What we should teach students about copyright

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A new suite of online learning materials has been launched today to help students and the general public understand how copyright law works.

The resource aims to help A-Level media students in the UK study for their exams while educating the wider public about what can and cannot be done with copyright works.

In October 2014, former Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, MP Mike Weatherly issued a report strongly urging government to find innovative ways ‘to prepare pupils […] for the 21st century knowledge economy’.[i]

A team of legal researchers from the University of Glasgow CREATe Centre and the University of Bournemouth Centre for Intellectual Property and Policy Management (CIPPM) and Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) have united to answer Weatherly’s call, while broadening the meaning of ‘copyright education’ to include uptake and re-use of artistic works. The resource is supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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CREATe’s First Working Paper of 2015 Considers the Value of the Public Domain

We are pleased to announced the release of CREATe’s first Working Paper of 2015, the twenty-seventh in the series to date. Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain by Kristofer Erickson, Paul Heald, Fabian Homberg, Martin Kretschmer and Dinusha Mendis documents the results of a year-long knowledge exchange initiative undertaken between the Intellectual Property Office, researchers at the University of Glasgow CREATe Centre, and more than two dozen UK businesses and innovators, to explore how value is generated from the public domain. The study was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

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Introducing Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks

Kerry Patterson, Project Officer for CREATe’s Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks introduces her work to explore the extent to which EU and UK copyright policy impacts the digitisation of unique and distinctive artistic collections, such as the Morgan scrapbooks, as well as the costs associated with rights clearance.


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Collage from Scrapbook 12

Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks is a project led by CREATe in conjunction with Glasgow University’s Special Collections Department. Within the Archive of the poet Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) held at the University, are sixteen scrapbooks. These date from 1931 to 1966 and were used by Morgan as an outlet for his creative expression before poetry became his primary focus. Within the scrapbooks are around 3,600 pages in total, with material from a diverse range of sources; contemporary and historical newspapers, books and periodicals, photographs, stamps, advertisements, flyers, cigarette cards and other everyday items.

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No end in sight?: Football, Vines and Value

Professor Raymond Boyle from the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow leads CREATe’s Work Package on Copyright, Football and European Media Rights. His blog below summarises several aspects of IP and licensing within the sport media environment. A full article from the project will appear in Media, Culture and Society in April 2015.


footballThe demise in the value of television rights for live football has been long predicted. Yet the successive rights deals in the case of the FA Premier League (FAPL) continue to disprove this. The current three year deal that ends shortly was worth £1.78billion.

In just over the twenty years since its creation the FAPL has helped launch and sustain the UK pay-Tv platform BSkyB. Forget all the talk about first run movies, its exclusive live sport, or, more accurately live English football that has helped position Sky as wealthiest broadcaster in the UK.

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Private copying: A pause for thought in Copydan (C-463/12)?

The European private copying exception under Art. 5(2)(b) of the 2001 Information Society Directive, and its varying implementations among EU member states, is continuing to cause a great deal of controversy and litigation. The Musicians’ Union (MU), The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music have just launched an application for Judicial Review of the UK implementation that introduced a narrowly conceived exception for “Personal Copies for Private Use” on 1 October 2014 – without providing for compensation. There is also an ever-longer string of cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), challenging the basis for charging compensatory copyright levies on media and equipment that may be used for making private copies.

At the heart of the policy debate is the uncertainty about what the levy system is really for: Is it a form of taxation for the benefit of artists; Is it a licence to consumers for certain activities? EU law has skirted around these fundamental questions, focussing instead on the requirements in the InfoSoc-Directive to provide “fair compensation” taking account of the “possible harm to the rightholders” (Recital 35 and Padawan Case C-467/08). However, a current case at the ECJ may actually address one of the critical issues: Can rightholders permit certain uses, and still require compensation through the levy system?

CREATe has offered a prize among the LLM class taking “Copyright in the digital environment” at the University of Glasgow for the best blog on Copydan (Case C-463/12). The winning entry was written by Susan Bischoff and Kristina Wagner. Congratulations!

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European Copyright Society Pursues Unification of European Copyright Law in Open Letter

19th December 2014 – CREATe director Prof Martin Kretschmer and Investigator Prof Estelle Derclaye are among members of the European Copyright Society (ECS) which has approached the new Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society seeking unification of copyright law in the European Union. Following earlier calls for improvements to EU rules on copyright law the Society emphasised in their open letter to Mr Günther Oettinger that the time was right to develop a European law with uniform and direct applicability across the Union.

