Post By Ms. Megan Rae Blakely (PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow) and Dr Sukhpreet Singh (R&D Manager, CREATe)
Fair Use Logo by Odinn 2007 CC-BY-SA
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) recently published a report that engages with the suitability of ‘fair use’ copyright exceptions in Australian law. Based upon more than 18 months of work and over 1,000 submissions and consultations with stakeholders, the report strongly recommends a more flexible and adaptive copyright framework for Australia. Any copyright flexibility legislation must still comply with the minimum rights laid out in the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention provides a three-step test to determine if a statutory reform is compliant; all member states must confine their limitations and exceptions to exclusive rights to 1) certain special cases which 2) do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and 3) do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.
Post by Liz Dowthwaite (Doctoral Researcher at CREATe & Horizon, University of Nottingham)
Figure 1 Internet culture as portrayed by the webcomic ‘Nedroid’ on Tumblr 
Webcomics are comics that an independent creator posts on the Internet for free . There are thousands on the Internet at any one time. Some artists are able to support themselves full-time through their comics, and many make at least some form of income. The importance of the relationship between creators and readers in comics has been recognized and talked about for many years , with webcomics able to embrace Web 2.0 technologies for this purpose: “One of the greatest things about Webcomics is the immediacy, frequency and intensity of your interactions with readers. You can talk to them, and they can talk back” (p.104) . Artists develop meaningful relationships with readers over time, forming extremely dedicated communities that are willing to spend time and money supporting them [1,4,5,7,8,9]. Alongside these critical relationships, artists must also manage the use of their work online, ensuring that their rights are maintained. We all know that illegal hosting of content is a massive problem on the internet, and whilst most creators accept that this is somewhat inevitable, webcomics communities have been known to take to the social networks in great numbers to protest when work is copied or re-posted without attribution. My PhD is concerned with how creators use social media sites to build these communities in order to support themselves, both in terms of their rights and in the sense of making money, and my research so far shows that they do make extensive use of sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. The example of such a niche group as ‘webcomics’, who have been extremely successful and are only going from strength to strength, may be used to aid other groups and individuals who more and more are turning to the Internet to help them succeed in the creative industries.
The fourteenth release in CREATe’s Working Paper Series is now available for download. Archives and Copyright: Developing an Agenda for Reform edited by Ronan Deazley and Victoria Stobo documents a Symposium of the same name held at the Wellcome Trust on 27 September 2013. The event was organised by Deazley and Stobo in collaboration with the Wellcome Library, and represented the culmination of an RCUK-funded research project concerned with the manner in which the copyright regime both enables and inhibits the work of heritage institutions, and in particular archives.
A web resource offering short videos of the presentations at the Symposium, full transcripts, an introductory essay and a bibliography, as well as other project-related outputs is available at www.create.ac.uk/archivesandcopyright.
CREATe is hosting the Fourth Research Workshop of the AHRC funded research network ‘Beyond the Campus: Connecting Knowledge and Creative Practice Communities across Higher Education and the Creative Economy’.
Themed crowdfunding cake expertly baked by Sheona Burrow
On Tuesday 18th February we organised a joint reading group session with colleagues from CCPR (normally branded as CREATe Studio). These reading groups are open to all PGRs and faculty. The topic of discussion was crowdfunding, an emergent activity in which project founders ask for a large number of small contributions from a community of online funders. It became clear over the course of lively discussion that there are a number of points of overlapping interest for researchers in both copyright and cultural policy.
Organised by Giancarlo Frosio and Estelle Derclaye, School of Law, University of Nottingham and funded by CREATe, this workshop attempted to gather the different stakeholders in the field of open access publishing, especially open academic publishing, with the double aim of presenting the research gaps identified in Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review and eliciting reactions, comments, criticisms and finding new research questions and areas to explore both theoretically and empirically.
Photos from the Day
With thanks to Mike Beard, photographer at University of Nottingham.
Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review
Available as CREATe Working Paper 2014/1, Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review by Giancarlo Frosio under the supervision of Estelle Derclaye provided a backdrop to the day’s discussion.
The literature review was undertaken to ‘investigate the current trends, advantages, disadvantages, problems and solutions, opportunities and barriers in Open Access Publishing (OAP), and in particular Open Access (OA) academic publishing’. It could be neither fully comprehensive nor completely exhaustive. However, it did draw from a considerable breadth of inter-disciplinary sources (legal, economic and academic) as it is aimed at an inter-disciplinary audience and advocates inter-disciplinary solutions. It has identified four major Research Gap areas each with a number of sub-research topics. These are presented with a view to assist researchers and stakeholders frame investigations, studies, assessments, policies and new business models. The Review also seeks to invite elaboration on the identified Research Gaps and to stimulate the sharing of additional Gaps.
Summary of the Workshop
Ken Wilson, Doctoral Researcher at University of Nottingham’s School of Law has written a summary account of the workshop, which can be found on CREATe’s Blog.
This workshop attempted to gather the different stakeholders in the field of open access publishing, especially open academic publishing, with the double aim of presenting the research gaps identified in Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review and eliciting reactions, comments, criticisms and finding new research questions and areas to explore both theoretically and empirically.
Martin Kretschmer, Director of CREATe, set the workshop in the context of CREATe’s mission to help the UK cultural and creative industries thrive and become innovation leaders within the global digital economy. To this end, he emphasised the importance of all stakeholders constructively formulating the way forward.
The Literature Review
At the outset, Giancarlo Frosio summarised the purpose, span, contents and limitations of the Literature Scope. His keynote was that the Review and workshop should be seen as an opportunity to map movement from the digital dark ages to the digital enlightenment in which the participation and co-operation of all stakeholders were essential for success.
Post by Tom Phillips (CREATe Research Associate, University of Edinburgh)
This won’t be readily apparent to all visitors to this website, but behind the scenes the CREATe team has done a fantastic job of providing an online resource for CREATe researchers to keep tabs on other projects – their outputs, aims, and current status. Such a rich resource means that one can keep abreast of other work occurring within the wider context of the project, and easily find contact details for researchers on similarly-themed projects in order to share ideas.
Yet despite this sterling work on the CREATe intranet, there is much to be said for getting researchers in a room together. Being in an academically stimulating environment – where instantaneous discussion can occur – allows for scholars to bounce off one another and actively make links between work that perhaps wouldn’t previously have been clear. The Creatives Research Resource Day held at the University of Glasgow on 31st January 2014 aimed to serve this very function, bringing together CREATe researchers in order to share experiences, methods, and ideas with one another.
Post by Tom Phillips (CREATe Research Associate, University of Edinburgh)
If you’ve been around a smartphone in the last few weeks, chances are you’ve played – or at least heard of – Flappy Bird. A free to play game available on iOS and Android, millions of users have become addicted to its simple gameplay: just tap to keep the bird afloat, and navigate your way between a series of pipes. Yet what seems relatively easy is actually fiendishly difficult, with a steep learning curve that proves infuriating, yet somehow keeps players coming back for more. Now a global phenomenon, Flappy Bird has reportedly been earning developer Dong Nguyen around $50,000 per day from in-game ad revenue, a remarkable turnaround for a game which was initially released to little fanfare in May 2013.