A vacancy is now available for a post-doctorate research officer, to work one day a week on a project that will deliver a new model for copyright consultations, and for consultations on media policy more generally.
The AHRC-funded project is entitled ‘Improving Deliberation, Improving Copyright’, and the aim is to co-produce, with copyright stakeholders and members of the public, a set of guidelines for policy consultation processes that more effectively incorporate a wide range of stakeholder voices into debates about copyright policy. CREATe (as part of the AHRC Policy & Evidence Centre PEC) is a partner on the project, which is being led by Dr Lee Edwards (LSE) and Dr Giles Moss (University of Leeds). Continue reading
Report by by Amy Thomas (CREATe PhD candidate, sub-editor Evidence Wiki)
Paul Heald – professor of law
What happens to the availability and price of books when they move from copyrighted status to the public domain? This question is of primacy to the work of Prof. Paul Heald (University of Illinois), who presented on this topic and its application to the South African market on 22 February 2019 at the University of Glasgow.
Amidst the debates surrounding the Copyright Amendment Bill, Prof. Heald addressed two main questions for the South African regime:
- First, is it preferable to follow the upward trend of extending the duration of copyright to last for the life of the author plus 70 years? Currently, South African copyright law extends to the life of the author plus 50 years, though the government is facing increasing pressure to extend this.
- Second, is there evidence to suggest that the duration of an author’s reversion right should be dramatically reduced? Currently, and upon assignment of rights, a rights reversion occurs 25 years after the authors death in South Africa. Under the proposed reform, this would be reduced to 25 years following the actual transfer of the rights.
Report by Andrea Göhring (LLM Candidate in the Intellectual Property & Digital Economy Programme at the University of Glasgow)
For the third and final public lecture of this term, CREATe welcomed Prof. Peter Drahos (European University Institute), who gave a lecture on: ‘The Great Transformation or Going to Hell in a Handbasket?: Innovation and Intellectual Property in the 21st Century.’ to the interested audience. The event took place on the 6th of March in the University of Glasgow’s Arts and Humanities Theatre.
Director of CREATe, Prof. Martin Kretschmer, announced the lecture with the words ‘a lecture that will not be what you expect’. The lecture that followed sure lived up to this introduction. Prof. Drahos presented a project that does not directly address intellectual property, but capitalism and the transformation it will have to undergo in order to achieve climate change goals. In his lecture he discussed how we can create circular, green, low carbon, sustainable and, above all, more innovative economies. To this end, he asked the question: is intellectual property law’s exclusivity paradigm taking us into the right direction? Continue reading
Guest post by Dr Angela Daly (Assistant Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law).
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a new emerging technology which has prompted significant debate and discussion regarding its social, economic and legal impact. From the emergence of 3D printed guns and the associated concerns regarding crime and terrorism, to the possibility of 3D printed food and houses, the implementations of this technology are wide ranging and have provoked both excitement and fear in equal measures.
One major issue for 3D printing’s design, use and implementation so far is its relationship with intellectual property (IP) law. 3D printing is a decentralised technology, a feature it shares with the Internet. This characteristic along with the availability of cheap 3D printing machines, has given rise to concern that 3D printing may facilitate mass IP infringement in a similar way to the Internet has done via easy data replicability and file sharing. 3D printing requires digital design files as an input, along with the raw materials, to create final objects. These digital design files may be found on, and downloaded from, Internet sites such as GitHub and Thingiverse. Another perspective on these possibilities brought by 3D printing is the idea that 3D printing may ‘democratise’ the creation of physical objects in the same way that the Internet has ‘democratised’ the creation of digital objects. Continue reading
Academics from the leading European research centres for intellectual property and information law have taken a consistent position on the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
Click image to download statement.
While we welcomed the ambition for copyright rules to be modernised “in the light of the digital revolution, new consumer behaviour and Europe’s cultural diversity” (Commission president Juncker’s 2014 “mission letter” to Günther Oettinger, then Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society), the implementation of this goal has been misguided.
Policy making moved from “legislative steps towards a connected Digital Single Market” towards supporting narrow sectoral interests. During a full parliamentary period, this new form of industrial policy was turned into an ideological battle between European culture and so-called “GAFA” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the multinational industrial complex dominated by US firms.
In our first open letter of 24 February 2017, we said:
“While the Proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM(2016) 593 final) contains a number of reasonable, common sense measures (…), there are two provisions that are fundamentally flawed. They do not serve the public interest.
