‘Art and Modern Copyright’ shortlisted for Peter Birks Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship

Front Cover of the book 'Art and Modern Copyright' by Elena Cooper

We are delighted to report that the monograph Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image by CREATe Postdoctoral Research Fellow Elena Cooper has been shortlisted for the Peter Birks Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, to be awarded by the Society of Legal Scholars later this year. The book, the first in-depth and longitudinal account of the history of copyright relating to the visual arts, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018, and was launched shortly thereafter at the beautiful Victorian Picture Gallery, Royal Holloway, University of London.  

Focussing on the UK in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1850-1911), an important period in the making of modern copyright, the book explores the ways in which the history of copyright relating to the visual arts (painting, engraving, photography) differs from existing accounts of copyright history concerning the protection of books and literary works. Art and Modern Copyright draws on meticulous original archival work, conducted over the course of a decade, significantly expanding a doctoral thesis supervised by Professor Lionel Bently at the University of Cambridge, which was awarded a Yorke Prize by the Faculty of Law, Cambridge in 2011. As well as exploring the connections between copyright history and the scholarship of art historians, the book reflects on how the past can help us think critically about copyright today.  

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Report: CREATe researchers present on copyright exceptions for education and research at SCURL conference (Part 2)

On 18th June 2020, CREATe researchers Bartolomeo Meletti and Thomas Margoni presented at the SCURL online copyright conference. The online event – organised by Greg Walters (University of Glasgow) and chaired by Jeanette Castle (University of the West of Scotland) – brought together around 50 information professionals from the Scottish Confederation of University & Research Library (SCURL). This is the second of two reports – the first can be found here.

Text and Data Mining – original illustration by Davide Bonazzi for CopyrightUser.org

The subject of my presentation was the new EU Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive (CDSMD) and its impact on post-Brexit UK researchers. After a brief overview of the relevant provisions of the Directive, I focused on Arts. 3 and 4 CDSMD, which introduce into EU copyright law two distinct Text and Data Mining Exceptions (TDM). The presentation also discussed how these articles will relate to Sec. 29A UK CDPA 1988 which, back in 2014, introduced an exemption for acts of non-commercial TDM in the UK. It was clarified at the outset that the provisions of the new CSDMD will most likely not be implemented in the UK in the foreseeable future. In fact, on the one hand, the UK will not be required to do so, since the term to implement the new EU rules (June 2021) is placed after the end of the transition period (December 2020), while on the other hand the UK Government has declared that there is no plan to voluntarily adopt those rules.

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Report: CREATe researchers present on copyright exceptions for education and research at SCURL conference (Part 1)

On 18 June 2020, CREATe researchers Bartolomeo Meletti and Thomas Margoni presented at the SCURL online copyright conference. The online event – organised by Greg Walters (University of Glasgow) and chaired by Jeanette Castle (University of the West of Scotland) – brought together around 50 information professionals from the Scottish Confederation of University & Research Library (SCURL). This is the first of two reports, the second is available here.

Education – original illustration by Davide Bonazzi for CopyrightUser.org

The conference kicked off with a presentation by Chris Morrison (University of Kent) and Jane Secker (City, University of London) on the topic of copyright literacy in a time of crisis. Chris and Jane reported on the webinars on ‘copyright and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic’ they have been running on a weekly basis since 20th March, and highlighted the important role played by communities such as LIS-Copyseek in helping academic librarians tackle copyright issues confidently.  

Following that, I delivered a presentation on Copyright and Creative Reuse, using CopyrightUser.org resources to explore copyright duration and copyright exceptions that enable the use of protected materials for educational purposes. In particular, focussing on Sections 32 and 34 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), two provisions which academics and HE staff can potentially rely on to use protected materials in online teaching.

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New Working Paper: Facebook ‘Regulation’: a process not a text

CREATe presents the seventh entry in our series of working papers released in 2020: “Facebook ‘Regulation’: a process not a text” by Prof. Leighton Andrews (Cardiff University).


Leighton Andrews’ Working Paper addresses the unfinished process of regulating Facebook,  writes Philip Schlesinger. His analysis provides us with a compendious and up to date account of how, from a range of perspectives, UK regulators have been approaching this complex task.

Despite this specific focus, Andrews’ account has been shaped by his acute sense of how the question of platform regulation is playing out internationally as well as nationally. His study, which has the advantage of providing specific detail along with drawing out the general implications of the case in question, is deeply informed by current debate in regulation studies. It is also very sensitive to the power plays that often make the intended objects of regulation so refractory. Major players are also themselves inclined to engage in regulatory politics, both within and across jurisdictions.

In the course of offering the reader his detailed insights into the various perspectives presently shaping the debate over regulation, Leighton Andrews conceptualises today’s mood for intervention as working itself out through an incremental ‘sense-making’ process, a putting-out of feelers and a flying of trial balloons about how best to handle economic, political, cultural and social questions of increasing urgency.

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Copyright Evidence Wiki June 2020 Round-Up

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. This month, we summarise new featured studies on: Fan Studies, Reuse and Negative Space.

Fan Studies

Fiesler and Bruckman (2019) investigate ‘Creativity, Copyright and Close-Knit Communities’ in a study of social norms in online communities. Through interviews with fan-creators from Tumblr and LiveJournal, they uncover three consistent norms in fandom: attribution (which remains integral despite having no legal basis in the US); non-commerciality (with some inexplicable differences between e.g. fan art and fan fiction), and; secrecy (which plays a key role in shielding online communities from legal action). Continue reading

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Adopting a Stakeholder-centric approach to copyright consultation

Today, CREATe publishes ‘Improving Deliberation, Improving Copyright’, authored by Lee Edwards and Giles Moss. The Report can be found here, and the Toolkit which forms the companion piece, can be found here. This is highly innovative research with the potential to bring sustained change to practice. We are delighted to include the paper in the CREATe Working Paper series.

