Forthcoming Event: Copyright History and Policy

Copyright history has long been a subject of intense and contested enquiry. Historical narratives about the early development of copyright were first prominently mobilised in eighteenth century British legal discourse, during the so-called Battle of the Booksellers between Scottish and London publishers. The two landmark copyright decisions of that time – Millar v. Taylor (1769) and Donaldson v. Becket (1774) – continue to provoke debate today. The orthodox reading of Millar and Donaldson presents copyright as a natural proprietary right at common law inherent in authors. Revisionist accounts dispute that traditional analysis. These conflicting perspectives have, once again, become the subject of critical scrutiny with the publication of “Copyright at Common Law in 1774” by Prof Tomas Gomez-Arostegui.

Taking Prof Gomez-Arostegui’s extraordinary work in this area as a point of departure, CREATe is organising an international symposium on 26th and 27th March 2015 to consider the interplay between copyright history and contemporary copyright policy. Is Donaldson still relevant?, and, if so, why? What justificatory goals are served by historical investigation?, and what might be learned from the history of the history of copyright? Does the study of copyright history still have any currency within an evidence-based policy context that is increasingly preoccupied with economic impact analysis?

Confirmed speakers and participants currently include: Prof Gomez-Arostegui (Lewis & Clark Law School); Prof Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge); Prof Oren Bracha (University of Texas); Prof Hector MacQueen (University of Edinburgh/Scottish Law Commission); Prof Mark Rose (University of California, Santa Barbara); and Prof Charlotte Waelde (University of Exeter).

The full programme for this event will appear here shortly.

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CREATe Working Paper 2014/16 – Copyright at Common Law in 1774

The twenty-sixth release in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available for download. Copyright at Common Law in 1774 by H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui reflects on the original purpose of copyright, as reflected in a pair of cases decided in Great Britain in the late 18th century. The orthodox reading of these two cases is that copyright existed as a common-law right inherent in authors but revisionist work has challenged that reading and almost displaced the traditional interpretation. This paper offers the first critical examination of the revision, ultimately concluding that it is incorrect and that we must return to the orthodox view.

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Schafer co-authors two new CREATe Working Papers exploring computational copyright law

CREATe’s Prof Burkhard Schafer (University of Edinburgh) has co-authored two new entries within CREATe’s Working Paper Series. The series’ twenty-first entry (2014/11)  is a collaboration with Ermo Täks, Addi Rull and Anni Säär from Tallinn Institute of Technology entitled Report on a computer assisted copyright reform observatoryIt explores “creative” approaches to computational copyright law – instead of focussing on consumers, it aims to utilise “self-applying” law to reduce costs both for the legislative process and also for the management of licenses and contracts by the rights holders and their legal representative. Self-enforcing or self-executing? What Computational Copyright can learn from LKIF Transaction Configurations for Eurobonds written with Orlando Conetta from Pinsent Masons LLP (2014/12) tries to rejoin two popular Artificial Intelligence approaches, Copyright by Design (DRM) and Privacy by Design, to computer technology in law, learning what can be learned from the success of DRM but trying to address its shortcomings by remaining firmly within the tradition of fully explicit legal modeling in the AI and Law tradition. For this, the paper presents a new theory, called Transaction Configuration. 

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Two new CREATe pieces on Internet Policy Review

ipr-logoTwo new articles, respectively the twenty-third and twenty-fourth entries in CREATe’s Working Paper Series, are now available to access as part of Vol 3, Issue 4 of Internet Policy Review. Edina Harbinja’s Virtual worlds players – consumers or citizens? explores aspects of End User Licence Agreements and notes the unfairness of their provisions, particularly the imbalance between user and developer interests governed by such contracts. User illusion: ideological construction of ‘user-generated content’ in the EC consultation on copyright by Kristofer Erickson examines how various stakeholders in the 2014 EC consultation on copyright attempted to shape the definition of UGC in order to suit their interests, sometimes aligning or conflicting with other stakeholder groups. 

Both papers are now freely accessible from Internet Policy Review Vol 3, Issue 4.

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CREATe Event – Digital Dialogues with Theatre

Mindy Grewar from the University of St Andrews describes CREATe’s recent IP for Theatre Event, Digital Dialogues.

A recent IP workshop with the Federation of Scottish Theatres (FST) revealed the complexity of IP issues to be managed when digital technologies are incorporated into an established, multi-faceted industry such as theatre. Handled effectively however digital media offer enormous potential for theatre companies, regardless of size, to reach new audiences worldwide and to enhance demand for live performances.

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Stellar Quines Theatre Company filming of The List

Digital Dialogues was hosted 9 September 2014 by the University of St Andrews Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC) in collaboration with FST, with additional funding from CREATe. The event focussed on the implications for IP brought about by theatres’ increasing adoption of digital activities such as downloading, streaming and marketing, and their impact on specific industry participants including producers, writers, performers, composers, marketers, and audiences. 45 theatre and dance company representatives attended at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.

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Forthcoming Event – 3D Printing: A Selection of Stakeholder Perspectives

When: Friday 7th November, 2014
Where: Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre

There has been much written on the latest developments relating to additive manufacturing or 3D printing as it is more commonly known. The recent rise of low-cost consumer 3D printers have also made the headlines and raised interesting and complex questions.

However, there is limited literature and debate on the implications of 3D printing surrounding intellectual property law, economics, policy, society and technology.

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To understand these various implications, this event, co-sponsored by the ESRC and UKIPO and hosted by Dr. Dinusha Mendis Co-Director CIPPM, will bring together industry experts, social scientists, policy makers, lawyers, economists and manufacturers of 3D printing and as such will go beyond the developments in 3D printing in order to understand the implications for various stakeholders.

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Reflections on CREATe’s All Hands conference

Guest post by Dr John Oliver, Associate Professor in Media Management, Bournemouth University, UK

2014.09.15-16.low_093CREATe’s All Hands conference (15-16th September 2014), while on one hand, provided the mainly internal consortium delegates with an opportunity to network and share research updates, it was also a platform for external academics, such as myself, to get close to the heart of CREATe’s work and meet the people behind its early success. As a media management researcher, I am interested in the business models of media and cultural businesses, and it was natural that I was intrigued by how a group of academic lawyers, technologists, sociologists and political scientists conceptualized ‘business models’ – something which was previously the domain of either economists or business academics, mainly those who studied strategic management, and where the phrase ‘business models’ can be a rather specific technical term. The two days spent in Glasgow, where the conversation during lunch and tea breaks was always on the verge of veering into Scottish independence and the referendum later that week, did answer the question to some extent. Regulatory frameworks, mainly copyright, are central to the genesis of ‘new’ or ‘better’ business models in media or cultural industries, and it became clear why RCUK made one of their biggest investments for the study of cultural and creative industries by funding an interdisciplinary centre for copyright and ‘New Business Models’, consciously rooted not in a ‘business’, but ‘law’ school of the University of Glasgow.

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All Hands 2014: CREATe Results – Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World


Tom Phillips addresses the All Hands audience

University of Edinburgh PhD candidate Nevena Kostova reports on the CREATe Results – Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World session at the September CREATe All Hands Conference.

The second day of the CREATe All Hands Conference, which took place in Glasgow from 15-16 September, opened with a panel on Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World. Six speakers presented on the development of their projects under these wide ranging themes, followed by commentaries from three respondents.

Tom Phillips from University of East Anglia presented first on the topic of games. One of the main questions underlying his project is when and how legal perspectives affect the practice of game developers. Within the framework of the project, the investigators are interested in exploring game developers’ awareness of legal issues and significance of these issues, as well as the barriers and opportunities for new business models.

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All Hands 2014: CREATe Results – Analogue Industries, Sports and Events


Object? Document? Both! Steve Benford describes his efforts to create a self-describing instrument, The Carolan Guitar

University of Glasgow PhD candidate Victoria Stobo reports on the CREATe Results: Analogue Industries, Sports and Events session at the September CREATe All Hands Conference.

Steve Benford, from Horizon at the University of Nottingham, presented first within this session, offering a presentation about ‘The Carolan Guitar’, a project which combines the traditional craft of luthiery, i.e. guitar-making, with a new technology called Aestheticodes, creating a hybrid craft practice. Aestheticodes function like QR codes; when you scan them, they connect you to a specific URL associated with that code. The codes can be drawn by anyone; they work on the basis of regions which contain different quantities of blobs. In contrast to the traditional QR code, which is made up of black and white squares, Aestheticodes can include line drawings and engravings, making them suitable for artists or graphic designers in a variety of mediums; on paper, on fabric, or engraved onto a guitar.

Starting from the basis that every object (or in this case, every guitar) tells a story, the Carolan Guitar is engraved with different Aestheticodes on different parts of the instrument’s surface. These codes are then used as triggers; an audience member may scan the back of the guitar in order to record the live experience of a performance; another luthier may scan the headstock to access information about the instrument’s provenance; a potential buyer may scan the soundboard to hear every song the instrument has ever played; and a performer may scan the nook to record the places in which the guitar has been played.

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All Hands 2014: CREATe Results – Books, Publishing, Archives and Libraries


From left: Liz Dowthwaite, Victoria Stobo, Estelle Derclaye, Ben Pester, Sarah Kember and Christian Geib

University of Glasgow PhD candidate Megan Blakely reports on CREATe Results: Books, Publishing, Archives and Libraries session at the September CREATe All Hands Conference.

The Books, Publishing, Archives, and Libraries Panel, chaired by Ben Pester from Goldsmiths, University of London, featured speakers with a variety of perspectives on the theme.  The session overall provided excellent overviews of progress on CREATe projects as well as valuable industry feedback.

Professor Sarah Kember, also from Goldsmiths, kicked off the session with a discussion related to copyright and publishing, Whose Book is it Anyway?.  The research focuses on hopes and fears through studying psychological, political, and cultural reactions to technology and copyright.  Prof. Kember is exploring the impact of peer review and free labour, citation issues, gender and feminist perspectives in publishing as well as the effect on business models.

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