A study by Sarid (2014) details the difficulty in protecting drag queen performances with copyright, and how the community has instead come to regulate itself through “gentlewoman’s understandings” and an enforcement system of boycotts, professional isolation and humiliation for transgressors. The author suggests that part of the community’s hesitation to engage with copyright is due to the overarching message of the drag queen community itself – namely to challenge mainstream conventions (rather than codifying norms in hard law). Continue reading →
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BILETA (The British and Irish Law Education Technology Association) was formed to promote the research and knowledge on technology law and policy. This year’s conference was held on 16-17 April 2019 at Queen’s University Belfast, with the theme ‘Back to the futures: law without frontiers?’. This posed important questions: how will legal systems engage with technological developments and anticipate future directions? How will privacy and security issues be addressed? This post focusses on highlights from the plenary sessions in IP and data protection/privacy.
Eliza Easton’s (Nesta/PEC) keynote speech on the creative industries and work of the PEC.
Eliza Easton’s (Nesta/PEC) keynote speech opened the conference with an overview of the PEC’s five areas of work, including CREATe’s leading role in ‘IP, Business Models, Access to Finance and Content Regulation’. Her speech emphasized the need for independent research to contribute to the success of the UK’s creative industries in order to address imminent policy questions: what do new and successful business models look like and how are these developed? How do we regulate the platform economy? Many of the conference plenary sessions touched on these matters.
Perhaps most notably on the subject of the platform economy, IP discussions centred on addressing the potential impact of Article 17 (Draft Article 13) of the impending Copyright Directive. From a human rights perspective, Felipe Romero Moreno (University of Hertfordshire) proposed to analyse Article 17 using the three-part test of the ECtHR; Ruth Flaherty (University of East Anglia) instead approached this from the perspective of fan communities, and how unauthorized derivative uses may be undervalued by this new provision. Continue reading →
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On 6-7 May 2019, I attended the first meeting of the Law and Technology Consortium (LTC), held at the University of Trento (Italy). LTC is an international and informal consortium of research centres and institutions seeking to establish a collaborative network and share scientific knowledge and expertise in the field of law and technology. Coordinated by Prof. Roberto Caso (University of Trento) and Prof. Gideon Parchomovsky (University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew University of Jerusalem), the Consortium aims to facilitate research collaboration and mutual exchange of experiences on research topics related to law and technology.
View from the University of Trento, Faculty of Law
During the first day of the meeting, I presented an idea paper titled ‘The Game is On! – Lawful copying under UK copyright law’. The paper aims to investigate how different forms of lawful copying have evolved under UK copyright law over the last few years, examining the role that creative practice can play in defining the scope of permitted acts. Following the introduction in 2014 of new fair dealing exceptions for quotation and for caricature, parody or pastiche, the scope of lawful copying within UK copyright law has expanded considerably. Before 2014, only two exceptions allowed creators to deliberately reuse protected works for their own creative and artistic purposes: criticism or review (s30 CDPA) and what is commonly referred to as ‘freedom of panorama’ (s62 CDPA, ‘Representation of certain artistic works on public display’). These exceptions offer limited artistic freedom though: criticism or review is limited by purpose (you can benefit from it only if the reason for using the protected material is genuinely for the purpose of criticism or review), whereas s62 only applies to certain types of work (buildings, sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftmanship on public display) and use (it only allows making a graphic work representing the protected material, a photograph or a film of it, or making a broadcast of a visual image of it). Under the new quotation exception provided by s30(1ZA) CDPA, you can quote from any type of copyright work ‘for criticism or review or otherwise’. As such, quotation is the first ever UK fair dealing exceptions that – similarly to the fair use doctrine in the US – is not limited by purpose. On the other hand, the exception for caricature, parody or pastiche (s30A CDPA) is limited by purpose, but the purpose itself, in particular pastiche, is a creative one. You can use other people’s works for the purpose of creating a pastiche of those works. With the introduction of these two fair dealing exceptions, now UK copyright law potentially allows creative practices based on the reuse of existing materials and for which the rights clearance mechanisms are not suitable or unrealistic because of the numerous, low value uses involved (e.g. appropriation art, found footage filmmaking, mash up videos, memes, among many others).
The Copyright Licensing Agency has published a blogpost by Amy Thomas (CREATe PhD candidate and Copyright Wiki sub-editor) discussing the Fortnite dance controversy and ethics of reuse. Following a presentation by Amy at the event “Using Other People’s Stuff” – held at the V&A Museum in Dundee on 26 March 2019 – the blog explores the limitations of copyright in regard to dance, the importance of attribution, and how the controversy relates to cultural appropriation.
The full blogpost is available here via The Copyright Licensing Agency.