Traditionally, copyright consultations have taken place in a landscape characterised by uneven resources, knowledge and expertise among stakeholders. The method employed by the researchers was based on collaboration with copyright stakeholders, other media stakeholders, and members of the public. This has led to the development of a new approach to consultations that addresses some of the limitations of copyright consultations in practice and will be of use to consultation exercises of all kinds.

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Public service broadcasting, streaming services and the future for ‘terms of trade’

Response by CREATe (www.create.ac.uk) to the Parliamentary Inquiry by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee into ‘The future of public service broadcasting’


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CREATe has submitted today evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into ‘The future of public service broadcasting’ conducted by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Our response focuses on Question 1 of the call:

Regulation: Are the current regulations and obligations placed on PSBs, in return for benefits such as prominence and public funding, proportionate? What (if any regulation) should be introduced for SVoDs and other streaming services?

We address whether current obligations placed on public service broadcasters (PSBs) with respect to the assignability and licensing of intellectual property rights from independent producers (so-called ‘terms of trade’) should be introduced for streaming services.

We offer evidence by

– reviewing historical precedent for limiting the assignability of intellectual property rights;

– assessing, in particular, the empirical effects of the introduction of ‘terms if trade’ following the Communications Act 2003;

– evaluating current exploitation practices of streaming services.

We find that

– intervening on the assignability and licensing of intellectual property rights is a powerful tool, shaping investment decisions and industry structure, with strong cultural effects (for example on diversity);

– the introduction of ‘terms of trade’ following the Communications Act 2003 led to a period of investment and growth of the UK screen production sector, in particular accelerating international exploitation;

– the introduction of ‘terms of trade’ following the Communications Act 2003 led to a number of unintended consequences, in particular the consolidation of the independent production sector and the acquisition of independent production houses by multinational firms.

We recommend that

– corrective regulatory interventions with respect to the assignability and licensing of intellectual property rights from independent producers are required following the entry of streaming services as commissioners into the sector;

– a thorough review of the current production system be undertaken before ‘terms of trade’ type interventions are applied to streaming services.

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Implementing articles 18-22 of the Copyright Directive: Opinion of the European Copyright Society

The European Copyright Society (ECS), a group of prominent European scholars, has published an opinion on the implementation of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market into national law: Comment Addressing Selected Aspects of the Implementation of Articles 18-22. Full text of the opinion is available on the ECS website here.

Member States have until 7 June 2021 to transpose the Copyright Directive into their national laws. Articles 18-22 of the Copyright Directive provide protections for authors and performers in their contractual dealings with economic actors, by introducing a principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration (art. 18), transparency obligations (art. 19), contract adjustment mechanism (art. 20), alternative dispute resolution mechanism (art. 21), and a right of revocation (art. 22). To date, none of those provisions has been transposed by any Member State (although some national laws already comply). CREATe’s resource page provides information on the current state of the Copyright Directive implementation and can be accessed here.

ECS has previously published comments on the implementation of articles 14 and 17 of the Copyright Directive (reported here), with the full text of the opinions available on the ECS website.

Drafting of the opinion on articles 18-22 was led by prof. Séverine Dusollier with contributions from other ECS members, including profs. Lionel Bently, Martin Kretschmer, Marie-Christine Janssens and Valérie-Laure Benabou.

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New Working Paper: The production, circulation, consumption and ownership of scientific knowledge: historical perspectives

CREATe presents the fourth entry in our series of working papers released in 2020: “The production, circulation, consumption and ownership of scientific knowledge: historical perspectives”.

This working paper by Aileen Fyfe (Professor of Modern History, University of St Andrews), is a lightly edited transcript of a CREATe public lecture delivered at the University of Glasgow on 29 January 2020.

Abstract:

Who owns the content of scientific research papers, and who has the right to circulate them? These questions are at the heart of current debates about improving access to the results of research. This working paper will use the history of academic publishing to explore the origins of our modern concerns. The Philosophical Transactions was founded in 1665 and is now the longest-running scientific journal in the world. This paper will follow the Transactions from its early days as a private venture of its editor to becoming the property of the Royal Society. It will explore the basis of the Society’s claim to ownership (which had very little to do with copyright) and reveals the ways in which the Society encouraged the circulation, reprinting and reuse of material in the Transactions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will end by considering how things changed in the twentieth century, as commercial interests became increasingly influential in academic publishing and as new technologies brought new opportunities for circulating knowledge.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

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New Working Paper: Streaming Culture

CREATe is publishing today a new working paper Streaming Culture, offering a fascinating analysis of changing online consumption behaviour in the five years between 2013 and 2018. This is joint work with Nesta, within the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) where the paper is also available as a Research Report.

This research is the result of a data development project conducted in collaboration with the UK Intellectual Property Office.  The project, OMeBa (short for Online Media Behaviour Analytics), is an attempt to unlock the value of an important annual consumer survey. The Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) tracker survey was originally conceived in 2012 as a standard instrument to capture trends in online copyright infringement. It was designed by Ofcom with Kantar Media in response to a (now defunct) obligation under the 2010 Digital Economy Act.

By harmonizing question IDs, and documenting carefully method and changes across five waves of the survey, the OMeBa project made it possible to identify wider changes in online consumption over time, enabling new research questions to be asked.

As part of this data development initiative, Nesta and CREATe held a workshop in June 2019 (documented on the OMeBa resource page). The discussion highlighted a shared interest across government, industry and academia to increase understanding of digital consumption behaviours by different demographic groups.  The research presented today is a response to this challenge.

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