Keynote: Waldfogel on “Creative Activity and Product ‘Quality’ in Music, Movies and Books since Napster/Digitization”

Post by Dr. Theodore Koutmeridis, CREATe Research Fellow, reviewing a keynote by Prof. Joel Waldfogel (University of Minnesota) titled “Creative Activity and Product ‘Quality’ in Music, Movies and Books since Napster/Digitization”. The keynote was presented at a CREATe capacity building event hosted by the Centre for Competition Policy & University of East Anglia, Norwich at the conference ‘The Economics of Creativity and Competition: New Markets, New Challenges” held on 4th/5th February 2015.


Professor Joel Waldfogel, a global expert on industrial organisation and law and economics, delivered an outstanding keynote speech on “Digital Renaissance”, at a CREATe capacity building event at the University of East Anglia.

Initially, he outlined the bigger picture, highlighting the demand side challenges associated with digitisation in media industries, as well as the intertwined supply side benefits. The digital revolution altered the functioning of markets and the legal landscape in creative industries, influencing significantly recorded music, books, movies and television, among others. Future work on copyright research and policy requires better data both in size and in breadth to analyse the effects of rapid technical change.

Focusing on music recordings, Prof. Waldfogel examines empirically a unique historical event, the impact that Napster had on music quality. By comparing and contrasting physical and digital sales, before and after the introduction of Napster, he shows that there is no evidence that vintage quality has declined. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, according to which a revenue collapse decreases the quality of products, evidence suggests that the quality of music recording has increased. According to Waldfogel a potential explanation for this paradox is that digitisation allows experimentation and leads to the discovery of additional “good” music.

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Valuing the Public Domain – Resource Page Now Available

pd2CREATe’s Valuing the Public Domain resource page, which consolidates reports, research summaries, links and multimedia materials is now available.

CREATe has undertaken a variety of activities exploring the value of the public domain in recent months. At the heart of this was a major research project to build understanding about how the public domain adds value to society.  As a two-year knowledge exchange project it was jointly funded by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the ESRC (Grant ES/K008137/1) and CREATe.

 

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Call for Papers: Regulating the ‘Sharing Economy’

Police observe anti-Uber protests in Paris on 25 June 2015. Graffiti reads 'Death to Uber'. Photograph by Charles Platiau.

Police observe anti-Uber protests in Paris on 25 June 2015. Graffiti reads ‘Death to Uber’. Photograph by Charles Platiau.

A new call for papers for an upcoming special issue of Internet Policy Review explores challenges facing regulators of the ‘sharing economy’ in Europe. The sharing economy concept, now with us for over a decade, refers to the digital enablement of users to buy, sell and exchange goods and services between one another. Recently, a proliferation of networked, mobile technologies and new business models has allowed companies to profit while enabling such transactions to occur. These include businesses such as fiverr, which connects media freelancers, writers and designers with clients who pay a small amount on a ‘per-gig’ basis. Goods and capital-sharing businesses include Spinlister, a platform that facilitates peer-to-peer rental of bicycles, skis and snowboards.

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Chronicling Collaboration: CREATe, CopyrightUser.org and the Digital Catapult

bart-melettiThe producer of CREATe’s Copyright User Portal  Bartolomeo Meletti explains a new partnership with the Digital Catapult (an innovation centre for the UK’s best digital ideas).


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CREATe and the Digital Catapult have entered a partnership to develop a set of copyright information tools that are responsive to the needs of primary creators and creative businesses in the digital world. As lead producer of CopyrightUser.org (a widely used online copyright portal, which attracted over 40,000 users since its launch in March 2014), I am being seconded from CREATe to the Digital Catapult Centre in Euston Road, London. In partnership with the Digital Catapult, we are producing events with creative groups (such as photographers, musicians and the archive sector) and developing new sectoral copyright guidance, including several video assets.

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Smart Cities Resource Page Now Available

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The University of Strathclyde’s new Technology & Innovation Centre, where the conference took place

A resource page documenting the recent Designing Smart Cities: Opportunities and Regulatory Challenges conference which was supported by CREATe is now available. On the page you can find audio files and presentations (where available) for each of the conference sessions, as well as other media, including the Society for Computers and Law article series which will appear in the June/July issue of Computers and Law. The conference took place on 31st of March and 1st of April this year at the University of Strathclyde.