Blog by Amy Thomas (CREATe PhD candidate, sub-editor Evidence Wiki)
Next Tuesday, March 26th, will be the final plenary vote on the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive. The focus has been on Articles 11 (press publishers’ right) and 13 (licensing obligation leading to upload filters), with demonstrations, petitions and blackouts, for example of the German, Czech, Danish and Slovak Wikipedia sites.
This blog post will look at some of the lesser-known provisions of the proposed Directive (and what provisions we’ve lost and gained since the original Commission draft in 2016). The discussion is based on the final compromise text agreed on 13 February available here.
Text and Data Mining (TDM) – Article 3
At present, the legality of TDM activities in the EU is uncertain, in part due to the narrow construction of existing copyright exceptions under Article 5(3) of the InfoSoc Directive. In order to clarify the status of such activities, the new Directive proposes to explicitly except TDM activities from copyright infringement, in a hope to boost research into important areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Continue reading
On Tuesday March 12th, I gave evidence at the House of Lords Communications Committee, which has a remit to investigate the media and creative industries. The Committee mirrors in some ways the Commons DCMS Committee. The meeting was a private session on the future of intellectual property policy. The brief for me (and for the other witness, Geoff Taylor, CEO of the trade body of the UK record industry: BPI/British Phonographic Industry) was to consider how the UK’s Intellectual Property framework could be improved for the benefit of the creative sector. The context included proposed EU copyright legislation and UK action under the aegis of the Industrial Strategy.
More specifically, there are a number of anticipated interventions relating to platforms and online harm. The DCMS Committee has just published its report on Disinformation and ‘fake news’. And there is a question if the government’s long awaited Online Harms White Paper should include economic harm (such as copyright infringement).
Since intellectual property issues are a new concern of the Committee, my own short presentation focused on the basic trade-off underlying intellectual property law, between incentives and costs, under-production and under-use. It did this through a review of reviews (such as Gowers 2006 and Hargreaves 2011). I identified three common groups of policy recommendations. Proposed interventions tend to focus on Lubrication, Enforcement and Innovation. Of these, the Innovation dimension is least understood: What is the Innovation we are looking for? Quotation in film, conceptual art, digitizing collections, sampling, user-generated content? Market entry? Technology? And what kind of evidence should underpin policy?
Inevitably, such discussion then touches Brexit, and the constraints and potential flexibilities associated with it. After the Committee meeting, I crossed the corridors to the Commons, and was admitted to the Commons gallery in time for the meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. A somber House, and a strange occasion for a German citizen residing in Scotland.
Photographs by Susanna Brunetti
The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt is well known today as a famous image of the Victorian era, popular amongst both rich and poor in society. In a recent talk in Keble College Chapel, Oxford, before the original painting by Hunt, CREATe’s Dr Elena Cooper shed new light on The Light by connecting it for the first time to broader themes in copyright history. Dr Cooper considered Hunt’s decision in the 1890s, to paint a significantly larger version of The Light (now in St Paul’s Cathedral) in the context of the fraught legal debates between painters and collectors about the right of painters to produce repetitions of works they had sold (in the same medium as the original). She argued that copyright debates – which featured discussions over which types of repetition challenged the authority of the original – had an important bearing on the manner in which Hunt justified his artistic intentions in the 1890s. The presentation also examined the way in which unauthorised photographs of engravings of The Light, which contributed to the fame of the image amongst poorer sections of society, were treated in the law courts, as a means of illustrating the distinct way in which copyright infringement rules relating to artistic works intersected with notions of the public interest in the nineteenth century. The talk formed part of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre Invited Speaker Series, convened by Dr Dev Gangjee. Dr Cooper is the author of Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (CUP 2018), the first in-depth and longitudinal study of copyright protecting the visual arts, which was launched at the Victorian Picture Gallery, Royal Holloway, University of London last December. A film, presented by Dr Cooper, which uses nineteenth century paintings as a starting point for unravelling broader themes from copyright history, will follow later in 2019, produced by Exhibition on Screen.
Report by Amy Thomas (CREATe, PhD Candidate).
Prof. Alison Firth.
The second of CREATe’s Spring 2019 Public Lecture Series featured Prof. Alison Firth (emeritus professor, University of Surrey, visiting professor QMUL and Newcastle Law School) presenting on “Trade deals and disputes – copyright as a possible model?”. Taking place on the 20th of February 2019, the event was chaired by Dr. Marta Iljadica, and took place in the University of Glasgow’s Arts and Humanities Theatre.
Framing her presentation in the context of Brexit, and the question of the UK’s new role in the global IP system, Prof. Firth posed a challenging question: is it possible to make use of existing copyright treaties meaningfully in a society facing rapid social and technological changes? Continue reading