Last Weekend to See British Folk Art at Tate Britain

Blue Ship Detail

Detail of ‘The Blue Ship’ by Alfred Wallis, on display as part of the British Folk Art exhibition. Photo credit: Tate, the estate of Alfred Wallis.

Last month I had the opportunity to visit the British Folk Art exhibition at the Tate Britain in London, which runs until 31st August. This small but carefully-curated show will likely be of interest to copyright researchers and those interested in quotidian, outsider and craft art production. As someone who works on the intellectual property status of amateur media, I was drawn to this exhibition on a sunny Saturday in July, to find out if I could make any linkages between Kickstarter fan-fiction and the long trajectory of craft artisanship going back to Neolithic times. Knowing very little about folk art forms before my visit, it turns out there were many interesting connections to be made between current-day digital practices and the body of folk art presented in this exhibit.

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CREATe “All Hands” Conference, Glasgow, September 15 – 16th, 2014

hfaal-extCREATe’s first All Hands meeting will take place in Glasgow on September 15th and 16th. The venue will be the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed House for An Art Lover. The event, principally aimed at CREATe consortium members and associated projects, will provide an opportunity to internally showcase our collective efforts, with some invited external inputs and perspectives. We hope it will be enlightening, interesting, and fun.

Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Quit Playing Around: Monkey Stirs Up Copyright Controversy with Selfie

Monkey takes photos on camera

Macaca nigra self-portrait/ Wikimedia Commons

Guestpost by Emily Goodhand, first appeared here.

This week saw the return of the ‘monkey selfie’ story. A British wildlife photographer was photographing crested black macaque monkeys in Indonesia when the monkeys began to show an interest in his equipment and started taking pictures of themselves. One of the photos found its way on to Wikimedia and the photographer threatened to sue for copyright infringement and damages.

Wikimedia put it to a community vote and eventually refused to take the photo off the public domain section of the website Wikimedia Commons. So, if the monkey took the photograph, who really owns its copyright?

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment

New CREATe Working Paper (2014/07) Explores the Role of the Literature Review

The seventeenth release in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available to download.
Literature reviews as a means of communicating progress in research by Ruth Towse (CREATe Fellow in Cultural Economics, University of Glasgow and Professor Economics  of Creative Industries, CIPPM, Bournemouth University) challenges the perception that literature reviews do not produce ‘answers’, a common criticism.

Literature reviews are a standard means of communicating and evaluating the state of academic research that are useful both for those working in a particular field and for those who wish to find out what others are doing. They are limited, though, to what has been achieved to date. It seems to be the case, however, that reporting results of literature reviews to the industries requires more than just summaries: it also requires clarification of the environment of academic research and publication. Academic journals do not (or may not have) publish(ed) articles on some topics as there is neither academic interest nor expertise, or a topic may just not be in anyone’s career interests; journals can only publish articles that are submitted; and some topics may not be amenable to academic research because access to data is lacking or there are other information problems. Evaluation of progress often involves identifying gaps in knowledge and topics for further research. It can therefore seem to industry that academics are neither addressing the problems that matter to them but are more concerned with their own. These issues are discussed in this paper.

A related recent post by the authors of CREATe’s scoping review on file-sharing (that stimulated Professor Towse’s piece) is here:
Evidence quality in intellectual property research: A comparison with the medical sciences

Posted in Working Papers | Leave a comment

Copyright Exceptions in Parliament

The letter reproduced below was sent on 6 June 2014 by UK Intellectual Property Law Professors to the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee on Secondary Legislation, addressing (in their view unjustified) concerns about the implementation of new copyright exceptions for Parody and Quotation, and Personal Copying for Private Use. The letter was cited in the House of Commons Grand Committee on 9 July and in the House of Lords on 29 July. The exceptions will now come into force on 1 October 2014.

Update 30 July 2014:
The Copyright Regulations 2014, introducing exceptions for Parody and Quotation, and Personal Copying for Private Use were passed by the House of Lords on 29 July.
Hansard transcript link below, including motion to approve by the new IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe:

Update 20 July 2014:
On 9 July, the two draft Copyright Regulations were discussed by the Tenth Delegated Legislation Committee, and approved by the House of Commons on 14 July.
Transcript of Committee proceedings, including speech by David Willetts (then Minister for  Universities and Science), here:

There will be a debate and vote in the House of Lords on 29 July 2014.!/calendar/Lords/MainChamber/2014/7/29/events.html

Update 27 June 2014:
The Committee sat on 25 June. The two Statutory Instruments under scrutiny were “not drawn to the special attention of the house”.