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Competition in television markets

Private TVCREATe investigator Professor Gillian Doyle, of CCPR University of Glasgow, was recently invited to present at a plenary on multi-platform distribution and changes in windowing strategies at the International Conference on Private Television in Europe on 3rd June 2015.

This event, which was well attended by policy-makers and senior figures from industry across Europe, addressed the changing competitive dynamics of television broadcasting, ever-intensifying internationalization of media markets and ways in which emerging business strategies and EU law may potentially be at odds with one another. The conference took place in Brussels where Prof. Doyle is a member of the Advisory Board for the Vrije Universiteit Brussel Strategic Research Programme (SRP) on ‘Towards a Sustainable Media Ecology’.

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Diligent Searching in the Dark – Identifying images out of context

Kerry Patterson, Project Officer for CREATe’s Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks project describes some approaches and challenges in her efforts to carry out diligent search for thousands of images with little original context.


The enormous visual appeal of the poet Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks is countered by a large complication for the copyright researcher. Morgan rarely gives a source for the images he uses, meaning that the 16 scrapbook volumes contain tens of thousands of images with no note of their original context. For the researcher performing a diligent search as part of a mass digitisation project, the difficulty is this; without any supporting information for an image, what resources can be used to carry out a diligent search? Do the IPO’s Diligent Search guidelines offer assistance?

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Double Page from Scrapbook 12

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Mira Sundara Rajan guest blogs on The IPKat about a famous quote and the stamp of (in)authenticity

angelou1CREATe investigator Professor Mira Sundara Rajan recently appeared in popular Intellectual Property blog site The IPKat. In her guest post, entitled “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer”: a famous quote and the stamp of (in)authenticity, Mira discusses a fascinating recent episode whereby the US Postal Service issued a stamp intended to honour poet Maya Angelou who passed away in May last year at the age of 86. An image of Angelou on the stamp was presented alongside a quote, A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”, which appeared to be attributed to the poet. However, despite the best intentions of all involved, the quote in fact did not originate from Angelou (she’d used it often but never claimed it as her own). The words were actually authored by Joan Walsh Anglund, a children’s writer.

To read the whole story and to discover the outcomes and implications, visit The IPKat blog.

 

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New CREATe Working Paper Explores Relationship Between Copyright and Freedom of Expression

The latest entry in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available to download. Copyright and Freedom of Expression: A Literature Review by Yin Harn Lee, with a preface and summary by Emily Laidlaw and Daithi MacSithigh, reflects on the tensions within the relationship between copyright and freedom of expression, particularly with the emergence of the digital environment and expansion of copyright law. The review traces the nature of the debates about the interaction between copyright and free speech, treatment by the courts (focusing mainly on UK (in its wider European context) and USA jurisdictions), specific scenarios where the issues are particularly acute, and current proposals for reform.

The author and contributors hope that this Working Paper provides insight to the reader on what remains an uncertain area of the law. They invite comments to help inform the second stage of this project, whereby they’ll evaluate the need for an independent ‘free speech’ copyright exception (and consider the shape that such an exception might take) and seek to translate the knowledge contained in the literature review into practical advice for businesses and lawmakers on how to reconcile copyright and human rights law.

A forthcoming workshop in 2015 (details to be confirmed) will provide a forum for these issues to be discussed further, and its outcomes, together with this literature review, are expected to include the publication of an impact assessment tool.

 

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New CREATe Working Paper, Collective Management Organisations, Creativity and Cultural Diversity, Now Available

The latest entry in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available to download. Collective Management Organisations, Creativity and Cultural Diversity by John Street, Dave Laing and Simone Schroff of the University of East Anglia assesses the contribution to creativity offered by Collective Management Organisations (sometimes known as Collecting Societies, Authors Societies or Performing Rights Organisations). The authors concentrate on the music industry and in doing so examine the European Union’s attempt to reform the CMO in the name of creativity (among other goals), comparing the performance of CMOs in different national settings.

The authors argue that by pursuing these two routes, they can contribute to an understanding of the part played by public policy and institutional intermediaries in fostering creativity.

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