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.

During the year, CREATe submitted evidence to two UK Parliamentary enquiries by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee – the first on the future of public service broadcasting (June) and the second on the economics of music streaming (November), with Prof. Philip Schlesinger speaking at a Committee Hearing relating to the first submission (17 November 2020). September saw the filing of a joint submission with the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), when they opened their Draft Media Bargaining Code for public consutation.

The Copyright Evidence Wiki has been developing steadily throughout the year (now home to more than 800 empirical studies about copyright) – we blogged in April, July and October to highlight the new studies which had been added. These covered the topics of; piracy, user-generated content, copyright literacy, fan studies, reuse, negative space, copyright term, reversionary rights and public domain, and the digitalisation of culture. As part of the BEYOND 2020 Conference we launched the new Copyright Evidence Portal, building upon the Wiki, including an innovative visualisation tool to intuitively explore existing empirical evidence. We’ll be providing more details and updates on this exciting new project in 2021.

In November, we ran our first online Public Lecture – a new experience for CREATe but one which allowed us to reach out from beyond the confines of the physical lecture theatre to an audience across the UK, Europe and the World. An altered format with the addition of discussants to the main presentation by Lee Edwards and Giles Moss, was well received, and speakers answered questions both on the night and latterly on our Twitter account. The lecture is available on YouTube here. We anticipate that we will use a similar format for our Public Lectures in Spring 2021 – details to be announced in the new year.

In the last month of the year, CREATe co-ordinated an open letter from a group of leading international academics, addressed to the European Commission and the relevant national authorities of EU Member States, 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. The letter 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 accompanying resource, the Reversion Rights Resource page, maps provisions which are already a part of national laws across the EU, exploring how they work and how they affect creator contracts.

At the start of the new academic year, we outlined some of CREATe’s future work, and are very much looking forward to advancing those projects as well as responding to the developments that 2021 will bring. The year has also seen some changes to the CREATe Team and researcher community. We appreciate what a challenging time this is for our new postdoctoral researchers, PhD and LLM students. The CREATe Researcher Community wishes a peaceful Christmas, and hopes to work with many of you in 2021.

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