Download PDF version of the letter

Letter by UK Intellectual Property Law Professors

Mr George Mudie MP
Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments
House of Parliament

6 June 2014

Dear Mr Mudie

Draft Statutory Instruments on Exceptions to Copyright

We, the undersigned professors of intellectual property, write to convey our regret that the progress of these important instruments has been delayed, and hope to offer the Committee some further help in resolving its concerns. We have seen the letter from the British Copyright Council (BCC) dated May 12 2014 and wish to respond to the legal questions raised at points 2-5 of that letter.  We assume that the first point raised by the BCC, which relates to contractual overrides, is now moot, as Parliament has already recognised the legitimacy of such overrides in two of the three statutory instruments passed in the last session (SI 2014/1372 and 1384).

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment

Fanfiction: Creators, communities and copyright

In the second of an ongoing series of features, Philippa Warr explores the recent trend of cloned games on mobile platforms and some of the legal and regulatory issues that the phenomenon raises.

Fanfiction: Creators, communities and copyright.

From zombie apocalypses in Merlin to elevator-confined World Wrestling Entertainment fighter romances and Twilight/Meerkat Manor crossover massacres, the online fan community has proven adept at taking characters from books, TV shows, movies and games and using them to create their own content.

Probably the most famous example is fanfiction. The original source material becomes a toolkit for fanfiction authors. Existing characters or locations are put to use in telling new stories which now live in vast online repositories like Some tweak the existing material to better suit the new author – what if a favourite character had lived rather than died? What if a romantic relationship had blossomed between another pair? Others move closer to original fiction, using the familiar setting but adding original characters, storylines and so on.

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment

Evidence quality in intellectual property research: A comparison with the medical sciences

By Steven J. Watson1, Piers Fleming2, Daniel J. Zizzo3

1 Department of Psychology and CREATe, Lancaster University,
2 School of Psychology and CREATe, University of East Anglia,
3 School of Economics and CREATe, University of East Anglia,

After the publication of our review exploring why people download copyrighted materials unlawfully and the impact of those downloads we were invited to contribute to this blog. This work was part of the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe) and one of the paper’s key contributions was to introduce a robust method for appraising evidence from the medical sciences. One of the common themes during the debate following the release of the paper was the difference in the types of evidence available in the medical sciences compared to the IP realm. This blog considers these issues with a focus upon the systematic review process.

Science, Evidence and Errors

The power of the scientific method is that it is self-correcting; we develop models of the world and then test these models empirically. However, the consequences of persisting with suboptimal models are greater in some fields than others, for example, in medical science an incorrect consensus can cost lives. A rigorous method was needed to describe the current body of evidence in a way that could challenge and correct widely held beliefs. Systematic review filled that need. Without systematic review human albumin (a blood product), which had been used in the treatment of blood loss and burns for over 50 years, would still be used today but we now know that it is not just ineffective, but dangerous1. This ability to overturn a practice that had been considered routine for half a century and literally save lives is why in medicine the systematic review is widely considered to be the highest quality of evidence available (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. The pyramid hierarchy of evidence in medicine, with the highest quality evidence for informing action at the top and the less reliable forms of evidence further down the pyramid.

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment

The song remains the same? – Pop, plagiarism and professional pride

By Dr Adam Behr, Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia’s School of Political, Social and International Studies

Jimmy Page with Robert Plant 2 - Led Zeppelin - 1977

Copyright infringement is back in the mainstream news with high-profile stars Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin both facing accusations of theft. I don’t propose to enter into a forensic examination of the merits of these claims or a scrying exercise regarding their potential success or failure. I bring them up because they point towards a couple of features of production practice that are starting to emerge from research on the CREATe project, ‘Digitisation and the Politics of Copying in Popular Music Culture’ and about which I will say more after laying out some of the context.

Copyright is a key point of concern for the music and publishing industries and often focuses on piracy, particularly with regard to digital distribution (notwithstanding that legal streaming services such as Spotify are disrupting the market for legal downloads and look like they may have a similar effect on the illegal variety). But not all copyright infringements – or otherwise problematic instances of copying – revolve around the circulation of the finished product and this post concerns a type of infringement rooted earlier on in the production chain in terms of its legal visibility – during the process of creation, rather than the distribution where piracy tends to reside –namely ‘plagiarism’.

Continue reading

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment

Project Officer: Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks

An opportunity for a Project Officer has arisen within the Library at the University of Glasgow on a CREATe project.

The role is to undertake a rights clearance simulation on selected extracts from the Edwin Morgan scrapbooks for the RCUK-funded project: Copyright and Diligent Search: Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks, locating original rights-holders, and negotiating permission to make available their work as part of the digitisation process.

Fuller details (job description, salary, organization chart, how to apply, etc.) are here (Vacancy reference: 008884)

Closing date 10 August 2014.

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment Updated to Reflect Changes in UK Copyright Law

Post by Bartolomeo Meletti, Lead Producer of [a co-production between CREATe and Bournemouth University] has been updated in light of the changes to UK copyright law made on 1 June 2014. Learning from the difficulties encountered by other initiatives in the field of copyright education, the Copyright User project aims at keeping up with the evolving copyright landscape.

Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment