On 6 December 2022, we launched the UK Authors’ Earnings and Contracts 2022 report, commissioned by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society, at the All Party Writers Group Winter Reception. Beautifully situated in the House of Commons, Terrace Pavilion, in a marquee full of policymakers, authors, and industry specialists, we asked ourselves – what is our role as independent researchers in this setting? In answering this, we hope that, in 2022 and beyond, our empirical evidence will help policymakers make decisions in contested policy fields, and to base those policies in reality, rather than in myth and anecdote.
“The myth I want to debunk is a pervasive one: that creative labour is an inexhaustible resource that is constantly replenishing itself through the altruism of our creators. That art for art’s sake will prevail…If you believe that myth, then it’s very easy to justify a world in which you don’t have to renumerate creators properly, as their art, not money, is what feeds them.”
– Amy Thomas, All Party Writers Group Winter Reception, 2022
Indeed, in press coverage following the launch of the report, authors have confirmed that these findings reflect their lived experience in the writing profession: it is, put simply, not a ‘romantic image’. Author Joanne Harris, in an Opinion for The Guardian confirmed the report’s findings that suggest ‘[writing] has become inaccessible and unsustainable’, potentially ‘losing the voices’ of those we ‘most need to hear’. The report’s findings of growing inequality in the writing profession have likewise generated discussion of the ’unequal burden’ of writing, and the full significance of losses to cultural diversity. A full list of the press coverage of the report is available here.
Generating and disseminating empirical evidence has always been a core component of CREATe’s research agenda. And in continuing our search for evidence in 2023, we’ll begin our new year with the CREATe@10 Policy Futures series, encouraging interdisciplinary, evidence-based discussion of topical issues in the digital creative industries. We’ll also share our finalised statement on the state-of-the-art of empirical knowledge of copyright in response to the propositions of our Copyright Evidence: Synthesis and Futures conference, with some additional, bonus contributions to our 21 for 21 series.
Until then, the CREATe team sends warm wishes and festive greetings to all of our subscribers!