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 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 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 Portal was publicly launched 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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Gating the Gatekeepers: The responsibilities of platforms for their content is changing, in the UK, in the EU and globally

December 15th, 2020 will be remembered as a momentous day in the relationship between big tech and society. You may think this is because the UK government announced long awaited measures to regulate online harms – measures that fundamentally change how platforms will have to police illegal and harmful content. The Internet platforms’ liability shield, also known as ‘safe harbour’, is being lifted.

In truth, December 15th is more likely to be remembered for the publication by the European Commission of legislation that aims to do the same, and much more: the Digital Markets Act (defining online gatekeepers with special behavioural obligations, in particular relating to access to data by other business users), and The Digital Services Act (addressing the liability of all online intermediaries, and reforming takedown and recommender systems).

But let’s start with the UK government’s response to the Online Harms white paper, and (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) Oliver Dowden’s statement in the House of Commons.

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IP Reading Group: Thoughts on Theory

In our latest IP Reading Group discussions, CREATe PGRs shared their thoughts on their chosen theoretical frameworks, ranging from classic theorists such as Jeremy Bentham, to the application of Buddhist principles in rethinking privacy law. This blog provides a selection of recommended readings on theory and how they can be applied to the study of topical issues in IP.

Janet Burgess

Thaler, R. H. and Sunstein, C. R. (2008) Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness. Penguin.

My research investigates how amateur musicians find out about, perceive and apply copyright law, and in doing so it considers factors affecting compliance.  A number of theories relating to decision-making have been propounded, primarily in the field of economics, from Jeremy Bentham who suggested that people made decisions based on overall ‘utility’, determined by reduced suffering or increased pleasure, leading to the notion of an ‘economic man’ or ‘homo economicus’, and to Rational Choice theory, based on ‘utility maximisation’ where available options and any limiting factors are assessed to identify the option which gives the greatest benefits.  These theories are, however, criticised for over-ambitiously expecting people to behave consistently and to be able to process large amounts of information in order to reach the optimal outcome, leading to alternatives such as Herbert Simon’s concept of ‘satisficing’ where an individual might not assess all the options but choose one which is good enough.  Similarly, Kahneman and Tversky’s theory of Bounded Rationality recognises that, when faced with too much information or lack of time, people make decisions based on ‘heuristics and biases’, while their Prospect Theory recognises that decisions can be influenced by the context in which they are presented. Continue reading

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OPEN LETTER: Revocation – How authors and performers can reclaim their copyrights

A group of leading international academics has published an open letter concerning the right of revocation. This new right, regulating copyright contracts, is provided for in article 22 of the recent EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

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The letter addressed to the European Commission and the relevant national authorities of EU Member States, identifies the revocation right as “an historic opportunity to achieve better copyright outcomes for creators”, and calls upon governments to explicitly address the right in their consultations about implementing the Copyright Directive.

The letter builds on a collaborative research project between CREATe and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA), University of Melbourne, with the reCreating Europe consortium. The project maps all provisions allowing authors and performers to reclaim their rights. Such laws are already a part of national laws of many EU Member States in some form. What are the lessons that can be carried forward into article 22’s implementation process?

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Why regulating the public sphere matters more than ever

This post first appeared on the blog of the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) – this is an updated version which also includes a Reading List.

The public sphere – our common communicative space – is central to enabling contemporary political discussion. We are presently witnessing the melt-down of one set of assumptions and institutions that have characterised the public sphere and their gradual replacement with another. With the move into the age of Internet-dominated ‘hybrid’ media and in a globally competitive context, we are living in an unstable ‘post-public sphere’.

That is the argument of PEC Co-Investigator Professor Philip Schlesinger (CREATe and CCPR Centres, University of Glasgow) in his recent essay, ‘After the post-public sphere’. The essay is published in the journal Media, Culture and Society.

Schlesinger argues that in capitalist democracies we can only guess at how the post-public sphere will develop in the future. In previous work on the public sphere he explored the possibility of a supranational communicative space for deliberation in the European Union, and explored the associated questions about national identity and state sovereignty. In 2020, while the key issues remain the same, the political landscape is marked by intensifying geopolitical tensions, the deliberate fostering of irrationalism by political leaderships in a number of democracies, and increasingly unbridled xenophobia. Political developments have been fuelled by the proliferation of new communications technologies and are occurring against the background of a long-running economic crisis, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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