Monthly Archives: March 2016

New report: The impact of charity and tax law/regulation on not-for-profit news organizations

A new report on the impact of charity and and tax law/regulation on not-for-profit news organisations has been published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, and the Information Society Project at Yale University.

It compares the regulatory systems of Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK and the US and documents the challenges for not-for-profit organizations involved in the production of news and journalism.

The UK (England and Wales) chapter was written by the director of the IALS Information Law and Policy Centre, Dr Judith Townend, partly based on her previous work for the University of Westminster’s AHRC funded project on media power and plurality.

The report can be downloaded in PDF format at this link.

About the report

The advent of digital media means that many news organisations are re-thinking their business models, and facing new challenges.

But one sector which has seen growth, is the not-for-profit start up industry. In a new report, published jointly by the Reuters Institute and the Information Society Project at Yale University, Robert G. Picard, the RISJ’s North America Representative and colleagues examine the legal framework in which these operate in.

Picard, along with Valerie Belair-Gagnon and Sofia Ranchordás (both Yale University), studies the challenges thrown up by legal systems which don’t include journalistic activities within the concept of ‘charitable status’.

“Legal and regulatory definitions of charitable purposes hinder news organisations from achieving charitable and tax exempt status and receiving the associated benefits in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” says Picard.

Drawing on the regulatory systems of Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK and the US, the report sets out to gain a clearer understanding of the legal frameworks for charitable and tax exempt status for news organisations and the distinct challenges that may hinder their development.

See more at this link.

Upcoming Conference: Copyright, Related Rights and the News in the EU – Assessing Potential New Laws

CIPIL University of Cambridge, hosted at IViR, University of Amsterdam

  • Date: Saturday, 23 April 2016, from 10:00 t0 17:30 (CET)
  • Location: University of Amsterdam, Agnietenkapel , Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229 – 231, 1012 EZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Registration at this link

The difficulties of commercial journalism
Like music and other branches of publishing, commercial news journalism has faced radical challenges over the last two decades. There is talk of the “death of the newspaper” and questions have been raised about the very future of journalism. While with music, books and films, the greatest threat to existing business models have been seen as the unauthorised and unremunerated home copying and peer-to-peer distribution, with commercial news journalism much of the challenge derives from the fact that advertising has not followed the shift of print-newspapers to the Internet. Such difficulties are compounded, from the point of view of news publishers, by the relatively free availability of news from other online sources. And they’ve been further compounded by the recent rise of social media, particularly Facebook, as a main route to the news.

Questions that arise
Is there sufficient rationale to alter copyright or related laws in a way that benefits news publishers? Should commercial news publishers benefit from any change in the law, given that other means exist for gathering and disseminating news? How strong is an economic case for such a right? To what extent is any economic case for change supplemented by other arguments, such as reward and natural rights arguments, and arguments about media plurality? Should European law treat news publishers in a similar way to other content producers, such as phonogram producers and broadcasters, who benefit from a related right? Would individual journalists benefit from a right afforded to news publishers, and if so, to what extent? Should news publishers benefit from levies and compensation schemes designed to benefit author-journalists?

A one day conference at IViR will seek to address these questions. The conference is part of a two-year, AHRC funded project at CIPIL, Cambridge University, entitled Appraising Potential Legal Responses to Threats to the Production of  News in a Digital Environment, which the IViR will kindly host and facilitate.

The conference brings together an interdisciplinary combination of academics and practitioners to discuss the issue. Representatives from news producing, publishing and disseminating organizations, both traditional and online, have been invited and speakers will include Andrew Hughes from the NLA Media Access. Academic speakers include Lionel Bently and John Naughton from Cambridge; Bernt Hugenholtz and Mireille van Eechoud from IViR; Ian Hargreaves from Cardiff University; Raquel Xalabarder (UOC Barcelona) and Jan Hegemann (FU Berlin).

For further information contact:
Dr Richard Danbury
Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law,
University of Cambridge
Rmd59@cam.ac.uk

Update on Information Law and Policy Centre’s contribution to Investigatory Powers debate

As previously reported on this blog, our Information Law and Policy Centre (ILPC) at IALS has facilitated an ad hoc research group of academics and practitioners to contribute to the ongoing policy debate on surveillance following publication of the government’s Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Members of this group published a clause-by-clause review examining their provenance – that is, whether the clauses come from existing legislation, or are newly introduced.

Lorna Woods, IALS senior associate research fellow and professor in law at the University of Essex, then submitted a revised version in her evidence to the joint select committee scrutinising the Bill. The committee used her evidence in its report published in February, for a table describing each investigatory capability in the draft bill (pp.32-37).

Separately, members of the Information Law and Policy Centre’s advisory board including Professor Lilian Edwards, Strathclyde University and Dr Lawrence McNamara, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, have signed an open letter published in the Telegraph calling on the government to give the Investigatory Powers Bill, which was introduced to the House of Commons on 1st March, the time it needs and not rush it through Parliament.

Members of the Centre have also participated in related events: Information Law and Policy Centre director Dr Judith Townend spoke at a symposium on the Bill at the University of Cambridge on 5 February 2016, and on 8th March, acted as discussant in an event on surveillance and human rights at Senate House, as part of a Seminar Series organised by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Human Rights Consortium.  Other speakers included Kirsty Brimelow QC and Silkie Carlo, policy officer in technology and surveillance at Liberty.

MTE v Hungary: New ECtHR Judgment on Intermediary Liability and Freedom of Expression

Christina Angelopoulos is a post-doc researcher at the Information Law and Policy Centre of the University of London. She wrote her PhD on intermediary liability in copyright at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam. In the following piece, she analyses the recent judgment of the ECtHR in MTE v Hungary. The post was originally published on the Kluwer Copyright Blog.

On 2 February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered its first post-Delfi judgment on the liability of online service providers for the unlawful speech of others. Somewhat puzzlingly, the Court reached the opposite conclusion from that of last summer’s controversial Grand Chamber ruling, this time finding that a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) had occurred through the imposition of liability on the applicant providers. While in principle therefore the judgment is good news for both internet intermediaries and their end-users, the ruling does little to dispel the legal uncertainty that plagues the area: attempting to reverse and head off in the right direction, the Court still finds itself falling over the stumbling blocks it set out for itself last year. [To continue reading the rest of the post on the Kluwer Copyright Blog, click here.]