Dear Intellectual Property Office,

I would like to request all internal communications regarding the redactions to consultation submissions for the Consultation "Consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system" (Reference 2011-004) which closed March 21 2012. When publication of the responses was made July 26 2012 a statement was made concerning redactions because "a small number of respondents had advanced criticisms or inappropriately criticised the activities of others in the sector."

I would like a copy of the criteria for redactions, any internal emails/documents concerning the redactions, and the names and positions of those involved in the redaction actions. I'd also like a copy of the minutes of any meeting which involved/covered the redactions.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Norton

foi, Intellectual Property Office

Dear Mr Norton

Thank you for your email of 21 September 2012 requesting all internal communications regarding the redactions to consultation submissions for the "Consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system".

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587

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foi, Intellectual Property Office

Dear Mr Norton,

Thank you for your email of 21 September 2012 in which you requested information about the redactions to submissions for the consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system (Reference 2011-004).

We do hold information falling within the terms of your request, however we need more time to consider your request.

I wish to advise you that the following exemptions apply to the information that you have requested:

s.40 (2) - personal information
s.42 - legal professional privilege
s.36 (2) - prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

By virtue of section 10 (3), where public authorities have to consider the balance of the public interest in relation to a request, they do not have to comply with the request until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances.

The Intellectual Property Office has not yet reached a decision on the balance of the public interest. Due to the need to consider, in all the circumstances of the case, where the balance of the public interest lies in relation to the information that you have requested, the Department will not be able to respond to your request in full within 20 working days.

I hope to let you have a response by 16 November 2012.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

Chief Executive
Intellectual Property Office
PO Box 49
Cardiff Road
Newport
South Wales
NP10 8YU

E-mail: [email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587

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foi, Intellectual Property Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Norton

Thank you for your email of 21 September 2012 in which you requested information about the redactions to submissions in response to the consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system (reference 2011-004). We have now completed searching for the information you requested.

A copy of the information, which can be disclosed, is attached.

The remainder of the information that you requested is exempt under sections
40 (2), and 42 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 40 (2) applies to personal data of any person, including the names of junior officials (i.e. below senior civil service level) that are not in the public domain, because disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles.

To explain further, section 40 (2) of the FOI Act provides for personal information to be withheld where the release of such information would breach the first data protection principle. The release of this information with respect to junior officials would be neither fair nor would it meet condition 6 (1) of schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

For this reason most of the names and contact details of officials have been redacted from the released information.

Section 42 applies to information which is protected by legal professional privilege, in this case confidential communications between the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and its legal advisors regarding the publication of the consultation responses.

Section 42 is a ‘qualified exemption’ which is subject to a public interest balance. We consider that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

I realise that the IPO’s refusal to release all the information you have requested may be disappointing to you. If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your FOI request, you have the right under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

Chief Executive
Intellectual Property Office
PO Box 49
Cardiff Road
Newport
South Wales
NP10 8YU

E-mail: [email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587

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Dear Intellectual Property Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Intellectual Property Office's handling of my FOI request 'Discussions on redactions in collecting society consultation'.

The request included "a copy of the criteria for redactions". This was not included. Nor is not knowing 'what grounds there might be for redacting' in the public interest.

Additionally, I'm certain there are more emails on the topic. I know there are discussions between Hamza Elahi and Nadia Vally (the head of the project, and thus not a junior person, as claimed under 40(2) in your response) that were not included because discussions involving her are on record, including setting up for a transatlantic telephone call on August 2 2012 to discuss this topic.

Further the emails you HAVE released, point to a serious concern regarding censorship. Specifically that some responses were free from any sort of 'libel scrutiny', while those that did not come from large businesses were "erred on the side of caution." With at least one submission, entries which were well sourced statements backed by public reports were censored for 'libel'. This includes references to, and even mentions OF, court cases. References to court cases and legal proceedings are completely exempt from UK Libel actions (Section 15 and Schedule 1 (2) of the Libel Act 1996). Thus the legal advice that has led to these redactions for statements that are almost the textbook definition of qualified privileged [quote "Incidentally, The EU Court of Justice just ruled that in cases like these, there are no fees to pay (http://euobserver.com/871/115621#.T2cCyG...

As such there is a definite public interest in the quality of legal advice given, where censorship on grounds of 'libel' has been performed 'on legal advice' even in areas where English law is CLEAR that it was not actionable. Combined with the non-evenhanded nature of the application, There is an incredibly strong case for disclosure to the public.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/di...

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Norton

foi, Intellectual Property Office

Dear Mr Norton,

Thank you for your email of 16 November 2012 requesting a review of our response to your FOI request.

We hope to be able to deal with your request within 20 working days, i.e. by 14 December 2012. If it becomes clear that we cannot respond by then, I will write to you again to set a new date.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding this review.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587

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Alison Smith, Intellectual Property Office

Dear Mr Norton,

I am writing to you about the ongoing review of our response to your FOI request regarding redaction of the submissions to the consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system.

I regret that we cannot complete the review by 14 December 2012. I apologise for the additional delay, but wish to assure you that we consider it necessary in order to respond fully to all the points you have raised.

We expect to be able to inform you of the outcome of the review by 16 January 2013 at the latest.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587.

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foi, Intellectual Property Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Norton,

Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review of the Intellectual Property Office's handling of your FOI request 'Discussions on redactions in collecting society consultation'.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Smith
Records officer
Intellectual Property Office
Tel: 01633 814587

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