New Working Paper – A question of (e)Sports: an answer from copyright

CREATe presents the first entry in our series of working papers released in 2021: “A question of (e)Sports: an answer from copyright”. This working paper by Amy Thomas, a PhD candidate and Research and Teaching Associate at CREATe, University of Glasgow, is a pre-print version of an article published in the Journal of Intellectual Law and Property (JIPLP).

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In the age of social distancing and self-isolation, eSports (i.e. competitive video gaming) have provided a fitting substitute for stagnating traditional sports events. With the suspension of many live, face-to-face events, eSports, as a born-digital industry, has managed to continue relatively uninterrupted through the pandemic, providing entertainment for new and existing fans alike. Whilst not necessarily a new industry in itself, this new topical interest in eSports provided the impetuous to complete the paper in time to mark 2020.

Whilst this paper was initially conceived as a response to an ongoing debate amongst sports philosophers (are eSports a ‘sport’?*), it has since evolved to a closely-related query as to the nature of eSports from a copyright perspective. Copyright plays an essential role in regulating eSports, being a derivative form of entertainment based on an underlying creative work – a video game.

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CREATe Online Public Lecture: ‘Can’t those European Judges Think for Themselves? Why the Court of Justice of the European Union has Advocates General’

We are delighted to announce that Eleanor Sharpston QC will be delivering our second public lecture of this academic year. Due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions which remain in place, this event will be hosted online.

“Can’t those European Judges Think for Themselves?”: Why the Court of Justice of the European Union Has Advocates General

Speaker: Eleanor Sharpston QC
Date: Wednesday 24 February 17:30-19:00 GMT

Eleanor Sharpston QC served as an Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union from 2006 to 2020. During her stint at the Court, AG Sharpston made a substantial contribution to the development of EU law, having also opined in intellectual property matters such as SGAE v Rafael Hoteles (C-306/05, on communication to the public) and Intel v CPM (C-252/07, on trade mark dilution). In 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow in recognition of her contribution to the field of European Community law. Learn more about her work on Verfassungsblog and the Hamlyn lectures archive.

And watch this space for our last public lecture of this series on 24 March, 17:30-19:00, with Dr Emily Hudson (Reader in Law, KCL) speaking on ‘An Empirical Perspective on Drafting Copyright Exceptions.’

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Keep up to date with ReCreating Europe

The EU Horizon 2020 funded consortium reCreating Europe: Rethinking digital copyright law for a culturally diverse, accessible, creative Europe has been working for just over a year to map, measure and assess the development and future of digital copyright, culture and creativity. Researchers from CREATe are contributing to this effort by leading a work package on the creative industries and working on multiple projects including on copyright, digitisation and the GLAM sector, copyright and machine learning, rights reversion, and the development of copyright best practice codes. All of the projects are seeking stakeholder inputs especially from individual authors and performers, those within the creative industries, cultural and heritage institutions, and intermediaries as well as end-users. 

To keep up to date with the research and outputs of the consortium and to get involved, sign up to the reCreating Europe newsletter here.

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Call for abstracts: Are We Owned?

‘Are We Owned? A Multidisciplinary and Comparative Conversation on Intellectual Property in the Algorithmic Society’ will take place at the University of Stirling, Friday 8th October 2021.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a crucial role in allowing uses of new technologies that are detrimental to society and preventing beneficial uses. IP is everywhere and lends itself to monopolise virtually anything. We may think we own ’our’ phone, but it factually belongs to the holders of the copyright on the code running on it, the manufacturers owning its design and the patents on how it works, as well as trademarks on logos, on the way you swipe, etc. What happens when it is no longer just computers and phones to be embedded with software and other IP-protected digital content? In an Internet-of-Things world, these proprietary smart objects are everywhere: in our bedroom, in our bathroom, in our body. Our behaviour becomes heavily restricted by those Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, End-User License Agreements, etc. that cover every aspect of the things we thought we owned. We have become digital tenants, not owning or controlling any object and data around us. To the point that, one can argue, that we no longer own: we are owned (Mulligan 2015; Fairfield 2017). Continue reading

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Copyright Evidence Wiki: Annual Round-Up 2019-2020

This is part of a series of summary posts rounding-up new entries to the Copyright Evidence Wiki (organised thematically). As part of CREATe’s workstream for the AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, the Wiki catalogues empirical studies on copyright. In this post, we summarise the themes prevalent between 2019 and 2020 using our new Viz tool, and share study highlights. Continue reading

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BEYOND 2020: The launch of the Copyright Evidence Portal

The Copyright Evidence Portal – funded by the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) and designed by Pete Bennett – is the latest development of the CREATe Evidence project. This blog provides an overview of the launch event, including the inspiration behind the project and its key components. Continue reading

The Copyright Evidence Portal is now live. It gives access to the world’s current knowledge about copyright law and its effects – both as a data-minable Wiki catalogue and through visualizations.

