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  • UK-IPO
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    UK Intellectual Property Office find increase in uptake of legal services online

UK Intellectual Property Office find increase in uptake of legal services online

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently launched a report from an extensive survey on consumer behaviour in relation to online downloading and streaming services.

increase of more than 10% in take up of legal services since 2013
increase of 6% in online consumption, of both legal and illegal content
1 in 5 still access content illegally

The full report can be found here

By |July 24th, 2015|0 Comments|

Alternative regulator IMPRESS announces Board

On 11 December,  the inaugural Board for alternative regulator IMPRESS (The Independent Monitor for the Press) was announced. The Board will join Walter Merricks CBE, the first Chair of IMPRESS, in launching the new organisation, which is working to introduce independent and effective press regulation.
The Board members include

Deborah Arnott, former broadcast journalist and now Chief Executive of the charity ASH
Iain Christie, barrister and Secretary of the Civil Mediation Council
Sue Evison, former Chief Feature Writer of The Sun
Máire Messenger Davies, former journalist and now Professor of Media Studies at the University of Ulster
David Robinson, Founding CEO of the life insurance company Bright Grey
Patrick Swaffer, President of the British Board of Film Classification.

More details are available at

By |December 11th, 2014|0 Comments|

Ofcom publishes decision to make spectrum in 700 MHz band available for mobile data

By Kathryn Rockwell

Ofcom has published a decision to make valuable spectrum frequencies available for mobile broadband services, while assuring that the future of digital terrestrial TV will be secured. The decision enables the mobile network operators to deliver mobile broadband using the 700MHz frequency band, which is currently being used for digital terrestrial TV services.

As a result, consumers and businesses are expected to get faster and cheaper mobile data services, without this coming at the expense of free-to-view TV services. Ofcom has assured that despite moving terrestrial TV to another band, there will be no impact on viewers, and that the revenues will outweigh the costs ensued by revising terrestrial TV framework. Ofcom plans to enact this plan by the beginning of 2022, possibly by 2020.

Ofcom also stressed that the users of the wireless microphones in the program making and special events sector, such as theatres, sports venues, and music events will continue to have access to the airwaves they need to deliver cultural benefits.

By |November 21st, 2014|0 Comments|

Final EU Kids Online project report released

by Alexandra Chernyavskaya
Last week at the Safer Internet Forum (SIF) in Brussels, Belgium, Professor Sonia Livingstone launched the final report of the EU Kids Online project, a four year project to survey young people’s internet use. The report outlines key findings from an extensive body of research carried out by the European Commission funded project.
As compared to 2010, the latest research revealed some changes in the way children interact online and what they encounter. More children are involved in a range of online activities including visiting social networking sites, using instant messaging and downloading music and video. There has been a sharp increase in the proportion of kids who view online video clips (32% in 2010 and 59% in 2014) and who post and share content with other users (6% in 2010 and 20% in 2014). 
However, certain risks have also changed. Today, 11-16-year-olds are more likely than four years ago to be exposed to hate messages, pro-anorexia and self-harm content. Young people’s feedback about what upsets and bothers them online were very diverse. Top concerns voiced included encountering pornographic materials and real or realistic (as opposed to fictional) depictions of violence and cruelty. Still, online risks affect a minority rather than majority of young internet users.
You can find more information on EU Kids Online here.

By |November 11th, 2014|0 Comments|

Updates on UK press regulation

by Sana Ali

This week has seen significant developments in the area of press regulation in the UK, with the Press Recognition Panel created as a legal body under the Royal Charter, and IMPRESS announcing its first chair. While IPSO, the self-regulatory body set up by elements of the industry has made clear it will not seek recognition under the charter, IMPRESS, which aims to be an independent monitor for the press, has yet to decide.

The Press Recognition Panel established by the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press has appointed its five initial Board members. The appointments were made official on 3 November 2014, when the Press Recognition Panel came into effect as a legal entity.

Working with chair Dr David Wolfe, the five members are:

Harry Cayton, current Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority
Emma Gilpin-Jacobs, served as Director of Communications for the Deputy Prime Minister till February of this year
Carolyn Regan, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Just for Kids Law and a Council Member at City University
Harry Rich, current Chief Executive of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Governor of the University for the Creative Arts.
Tim Suter, Founding Partner of Ofcom

Dame Anne Pringle, Chair of the Appointments Committee, said, “We are delighted to appoint these five experienced and capable individuals to these important and challenging roles. They bring the right mix of skills and qualities necessary to establish this important new organization and provide independent verification of press self-regulatory arrangements.”

Two days later came the appointment of IMPRESS’s first chair, Walter Merricks CBE, first Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. In a press release sent out on 5 November, the IMPRESS Project said, “[Merricks] will lead this ground-breaking organization which is […]

By |November 7th, 2014|0 Comments|

Consultation launched to tackle UK mobile ‘not-spots’

by Candace Gawler

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has launched a consultation to address the poor mobile network coverage and ‘partial not–spots’ across the UK. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said that it “can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK, people cannot use their phones to make a call. The government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue.”

