Research Blog Series: Creators’ Organisations

The Research Blog Series continues with research from the University of Edinburgh into creators’ organisations as participants and shapers of copyright policy.


Project: Creators’ Organisations

Investigators: Dr Smita Kheria (Principal Investigator) with PhD student Ms Nevena Kostova, University of Edinburgh

What did your research aim to do?
The objectives of the doctoral research conducted for this project were to study creators’ organisations (COs) as participants and shapers of copyright policy: to understand how these actors behave, what environment they operate in and what effects this environment and organisations’ workings produce on the nature and substance of copyright law and policy.

How did you do it?
Ms Kostova undertook a study of the Musicians’ Union (MU), the Performing Right Society (PRS), the Society of Authors (SoA), and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS): one trade union and one collective management organisation (CMO) from the music and publishing industries respectively. She analysed a combination of primary data generated through 24 semi-structured interviews with CO operatives and documentary data. The latter included consultation responses, policy briefings, reports, online news publications, IP reviews, academic studies, and other literature. The analysis was structured around the policy work of the four studied COs on three copyright issues of contemporary relevance: the contractual terms for authors and performers, the UK private copying exception, and the implementation of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive.

What are your key findings?
The doctoral research found that creators’ organisations are important and valuable actors in copyright law and policymaking and should therefore continue to participate in these activities. However, the behaviour of these organisational actors who represent broadly the same copyright stakeholder group (creators, rights owners) is far from uniform. Complex dynamics and power imbalances exist between individual organisational actors but differences in the behaviour of individual actors and in the dynamics that govern their interactions are not fully understood by policymakers.

A briefing paper prepared by Ms Kostova outlining the objectives and key findings of the doctoral research, along with a set of recommendations for creators’ organisations, was sent to all research participants.

A video resource about this research is available at: https://www.create.ac.uk/research-programme/theme-4/wp4b-creators-organizations/

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