Research Blog Series: The music industry and blockchain technologies

Jeremy Silver presents research from his working paper on some technology issues at the heart of blockchain and possible opportunities for the music industry, for the Research Blog Series.


Project: Blockchain or the Chaingang? Challenges, opportunities and hype: the music industry and blockchain technologies

Investigator: Dr Jeremy Silver (CEO of Digital Catapult and CREATe Industry fellow)

What did your research aim to do?
My working paper looked at how bitcoin and blockchain captured the public imagination, some of the technology issues at the heart of blockchain and a key dispute taking the bitcoin community in different directions with a bearing on possible music applications. I explored the kinds of initially superficial ways in which blockchain represented an attractive technology to the music industry and tried to capture some of the excitement and voices that have been generating so much deeper interest in the subject in relation to music.  Finally, I discussed how this might all unfold; what the opportunities and obstacles might be.

How did you do it?
I interviewed a wide range of individuals from technology visionaries, to heads of collective rights management organisations (collecting societies) to recording artists, to music managers and label chiefs.

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EPIP 2018: Paper Submission Deadline Approaching

The deadline is approaching for the submission of papers to the 13th Annual European Policy for Intellectual Property association (EPIP) Conference. It will be held in Berlin, Germany, September 5th to 7th, 2018 with a special attention on IP in a data-driven economy: New challenges for law, economics and social sciences.

Submission deadline: March 31st, 2018.
Notification of acceptance: May 10th, 2018.
Prizes will be awarded to the Best Full Paper submitted and to the Young Scholar’s Best Paper. Reduced fees will be available for PhD students.

To find out more, see the full call for papers.

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Research Blog Series: Death and Digital Assets

For the Research Blog Series, Lilian Edwards writes on the research exploring how ownership and control of cultural assets produced by users on social media sites are regulated by copyright and contract law.


Projects: User Generated Cultural Content (UGCC): Users as Creators, “Walled Gardens”, and the Preservation and Bequeathing of Novel Digital Cultural Assets,

Investigators: Lilian Edwards, University of Strathclyde, Edina Harbinja, (now University of Hertfordshire) with RA Laurence Diver, Edinburgh University (on Memento Mori)

What did your research aim to do?
We aimed to examine how ownership and control of cultural assets produced by users on social media sites – text, photos, videos etc – are regulated by copyright and contract law. We also looked at two other key sites where cultural or copyright assets are produced by users: email platforms and online gaming sites. We chose to do this by focusing on what happens to these assets on the death of the user as this is becoming a difficult social problem, invoking clashes between contract and succession law, and between heirs and friends. Ownership in particular is transferred on death so it is a valuable cusp point to study.

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Research Blog Series: Intermediaries

Morten Hviid presents research on the impact of digitisation on the book, music and video games industries and the interaction between creators and new digital platforms, for the Research Blog Series


Project: Intermediaries

Investigators: Morten Hviid (UEA), Sofia Izquierdo Sanchez (University of Huddersfield), Sabine Jacques (UEA). Project initially led by Emily Laidlaw (University of Calgary)

What did your research aim to do?
The purpose of this project was to investigate the structure of selected creative industries, in particular the relationship between content creators, traditional intermediaries and platforms, to determine whether the current ecosystem maximises creativity and economic growth. To do so, we decided to focus on three key industries: books, music, and video games. Firstly, we map out the impact of digitalisation on the industry structure and then investigate the barriers for creative works from the moment of creation to the retail sector. As the project developed, the ability of the creator to either carry out or project-manage the entirety of the creative process up to the distribution became a more central question. In particular, we intended to understand what are the benefits, costs and challenges deriving from digitalisation for creators relying on new intermediaries (digital platforms) to access the market.

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Research Blog Series: The Cultural Enterprise Office and its clients

Kicking off the theme of Intermediaries, Platforms and Users for the Research Blog Series, Philip Schlesinger sets out the research into the cultural business support intermediary.


Project: Supporting creative business: Cultural Enterprise Office and its clients (A Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange Project).

Investigators: Professor Philip Schlesinger (PI), Dr Melanie Selfe (Co-I), Dr Ealasaid Munro (PDRA), the University of Glasgow.

What did your research aim to do?
The research aimed to undertake the first major detailed study of a cultural business support intermediary.

How did you do it?
A primary method was team ethnography in Cultural Enterprise Office. This was complemented by extensive access to the organisation’s documentation and a range of interviews with its clients, staff and the mentors used for training.

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Research Blog Series: The Copyright Evidence Wiki

In the final Research Blog Series post on the theme of Regulation & Enforcement, Kris Erickson presents the resource making copyright studies more accessible.


Competitors pitch their ideas to the jury
at the 2016 EU Hackathon in Brussels (Photo: Kris Erickson)

Project:  The Copyright Evidence Wiki

How can policy makers and academics engage with the growing body of empirical work on the effects of copyright law? The Copyright Evidence Wiki addresses this challenge by cataloguing and indexing studies in an open, transparent and accessible resource. The project was undertaken by the RCUK funded CREATe centre, and further supported by a grant from the Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) at the University of Glasgow. The current phase of the Copyright Evidence Wiki is supported by AHRC Follow-on Funding for ‘Unlocking CoCreative Possibilities‘ (AH/P013341/1).