The Society cited territoriality associated with the existing national approach to copyright law, causing an associated fragmentation of markets along national boundaries, restricting the emergence of a Digital Single Market for creative content and undermining international competitiveness.

The Society accepted the challenges associated with achieving unification, conceding that it would be a medium to long-term objective, but urged Mr. Oettinger to dismiss the arguments of those equating time-consuming with ‘unrealistic’.

Download the European Copyright Society’s Open Letter to Mr Oettinger.

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CREATe Event Reflects on Value of the Public Domain

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From left: Dr. Nicola Searle, IPO; Dr. Kris Erickson, CREATe; Professor Martin Kretschmer, CREATe; Jonathan Cardy, Wikimedia Foundation; Ben White, British Library.

On the morning of Friday 5th December CREATe and around sixty delegates convened at the Connected Digital Economy Catapult‘s breathtaking new Central London base. The purpose was to reflect on the outcomes and lessons of ‘Valuing the Public Domain’, a research and knowledge exchange project led by Professor Martin Kretschmer and Dr. Kris Erickson of CREATe. The study was undertaken with support of the UK Intellectual Property Office and co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

The purpose of the project was to map the size of the public domain and frequency of its use; analyse the role of public domain works in value creation for UK firms; and assist UK media companies to identify business models that benefit from the public domain. The study included analysis of over 2500 media projects on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform, usage statistics of photographs in over 1700 biographical pages on Wikipedia and interviews with UK media businesses and independent creators.

This half-day event aimed to bring together project researchers and transmedia businesses to explore and discuss the results of the study. What does the availability and use of the rich tradition of public domain materials in this country mean for UK creative industries? How can SMEs and other businesses leverage the public domain effectively to generate value? What are the emerging market trends and practices that will hinder or enable access to public domain materials in the future?

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CREATe Newsletter Launches

Issue one of CREATe’s newsletter is now available to download.

Inside you will find a range of stories describing CREATe’s recent work, including accounts of policy and industry engagement, as well as details of forthcoming events and publications. Featured articles include a reflection on where CREATe is almost two years after its launch; industry spotlights on CREATe’s engagement with the games, publishing and social media sectors; a summary of April’s File Sharing Review Stakeholders Meeting and Report Launch; coverage of CREATe’s role in Parliament’s adoption of Copyright Exceptions; and discussion about CREATe’s approach to copyright education through the Copyright User platform.

We’d be delighted to hear from you with any questions or comments that the newsletter prompts – you can contact us using the form at www.create.ac.uk/contact or on twitter (@copyrightcentre). Please feel free to share the newsletter with friends or colleagues that may be interested.

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EU ruling: embedding does not equal copyright infringement

2014-11-28 15_33_56-Copyright User on VimeoPhilippa Warr explores the recent ruling of the European Union’s Court of Justice which states that embedding videos containing copyrighted material does not constitute copyright infringement.


The European Union’s Court of Justice has issued a ruling on 21 October 2014 which states that embedding a video containing copyrighted material does not constitute copyright infringement.

The ruling on the case BestWater International GmbH vs Michael Mebes and Stefan Potsch has yet to be published in English, but it is available in French and in the official language of the ruling (German) on the court’s website. The basic complaint was that BestWater (a producer and distributor of water filters) objected to the two sales representatives (working for competitors) embedding BestWater promotional videos on their own websites from YouTube.

The case involved Article 3, paragraph 1 of Directive 2001/29/EC, which seeks to harmonise aspects of copyright in terms of how it applies to the information society. Specifically, it states that: “Member States shall provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.”

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CREATe Working Paper 2014/15 – The Use of Privacy Icons and Standard Contract Terms for Generating Consumer Trust and Confidence in Digital Services

The twenty-fifth release in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available for download.  The Use of Privacy Icons and Standard Contract Terms for Generating Consumer Trust and Confidence in Digital Services by Lilian Edwards and Wiebke Abel was commissioned to examine two possible paths for UK industry to re-establish consumer trust and confidence in the cloud, and in consumer digital services in general in a post-Snowden world.

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