Copyright licensing is not fit for purpose for the digital age: agree or disagree
By Ashley Smith Hammond
10 February 2012
What is happening?
The UK government is inviting evidence to the Intellectual Property Office’s Digital Copyright Exchange Feasibility Study (DCE). They are inviting written responses as well as hosting a series of events for people to learn more and provide feedback.
What’s it to you?
AmbITion Scotland believes that it is important that as many people and organisations from the creative and cultural sectors are represented in the evidence to the Government. Because we specifically provide organisational development for all scales of operation and across art forms, AmbITion Scotland has a uniquely broad view of the issues and opportunities for cultural organisations located across Scotland. We consulted with our stakeholders and colleagues to inform and enrich the answers we are providing to this enquiry.
How does it work?
The Intellectual Property Office is “the official government body responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom. These rights include: Patents, Designs, Trade marks and Copyright”. The DCE study is part of a wider consultation on changes to the UK copyright system in response to the Hargreaves Report. One of the recommendations of that report is to create a Digital Copyright Exchange. Everyone is invited to submit evidence on their experience and opinion about what the value and risk of such an exchange would be.
The study is testing the hypothesis: “Copyright licensing… is not fit for purpose for the digital age.” Below, you’ll find an extract of the fourteen supporting points in the consultation document.
There are seven reasons given for this. Copyright licensing is:
1. expensive (both the licensing process and the cost of rights)
2. difficult to use
3. difficult to access
4. insufficiently transparent
5. siloed within individual media types (at a time when more and more digital content is mixed media and cross-media)
6. victim to a misalignment of incentives between rights owners, rights managers, rights users and end users
7. insufficiently international in focus and scope
As a result of copyright licensing not being fit for purpose, the following seven claims are made:
1. the size of the pie for rights owners/managers is smaller than it could be
2. the share of the pie going to rights owners is smaller than it could be
3. new digital businesses within the creative industries are being held back
4. innovation is being held back
5. infringement of copyrighted content remains persistent
6. the end user is deprived of access to a significant amount of commercially and culturally valuable content, e.g. archive material
7. UK GDP should grow by an extra £2 billion per year by 2020, if barriers in the digital copyright market were reduced.
AmbITion Scotland agrees with the hypothesis. The feedback received from our participant organisations has confirmed this. Read the full AmbITion Scotland response document below.
There’s still time to get involved in the DCE study by attending one of the IPO’s events. In Scotland, the Edinburgh event takes place on 21 February. The links included in this summary give all the details you need to feed back. We encourage everyone to do so. If you do submit evidence, come back here and let us know what you said!
Here is what we said in our response to the DCE study. We’d like to know what you think, about copyright and about our response. Please feel free to post your thoughts here, on our Facebook page, on our social network or in an email.