Investigators: The Impact Acceleration Account award was held by Theodore Koutmeridis (PI) and Kris Erickson (Co-I). From 2014 to 2017, the Copyright Evidence Wiki was developed by Theo Koutmeridis (lead editor), Kris Erickson and Martin Kretschmer. Research assistants helped with coding entries: PhD candidates with CREATe included Kenny Barr, Megan Blakely, Jaakko Miettinen, Victoria Stobo and Andrea Wallace. From September 2017, Amy Thomas (CREATe PhD student) joined the project as Sub Editor. An Editorial Board was formed (see project page here).

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Research Blog Series: Potential Legal Responses to Threats to the Production of News in a Digital Environment

Richard Danbury sets out findings from research evaluating the legal options to address the threats to the business models of commercial news production, for the Research Blog Series.


Project: Appraising Potential Legal Responses to Threats to the Production of News in a Digital Environment

Investigators: The principal investigator was Professor Lionel Bently of CIPIL (University of Cambridge), collaborating with Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University. The research associate was Dr Richard Danbury (CIPIL).

What did your research aim to do?
The business models of commercial news production have been seriously undermined by various mechanisms, not least digitisation and the development of the Internet. Copyright has been repeatedly suggested as being a potential solution for news organisations in many different countries. Indeed, while the research was on-going, the EU Commission proposed exactly this: an amendment to European Copyright law designed to benefit news publishers.  This is found in article 11 of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (2016/0280 (COD)).

Many stakeholders have thought each of these suggestions a bad idea. The proposed EU law was no different. The research sought to evaluate the merits of the competing arguments.

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Research Blog Series: The Evolution of the UK’s TV Drama production sector

Richard Paterson presents his research on the changing Business Models of TV Drama production companies, for the Research Blog Series.


Project: Modelling the Evolution of the TV Drama production sector in the UK

Investigator: Richard Paterson, British Film Institute

The project was initiated to follow up on research carried out in the late 1990s which tracked the individual careers of creative workers in UK television through a series of questionnaires over a four year period. The subsequent analysis of this data indicated another issue of increasing importance: the ways in which the business models of ‘independent’ production companies were changing. I continued tracking these changes in the subsequent period and with the Fellowship was able both to amass further data on the foundation and growth of companies and their business models with a focus on drama production companies. I also began to explore the legislative changes which had influenced these developments.

The aim of the research was to explore approaches which might be deployed to analyse the complex nature of change in production company organisations over time. The research was carried out using various industry sources (Broadcast, PACT, BFI, IMDB, Companies House) to compile a database of company foundations and programme commissions through to 2015.  Although I had already built a database of companies, a major challenge – only partly overcome – was to extend the database to include a complete list of commissions and the firms’ economic performance over recent years.

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Research Blog Series: Copyright Litigation in the English Courts 2009-2015

Luke McDonagh presents the project that investigated cases on copyright heard at the High Court and Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, for the Research Blog Series.


Royal Courts Of Justice – London. By Nick Garrod, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Project: Copyright Litigation in the English Courts 2009-2015: Data and Analysis

Investigators: 
Primary Investigator: Georg von Graevenitz, Queen Mary University of London
Co-Investigator: Luke McDonagh, City University of London
Senior Research Assistant: Leslie Lansman, Queen Mary University of London
Research Assistant: Thomas Loukaris-Kapnidis, Independent researcher

What did your research aim to do?
In 2015 CREATe agreed to facilitate this project to develop a dataset containing the details of all court cases on copyright heard at the High Court (HC) during 2009-2015 and at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) from the same period, 2009-2015. The project team aimed to collect data on copyright litigation from the paper records held at the HC and IPEC and to provide analysis of emerging trends in a CREATe report.

We aimed to fill a significant gap in our understanding of copyright litigation in England & Wales. English Court filing records are held by HMCTS and very little is published about the nature of copyright actions that never make it to court. Moreover, even for cases which reach a final judgement, not all cases reach BAIILI (Britain and Ireland’s primary resource for accessible legal judgements).

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Research Blog Series: Jurisprudence in the European Court of Justice

Continuing the Regulation & Enforcement theme of the Research Blog Series, Marcella Favale summarises two pieces of CREATe research on the European Court of Justice.


Favale, Marcella and Kretschmer, Martin and Torremans, Paul L.C., Is There a EU Copyright Jurisprudence? An Empirical Analysis of the Workings of the European Court of Justice (August 13, 2015). Modern Law Review 79(1): 31-75 (January 2016). Available at SSRN: 

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643699

The Court of Justice of the European Union has been suspected of carrying out a harmonising agenda (e.g. making EU law more homogeneous) instead of simply interpreting EU law. Two things have been reproached to the Court, in copyright matters: 1) that it has failed to develop a coherent copyright jurisprudence (lacking domain expertise, copyright specific reasoning, and predictability); 2) that the Court has pursued an activist, harmonising agenda by using teleological (the purpose of the law) interpretation of European law rather than – less discretionary – semantic (the letter of the law) and systematic (other legislation, e.g. international treaties) legal approaches.

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