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No end in sight?: Football, Vines and Value

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Professor Raymond Boyle from the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow leads CREATe’s Work Package on Copyright, Football and European Media Rights. His blog below summarises several aspects of IP and licensing within the sport media environment. A full article from the project will appear in Media, Culture and Society in April 2015.


footballThe demise in the value of television rights for live football has been long predicted. Yet the successive rights deals in the case of the FA Premier League (FAPL) continue to disprove this. The current three year deal that ends shortly was worth £1.78billion.

In just over the twenty years since its creation the FAPL has helped launch and sustain the UK pay-Tv platform BSkyB. Forget all the talk about first run movies, its exclusive live sport, or, more accurately live English football that has helped position Sky as wealthiest broadcaster in the UK.

While Sky and the FAPL have re-written the rule book regarding how sport gets covered on television in the last couple of decades, so too the internet and digital technologies have transformed the media landscape and how we consume mediated football. Pay-Tv was a business model built on aggressive promotion, subscription, protection of content and above all exclusivity of rights. In contrast, the age of social media is characterized by mobility and sharing information and content, anytime, any place.

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EU ruling: embedding does not equal copyright infringement

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2014-11-28 15_33_56-Copyright User on VimeoPhilippa Warr explores the recent ruling of the European Union’s Court of Justice which states that embedding videos containing copyrighted material does not constitute copyright infringement.


The European Union’s Court of Justice has issued a ruling on 21 October 2014 which states that embedding a video containing copyrighted material does not constitute copyright infringement.

The ruling on the case BestWater International GmbH vs Michael Mebes and Stefan Potsch has yet to be published in English, but it is available in French and in the official language of the ruling (German) on the court’s website. The basic complaint was that BestWater (a producer and distributor of water filters) objected to the two sales representatives (working for competitors) embedding BestWater promotional videos on their own websites from YouTube.

The case involved Article 3, paragraph 1 of Directive 2001/29/EC, which seeks to harmonise aspects of copyright in terms of how it applies to the information society. Specifically, it states that: “Member States shall provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.”

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CREATe Supported Event Calls on Scotland’s Creative Industries to Improve on IP Exploitation

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Mindy Grewar from the University of St Andrews describes Upping Your Game, the third in a series of IP workshops with creative industries practitioners organised by ICC and Creative Scotland, with additional financial support from CREATe.

“Make your assets sweaty”. This wasn’t the typical language we’ve been hearing during our researching of strategies for managing and exploiting IP in Scotland’s creative industries. Our work with Creative Scotland has revealed a common set of challenges—such as the need to recognise one’s IP, to know when to share it or to protect it, and how.

But from a recent workshop on IP in the Scottish games industry, the call to sweatiness –to make intellectual properties ooze with revenue potential—has, er, stuck with us.

The phrase belongs to David Wightman, whose experience with guiding Another Visitor and other media companies in the UK, US and Asia enabled him to advise games companies to operate in “stealth mode”, to be ambitious about their goals and aggressive about their management. Sweaty assets fit this strategy efficiently, because they deliver a greater return on one’s developed IP.

“Make one product and get three out of it, with different skins, for different markets”, David counselled, or consider “reverse engineering—how to get more money from your existing products.”

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CREATe Event – Digital Dialogues with Theatre

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Mindy Grewar from the University of St Andrews describes CREATe’s recent IP for Theatre Event, Digital Dialogues.

A recent IP workshop with the Federation of Scottish Theatres (FST) revealed the complexity of IP issues to be managed when digital technologies are incorporated into an established, multi-faceted industry such as theatre. Handled effectively however digital media offer enormous potential for theatre companies, regardless of size, to reach new audiences worldwide and to enhance demand for live performances.

Stellar Quines The List 1

Stellar Quines Theatre Company filming of The List

Digital Dialogues was hosted 9 September 2014 by the University of St Andrews Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC) in collaboration with FST, with additional funding from CREATe. The event focussed on the implications for IP brought about by theatres’ increasing adoption of digital activities such as downloading, streaming and marketing, and their impact on specific industry participants including producers, writers, performers, composers, marketers, and audiences. 45 theatre and dance company representatives attended at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.

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All Hands 2014: CREATe Results – Analogue Industries, Sports and Events

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Object? Document? Both! Steve Benford describes his efforts to create a self-describing instrument, The Carolan Guitar

University of Glasgow PhD candidate Victoria Stobo reports on the CREATe Results: Analogue Industries, Sports and Events session at the September CREATe All Hands Conference.

Steve Benford, from Horizon at the University of Nottingham, presented first within this session, offering a presentation about ‘The Carolan Guitar’, a project which combines the traditional craft of luthiery, i.e. guitar-making, with a new technology called Aestheticodes, creating a hybrid craft practice. Aestheticodes function like QR codes; when you scan them, they connect you to a specific URL associated with that code. The codes can be drawn by anyone; they work on the basis of regions which contain different quantities of blobs. In contrast to the traditional QR code, which is made up of black and white squares, Aestheticodes can include line drawings and engravings, making them suitable for artists or graphic designers in a variety of mediums; on paper, on fabric, or engraved onto a guitar.

Starting from the basis that every object (or in this case, every guitar) tells a story, the Carolan Guitar is engraved with different Aestheticodes on different parts of the instrument’s surface. These codes are then used as triggers; an audience member may scan the back of the guitar in order to record the live experience of a performance; another luthier may scan the headstock to access information about the instrument’s provenance; a potential buyer may scan the soundboard to hear every song the instrument has ever played; and a performer may scan the nook to record the places in which the guitar has been played.

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Reflections on CREATe’s All Hands conference

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Guest post by Dr John Oliver, Associate Professor in Media Management, Bournemouth University, UK

2014.09.15-16.low_093CREATe’s All Hands conference (15-16th September 2014), while on one hand, provided the mainly internal consortium delegates with an opportunity to network and share research updates, it was also a platform for external academics, such as myself, to get close to the heart of CREATe’s work and meet the people behind its early success. As a media management researcher, I am interested in the business models of media and cultural businesses, and it was natural that I was intrigued by how a group of academic lawyers, technologists, sociologists and political scientists conceptualized ‘business models’ – something which was previously the domain of either economists or business academics, mainly those who studied strategic management, and where the phrase ‘business models’ can be a rather specific technical term. The two days spent in Glasgow, where the conversation during lunch and tea breaks was always on the verge of veering into Scottish independence and the referendum later that week, did answer the question to some extent. Regulatory frameworks, mainly copyright, are central to the genesis of ‘new’ or ‘better’ business models in media or cultural industries, and it became clear why RCUK made one of their biggest investments for the study of cultural and creative industries by funding an interdisciplinary centre for copyright and ‘New Business Models’, consciously rooted not in a ‘business’, but ‘law’ school of the University of Glasgow.

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All Hands 2014: CREATe Results – Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World

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Tom Phillips addresses the All Hands audience

University of Edinburgh PhD candidate Nevena Kostova reports on the CREATe Results – Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World session at the September CREATe All Hands Conference.

The second day of the CREATe All Hands Conference, which took place in Glasgow from 15-16 September, opened with a panel on Games, Audio-Visual and the Digital World. Six speakers presented on the development of their projects under these wide ranging themes, followed by commentaries from three respondents.

Tom Phillips from University of East Anglia presented first on the topic of games. One of the main questions underlying his project is when and how legal perspectives affect the practice of game developers. Within the framework of the project, the investigators are interested in exploring game developers’ awareness of legal issues and significance of these issues, as well as the barriers and opportunities for new business models.

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