The Portal was publicly launched on 3 December 2020 at BEYOND 2020, a conference that brings together thinkers, makers, investors and researchers across the creative industries to explore the relationship between creative research and business innovation. During the session ‘Text and Data Mining of Copyright Evidence: Vizualisation R&D and Deep Dive by CREATe’, Amy Thomas, Bartolomeo Meletti, Kris Erickson and Martin Kretschmer presented the new Portal and showcased its potential by answering live questions with the Copyright Evidence Wiki and the new Evidence Viz tool

The Copyright Evidence Portal – funded by the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) and designed by Pete Bennett – is the latest development of the CREATe Evidence project. This blog provides an overview of the launch event, including the inspiration behind the project and its key components. Continue reading

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Report: Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Music, Copyright and Precarity

This event report was written by Janet Burgess, PhD student at CREATe.

On Thursday, November 12th 2020, Kenny Barr and Janet Burgess from CREATe joined Casi Dylan (Cultural Activities Co-ordinator at the University’s College of Arts) to host an online Zoom event, in conjunction with the Being Human Festival and the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Part gig, part debate, the event brought together music and legal scholars, musicians and policy makers to highlight how music is created, where copyright fits in, and the impact that Covid-19 has had on musicians, both professional and amateur. As a sector, the music industry was already characterised by precariousness and uncertainty but the devastating effects of lockdown compelled many musicians to start using online platforms as their only means of making music. A poll by the Musicians’ Union identified that: 

  • 70% of musicians were unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work 
  • 36% of musicians did not have any work at all 
  • Even before Covid-19, musicians’ earnings were below the average level, but this year 87% musicians will be earning less than £20,000 – significantly less than the UK average income of just under £30,000. 
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Copyright history in review: The scholarly turn away from copyright for books

This week sees the close of the Call for Papers for the annual Conference of the Society of the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (‘SHARP’) – ‘Moving Texts: From Discovery to Delivery’ (26-30 July 2021) – which we publicised back in December 2020, and which will include an associated copyright history ‘Research Lab’. Whereas SHARP’s focus is the history of the book, which undoubtedly remains an important subject for copyright history, in a series of recently published reviews, I have charted a change in focus in recent copyright history scholarship. 2018 and 2019 saw the publication of a number of copyright history monographs, which turn away from copyright protection for books: the first in-depth and longitudinal accounts of copyright history concerning visual art, news and drama. This blog outlines the context for these scholarly developments and provides a brief overview of their significance for law and the humanities. 

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CREATe 2020 – A Year in Review

Illustration by Collage Creativi

As we approach the end of 2020, we wanted to look back over some of the work by the CREATe Team during the last 12 months, during what has been an extraordinary year for us all.

The year began with the launch of reCreating Europe, our project on copyright law, cultural diversity and the Digital Single Market with 10 European partners. While it was still possible to hold public events, we continued our Public Lecture Series, with one in January (Aileen Fyfe) and two in February (Christian Peukert and Lionel Bently), in the University’s Humanities Lecture Theatre. February also saw our IP Litigation and Platform Regulation event take place in London, in conjunction with BIICL and as part of CREATe’s work connected to the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC). Shortly after the event, our Platform Regulation resource was launched.

In April, we launched our resource tracking the development of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, offering an independent academic perspective on the implementation of the directive, extending our previous work on the EU’s legislative process. Our first Working Paper of the year was published in May, but we quickly picked up the pace to have a total of 12 Working Papers published by December. The subjects this year included copyright consultations, the public sphere, Facebook, text and data mining, streaming, the right to property and the protection of investment, the platform economy, a historical perspective on copyright, copyright and quotation in Film and TV, reversion rights, copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, and the jurisprudence of the CJEU.

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Copyright Law and the European Court of Justice: A ‘Modern Law Review’ double bill

CREATe is publishing today working paper 2020/12, a double bill of two publications in the Modern Law Review. Prof. Martin Kretschmer has offered this introductory note:

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The complex and elusive structure we call ‘Europe’ is the result of multiple cultural, economic, social and political conditions under which Law, and in particular the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), is performing a unique integrating role.

This working paper is a joint re-issue of two articles first published in the Modern Law Review in 2020. The core is a study I researched with my colleagues Marcella Favale and Paul Torremans, ‘Who is steering the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice? The influence of Member State submissions on copyright law’.

This is a dense paper, presenting complex empirical findings from the examination of 170 documents relating to 42 copyright cases registered between 1998 and 2015, with the aim of assessing the impact of submissions by Member States and the European Commission on the legal interpretation of copyright concepts.

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