteen main collecting societies – but unless there's a radical rethink any business operating in the media or creative fields could be forced to confront a new licensing regime. The publishing and the media industries have not yet picked up on the impact of this proposed law. There will be consternation in Soho and confusion in Shoreditch. This Bill already needs a desperate overhaul."

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