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Copyright Evidence Wiki November 2018 Round-Up

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Copyright Evidence Wiki November 2018 Round-Up

By 23 November 2018No Comments

As part of CREATe’s role in the new AHRC UK Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC), we are providing monthly updates summarising new entries to the Copyright Evidence Wiki (organised thematically). The Wiki catalogues empirical studies on copyright, informing public and policy development based on evidence. In the first of this series of posts, we summarise the new empirical studies added to this database under the themes of: Piracy; Copyright in the Courts; Open Licensing, and; Copyright and Representation.


After years of the so-called “Netflix Effect” The Global Internet Phenomena Report by Sandvine (2018) now reports a marked increased in BitTorrent traffic. The report suggests this may be due to the rise of new video streaming competitors, such as Amazon Prime, which have brought with them more exclusive content (and ergo increased costs to consumers).

A further global study by Terra (2016) examines piracy rates across several countries, finding that higher piracy rates tend to correlate with countries that have stronger, pro-copyright holder laws. Higher income inequality and unemployment rates similarly appear to be related to higher piracy rates.

Perceptions/attitudes/behaviours of students in relation to copyright infringement continues to be a popular theme of empirical study (see the most recent examples here: Acilar and Aydemir (2010), Graham (2016), and Tella and Oyeyemi (2017)). Onyejelem and Duru (2018) contribute to this knowledge base through a study of students in Awka, revealing that only 18% would not share infringing materials.

Further findings on infringing behaviours are investigated in a large-scale panel study by Fleming et al (2017), which finds that ease of access to infringing material is a significant contributing factor in determining future behaviours.

Copyright in the Courts

A CREATe Working Paper by Cooper and Burrow (2018) that will be published in the journal Legal Studies in 2019 investigates photographic copyright in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. Amongst other findings, the study reveals that courts appear to be seeking to legitimise photographers rights to remuneration, and challenge the “culture of free”.

Amidst recent copyright claims against popular songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, Lee (2018) examines how often the doctrine of fair use is invoked in cases concerning musical works. This is surprisingly low (91% of cases surveyed did not discuss this at all), a phenomena which they explain through a “theory of avoidance”.

An earlier 2017 study by Rendas (2017) finds that the CJEU appears to adopt a flexible interpretative approach in cases concerning technology-enabled uses. This leads the author to question whether a more flexible fair use-style legislative framework may be a more transparent and balanced approach (and lead to more legal certainty).

Open Licensing

With the rise of 3D-printing, Jee and Sohn (2018) assess whether current open licences provide an adequate response. The study suggests there may be significant differences between the needs for creators of functional vs non-functional works.

A CREATe Working Paper by Erickson (2018) and published in Business Horizons, investigates business models of creative firms and how they engage with public domain works. Their findings reveal that open licensing models may benefit smaller or niche firms by encouraging participation and co-creation (e.g. through volunteering).

Copyright and Representation

Can copyright tackle the problem of whitewashing? A study by Tanaka (2018) suggests a moral rights/fair use framework may offer a solution, which is demonstrated through case studies of The Last Airbender and Ms. Marvel.

See something missing from the Copyright Evidence Wikipedia? We are currently adding new empirical studies on copyright published from 2014 onwards. Let us know any details directly via: