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
Wednesday, 6 March 2019, 1730 – 1900
Humanities Lecture Theatre, Main Building, University of Glasgow
The Great Transformation or Going to Hell in a Handbasket?: Innovation and Intellectual Property in the 21st Century.
Professor Peter Drahos, European University Institute
For the third and final lecture in the Spring 2019 Public Lecture Series, CREATe welcomes Peter Drahos.
The economic transformations of the first half of the 21st century will have to be as great as anything experienced in the 20th century. International organizations such as the OECD and the International Energy Agency have repeatedly pointed out that states must transform their energy systems if they are to achieve their climate change goals. States are being advised that their economies must be circular, green, low carbon, sustainable and, above all, more innovative.
The globalization of intellectual property was one of the striking features of the last century and continues this century despite the backlash against neo-liberal prescriptions favouring capital mobility, deregulatory orders and open markets. States continue to behave as if they believe that more intellectual property equals more innovation. Is the intellectual property paradigm taking states closer to the kinds of rapid transformations that the evidence suggests are badly needed? Drawing on early theorists of innovation such Marx and Schumpeter, as well as contemporary theories of innovation, this talk considers some responses to this question.
Monday, 25 February 2019, 1215 – 1330
Venue: Room 253, Gilbert Scott Building
The Effect of Copyright on Book Markets in South Africa (with application to other life-plus regimes)
Professor Paul Heald, University of Illinois
Research on the effect of copyright term extension in the United States has demonstrated the negative effect of legal protection on the availability of new bound editions and audiobook editions of older works. Among the most popular bound volume and audiobook titles, copyright protection also is associated strongly with higher prices in the US. Another recent study demonstrates the negative effect of copyright term extension on titles available for e-lending in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The present study demonstrates the negative effect of copyright on the availability of bound volumes and e-books available in South Africa, a jurisdiction currently under pressure to extend its term of copyright beyond the current life-plus-fifty. Monopoly pricing effects in e-book markets in South Africa, and therefore other life-plus-fifty jurisdictions, are also shown. Finally, the paper explores the potential for the Google Books Project and author’s rights reversion to improve the availability of books in South Africa.
Following the talk, sandwich lunch will be provided
Venue: Committee Room 251, Gilbert Scott Building
Timeline of Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive (click image for full size)
Yesterday morning, before the agreement reached in the trilogue between Commission, Parliament and Council, I gave an interview to Wired on Article 13. What we know about the final text from the representation in the press release by the Parliament’s rapporteur Axel Voss, hides the uncomfortable truth that copyright law has been used as a tool of industrial policy that will benefit quite narrow interests. The objectives of achieving a Digital Single Market and of support for creatives and journalists (which carry wide support) gloss over interventions that lack an evidence base.
Chris Stokel-Walker’s questions:
– Why is Article 13 so troublesome?
– What do you say to those who say it’s necessary?
– What is your reaction to this week’s trilogue negotiation meetings, and your thoughts on the changes to the wording of the law happening right now?
– What exactly is it about the renegotiations going on this week that makes Article 13 worse than already feared?
Martin Kretschmer’s response:
Article 13 is industrial policy targeted at a very narrow sector. It responds chiefly to concerns by parts of the music industry about the licensing deals or revenue sharing offered by Google’s YouTube platform. This has been termed, in an effective but misleading rhetoric, the ‘value gap’. Continue reading
Report by Anthony Rosborough, (LLM Candidate in the Intellectual Property & Digital Economy Programme at the University of Glasgow)
Dr. Husovec presenting at the first of CREATe’s Spring Public Lecture Series 2019. Image credit: Anthony Rosborough
On the 6th of February, Dr. Martin Husovec (Assistant Professor at Tilburg Law School) presented a lecture focused on the difficulty in repealing and reversing new intellectual property rights. Chaired by Lecturer Dr. Marta Iljadica, the lecture was held in the University of Glasgow’s Arts and Humanities Threatre as the first of CREATE’s Spring Public Lecture Series.
Dr. Husovec focused on the practical obstacles involved in repealing new intellectual property rights when they do not achieve their intended results or have negative consequences. The purpose of the inquiry is to assist in informing our thinking about when new intellectual property rights should be introduced, and under what conditions. Continue reading
This is an opportunity to join the School of Law and CREATe at an exciting point in our development, as part of the University of Glasgow’s ongoing investments in the creative economy.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (0.5 FTE) with an opportunity to pursue a funded PhD
Grade 6: [£28,660 – £32,236] per annum pro rata (0.5 FTE)
The role will combine part-time study for a funded PhD with a 0.5 FTE appointment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), including research group support and collaboration with CREATe. At the date of appointment candidates will be registered or accepted for a PhD in the School of Law. Depending on qualifications and experience, appropriate training towards the role as GTA will be offered.
Candidates are expected to propose a PhD project relating to the creative economy and digital transformations. The position is only open to Home/EU students.
If not admitted yet as a PhD student with the School of Law, candidates have to apply separately through the normal PhD application process. This can be done after being shortlisted for interview for the GTA position.
This is a five year appointment in the first instance, with PhD completion expected within this period.
Informal enquiries may be directed to Prof. Martin Kretschmer, Director of CREATe: Martin.Kretschmer@glasgow.ac.uk
Closing date: 6th March 2019
Click here to apply
To explore the full Wiki, click here or the image above.
This post is part of a series of summary round-ups for new entries to the Copyright Evidence Wiki (organised thematically). As part of CREATe’s workstream for the AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, the Wiki catalogues empirical studies on copyright. This month, we summarise new studies added to the database under the themes of: Piracy, Maximising Returns, Perceptions of Copyright, and Copyright and Libraries.