Copyright pressure group says Treasury is undermining tax reliefs by delaying secondary legislation.
The Creative Coalition Campaign, the cross-industry pressure group for online copyright reform, has called on Chancellor George Osborne to speed up the full implementation of the Digital Economy Act.
In a recent letter to the Chancellor, CCC chairman and general secretary of actors’ union Equity, Christine Payne, criticised the delays in passing the Bill’s secondary legislation, which it says is vital to protecting UK copyright:
“It is now three years since the Act was passed with cross-party support and the statutory instruments needed to implement it are still yet to be passed through Parliament,” writes Payne.
“The Digital Economy Act’s impact assessment estimated that its measures could increase industry revenues by £200 million a year; failure to implement the Act and realise these benefits is harming British creative businesses, workers and the tax intake of HM Revenue and Customs.
“It also undermines very welcome initiatives you have implemented in other areas such as new tax reliefs for the creative sector.”
Payne states that the latest delay in implementation of the Act has occurred “as a result of technical issues that have been raised by Treasury officials with the relevant statutory instruments”:
“These statutory instruments were withdrawn from Parliament six months ago as a result of Treasury concerns and have yet to be re-tabled. During this period, very little information regarding the nature of the technical concerns raised by your officials has been shared with the creative community and we have been given no indication of a revised timetable for implementation.”
Payne goes on to call for “clarification” on what is causing the delay and a “commitment that the Treasury will resolve these technical issues with the statutory instruments as soon as possible.”
In February of this year, the CCC wrote to new Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger to express concerns that the CCC is being ignored by ministers and that the Government’s methodology for assessing the impact of copyright infringement in the UK is “fundamentally flawed” after it significantly downgraded the economic benefits of tackling copyright by “98% … from £26 billion to around £0.5 billion”, according to the CCC.
The CCC comprises rights holders and trade unions in the film, music, publishing, TV, and sport sectors, including BECTU; Equity; Film Distributors’ Association; Independent Film & Television Alliance; Motion Picture Association; Musicians’ Union; National Union of Journalists; NBC Universal; Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT); Premier League; The Publishers Association; UK Music; and The Writers Guild.