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Copyright works: streamlining copyright licensing for the digital age

Digital communications Information technology Licensing Great Britain

This review discusses options for improving licensing processes in the digital era.

Following a recommendation from Professor Ian Hargreaves to establish a cross sectoral Digital Copyright Exchange, the Government appointed Richard Hooper CBE in November 2011 to lead an independent review. The review was conducted in two phases. Phase 1 – the diagnostic phase – concluded that a number of issues existed with copyright licensing which meant that it was not entirely fit for purpose for the digital age. Phase 2 – the solutions phase – sought to identify workable solutions to address the problems identified in Phase 1.

In summary, after eight months’ intense activity, working closely with a major subset of the UK creative industries (music, publishing, audiovisual, images) and with the two main affected sectors (educational institutions and archives/ libraries/museums) that, in response to concerns expressed in the Hargreaves Review, the creative industries have responded proactively and are busy streamlining copyright licensing for the digital age. This was the key concern of the Government and of Professor Hargreaves.

The main recommendation of this report is the creation of a not-for-profit, industry- led Copyright Hub based in the UK that links interoperably and scalably to the growing national and international network of private and public sector digital copyright exchanges, rights registries and other copyright-related databases, using agreed cross-sectoral and cross-border data building blocks and standards, based on voluntary, opt-in, non-exclusive and pro-competitive principles. The Copyright Hub will serve in the UK and beyond a wide range of copyright licensors (rights holders, creators and rights owners in both commercial and cultural worlds) on the supply side and a wide range of copyright licensees/users on the demand side.

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