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Postdocs in Creative Economy – Two Posts Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law – One Post
This is an exciting opportunity to join CREATe, the UK Copyright & Creative Economy Centre at the University of Glasgow. One of the posts will be formally liked to the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (CCPR) in the School of Culture and Creative Arts.
As part of new work for the AHRC funded Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC), we will appoint two postdocs for research on the platform economy (for two years in the first instance). If you are a legal scholar interested in working empirically, an economist, sociologist or management researcher who intends to develop work on regulation, or a communications scholar who is advancing innovative quantitative and qualitative digital methods, we would like to hear from you.
At the same time, a two year lectureship in Intellectual Property Law is available in the School of Law. This appointment seeks to develop additional expertise in innovation, data and patent law, with a view to broaden CREATe’s footprint within the School of Law.
CREATe has released a study of UK Authors’ Earnings and Contracts based on a large scale survey of 50,000 authors conducted in 2018. The survey was funded as independent research by the UK Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), and is a re-run of a survey first conducted in 2006 (also led by Kretschmer), and repeated in 2014 (by Gibson, Johnson & Dimita out of Queen Mary, University of London). This series of surveys offers one of the first opportunities to assess robustly the effects of digital changes on the labour market and working conditions of a specific professional sector.
Surveys of creators’ earnings consistently demonstrate the presence of winner-take-all markets. Thus it is unsurprising that there is a large gap between the earnings of successful writers and the rest. This has increased since 2006 but the pattern has remained similar. The top 10 percent of writers still earn about 70% of total earnings in the profession. However, the current survey found a dramatic drop in average and median earnings. The nominal average (mean) earnings stagnated, changing from £16,531 in 2006 to £16,809 in 2014 to £16,096 in 2018. Accounting for inflation, this is a drop over 12 years of 49 percent over a period of time in which the UK creative industries reached £100bn GVA and have grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010. (DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates 2017: GVA, Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, 28 November 2018. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/britains-creative-industries-break-the-100-billion-barrier)
Why is this apparent decline in author pay occurring? Are new (digital?) sources of revenue not passed through? Does the decline in value for creative craft create disincentives? Should it trouble policy makers? These are difficult questions. Some might say that writing is ‘cheap’. There are no large overheads. Many writers write in addition to engaging in other professional activities. They have made personal choices how to allocate their time. Yet even when screening out occasional or part-time writers, the picture remains startling. As the key sample for comparing developments over time, the study defines a sub-group of writers who spend at least half of their time writing. These ‘Primary occupation writers’ are people who clearly aim to make a living from writing and engage in sustained and professional effort to achieve this.
For this group, the survey shows a drop in real terms (accounting for inflation) of 42 percent in median earnings from an equivalent of £18,013 in 2006 to £10,497 in 2018, continuing a downward trend seen already in the 2014 survey. (The median calculates the mid-point of the population, i.e. 50 percent of the population of primary occupation writers earn less than £10,497 per annum.) Continue reading →
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CREATe partners at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are hosting a panel event showcasing UEA’s commitment to research and innovation in the creative sector. Leading academic researchers from UEA will be joined by industry creatives for panel discussions exploring the key challenges facing the future of the creative sector in East Anglia.
This event will take place at Norwich Castle’s Town Close Auditorium as part of the University’s partnership with the Norfolk Museums Service. It is free and open to the public.
Tuesday 14 May 2019 | 6.30pm-8pm (Doors 6.15pm) | Norwich Castle Town Close Auditorium
How can creatives in a digital age address new challenges around authorship and content creation that disrupt long-standing trends within creative industries?
The European Copyright Society (la Société européenne du droit d’auteur) was founded in 2012 by leading scholars to support critical and independent thinking on European Copyright Law and policy.
This year’s conference will take place on 24-25 May at the University of Oslo.
The theme is: A Copyright for Authors and Performers
Speakers include Prof. Jonathan Griffiths, Queen Mary University of London; Prof. Martin Kretschmer, CREATe Centre, University of Glasgow; Prof. Estelle Derclaye, University of Nottingham; Prof. Bernt Hugenholtz, University of Amsterdam; Prof. Valerie Laure Benabou, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; Prof. Alexander Peukert, University of Frankfurt; Professor Severine Dusollier, Sciences Po Law School, Paris; Professor Marie-Christine Jansens, KU Leuven; Prof. Christophe Geiger, University of Strasbourg; Prof. Raquel Xalabarder, Universitat Oberta Catalunya; Prof. Thomas Riis, University of Copenhagen; Prof. Alain Strowel, Université Catolique de Louvain; Professor Axel Metzger, Humboldt Universität, Berlin; Professor Martin Senftleben, VU University, Amsterdam; Professor Daniel Gervais, Vanderbilt University, US; Professor Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge; Professor Tatiana Synodinou, University of Cyprus