CREATe Event Reflects on Value of the Public Domain


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 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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CREATe Supported Event Calls on Scotland’s Creative Industries to Improve on IP Exploitation

Mindy Grewar from the University of St Andrews describes Upping Your Game, the third in a series of IP workshops with creative industries practitioners organised by ICC and Creative Scotland, with additional financial support from CREATe.

“Make your assets sweaty”This wasn’t the typical language we’ve been hearing during our researching of strategies for managing and exploiting IP in Scotland’s creative industries. Our work with Creative Scotland has revealed a common set of challenges—such as the need to recognise one’s IP, to know when to share it or to protect it, and how.

But from a recent workshop on IP in the Scottish games industry, the call to sweatiness –to make intellectual properties ooze with revenue potential—has, er, stuck with us.

The phrase belongs to David Wightman, whose experience with guiding Another Visitor and other media companies in the UK, US and Asia enabled him to advise games companies to operate in “stealth mode”, to be ambitious about their goals and aggressive about their management. Sweaty assets fit this strategy efficiently, because they deliver a greater return on one’s developed IP.

“Make one product and get three out of it, with different skins, for different markets”, David counselled, or consider “reverse engineering—how to get more money from your existing products.”

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Delegation from Korea Copyright Commission visits CREATe

Korea Copyright Commission LogoA high level delegation led by the Director of Industrial Research Policy from the Korea Copyright Commission (KCC) visited CREATe, University of Glasgow, on Thursday 23 October 2014.

The purpose of this visit was to explore CREATe’s approach to economic research on copyright law (an area the KCC is keen to develop) and evolve an approach to sharing policy relevant information on copyright between Asia and Europe.

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European Copyright Society on copyright limitations and exceptions in the light of the parody case ‘Suske en Wiske’ (Court of Justice of the EU, Case C-201/13, Deckmyn)

The European Copyright Society (ECS) published today an opinion welcoming the Court of Justice’s departure from a doctrine of strict interpretation of exceptions and limitations in cases in which fundamental rights such as freedom of expression are implicated. The opinion has been supported by several CREATe affiliated academics in their individual capacity. Lead drafter of the ECS opinion was Prof. Christophe Geiger, Directeur Général of the CEIPI centre, University of Strasbourg.

Abstract, download link and signatures are available from our dedicated page.

The Court of Justice’s judgment and the opinion of Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón can be found here:

The referring court Hof van beroep te Brussel (17 April 2013) and the Advocate General (14 May 2014) both cite Mendis and Kretschmer’s 2013 study for the UK Intellectual Property Office The Treatment of Parodies under Copyright Law in Seven Jurisdictions: A Comparative Review of the Underlying Principles.

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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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