The consultation outlines legislative options including ‘national roaming’ whereby phones could roam onto another network signal when theirs was not available, much like international roaming. The other three options outlined include ‘infrastructure sharing’ between mobile networks and ‘reforming virtual networks,’ which would ensure more than one company offers access to the same network. Finally a ‘coverage obligation’ was suggested, which would oblige certain networks to cover a certain percentage of the UK but leaving it open to them to decide how best to achieve this outcome.

As reported in the Guardian, The Times published details from a private letter that suggests Home Secretary Theresa May is opposing Javid’s plan to allow ‘national roaming,’ warning that it could leave Britain more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

In his Morning Briefing for the Telegraph yesterday, Stephen Bush highlighted the frustration that national roaming could cause to phone companies, terrorism concerns aside, as it reduces the incentive to customers to switch providers for better service.

The culture secretary, however, said he was “determined to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage as investment in infrastructure will help drive this government’s long-term economic plan.”

By |November 6th, 2014|0 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Lords Inquiry into women in news hears final evidence session

Lords Inquiry into women in news hears final evidence session

by Stacie Walsh

On Tuesday 4 November the third and final evidence session for the House of Lords’ “Inquiry into Women in news and current affairs broadcasting” was held at Westminster Palace. Evidence was given by Miriam O’Reilly, former BBC news presenter and producer best known for her work on Countryfile, Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News presenter, and Penny Marshall who, after a short stint at the BBC, will return to ITV news as social affairs editor. Each of the women discussed a range of topics affecting the unrepresentative numbers of women in news and broadcasting today.

O’Reilly focused on the discriminating push to leave broadcasting felt by women over the age of 50. Marshall identified the need for more data on the issue spanning why women leave (noting two major drops in numbers for women in their 30s and again around 50), where they are going, and why they are not returning to careers in broadcasting. Newman highlighted the need for a cultural shift allowing men and women more options for work-life balance as well as instilling confidence in girls to pursue careers in news.

Statements made by Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities and Mr. Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, indicated that the state sees a role in promoting change by bringing attention to the issue and fostering communication between relevant parties. At this time, no party supports hiring quotas or further legislative intervention citing the need for an internally driven change in industry culture.

By |November 6th, 2014|0 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Ofcom invites comments on how best to measure media plurality

Ofcom invites comments on how best to measure media plurality

by Kathryn Rockwell

Ofcom has invited comments on how best to measure media plurality, following a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The DCMS Secretary of State requested for Ofcom to lead the development of a measurement framework by determining a set of indicators, and deciding upon an appropriate metric. This framework will allow better assessment of UK media plurality in the future.

Many believe that the market alone cannot ensure media plurality, but exactly what measures to take is a contested topic, and an area that has already seen much discussion. As Damian Tambini noted last week, since 2012 The European Commission, The House of Lords Select Committee, Ofcom and DCMS have opened consultations on media plurality.

While the UK scores relatively well in terms of media pluralism policy and development, it also exhibits some significant risks, according to a new report. A pilot study of the EU’s Media Pluralism Monitor identified risks involving net neutrality, the protection of journalism, access to public service media by cultural and social groups, and ownership/control of media by politicians.

In addition to these concerns, a focal point of future discussion will be the role of online delivery and digital intermediaries such as social networks, app stores, search providers, and content aggregators. The UK Government has outlined its position that online should be included in the measurement of media plurality, however there has yet to be discussion between experts and stakeholders on how that should be done.

Ofcom announced that it will develop its framework in consultation with industry, and invited stakeholders to provide input. The regulator further announced that it would issue a consultation in 2015 on the proposals for the indicators to include in the measurement framework.

The call for input […]

By |November 3rd, 2014|0 Comments|
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    Commons select committee questions the value of the BBC Trust

Commons select committee questions the value of the BBC Trust

by Ayden Fabien Férdeline

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday questioned the BBC Trust over how well it is representing the interests of license-fee payers. The Trust was established in 2007 to provide oversight over the public broadcaster and is mandated to perform this role in the public interest.

John Leech, Liberal Democrat MP for South Manchester, asked how well the general public believes the BBC Trust represents their views. Trustee David Liddiment said, “I wouldn’t think that there were that many people who know what the BBC Trust is. We’re eight years old. It takes time to get into the public consciousness.”Liddiment later said that the public’s perception of the BBC Trust is not positive and “it is clear there was a fault line in the way that the Trust was set up that I think we only properly came to grips with quite recently.”

Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said the Trust is perceived as “not fit for purpose” and asked what kind of entity would be best to oversee the BBC moving forward. Liddiment replied that “there should be an entity that protects the public value in the BBC”and ensures the organisation is fulfilling its charter, but feels the Trust in its current capacity is doing “very good work …to keep the cost of the BBC under control”.

By |October 22nd, 2014|0 Comments|

UK Government announces “revenge porn” legislation

On 12 October, a press release from the Ministry of Justice and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP announced that maliciously sharing sexually explicit pictures of former partners will become a specific offence in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
The change in the law will apply to images shared both online and offline, covering those posted on social networking sites or websites and those distributed physically or sent by SMS. The law will also apply to photographs or video showing people engaged in sexual activity or their genitals, where “what is shown would not usually be seen by the public.”
The exact form of the offence has not been determined, but the press release stated it would carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

By |October 15th, 2014|0 Comments|