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Creators’ Organizations

About this project
Smita Kheria

Nevena Kostova

Lead investigator(s):
Dr Smita Kheria
Ms Nevena Kostova

Start Date: 1st October 2013
End Date: 30th September 2016


Creators’ organisations perform a myriad of functions (representative, advisory, educational, etc.), which significantly shape the framework within which creators operate in practical as well as legal terms. One of the objectives of these organisations is to ensure that copyright is an economic asset not just for the content exploiters but also for the original creators. In recent years, copyright law itself has been undergoing numerous changes in an attempt to address some of the challenges which have emerged with the shift from analogue to digital content creation, dissemination and consumption. Many of these changes are still at the stage of implementation and several issues pertaining to new business models in the creative industries have yet to be addressed. It is therefore a particularly important time to focus on the role that creators’ organisations play in furthering the interests of creators in this changing landscape and on the various challenges that these organisations may face.

The aim of this project was to explore the role that creators’ organisations play in the way copyright law is operationalised and exploited within existing and emerging business models; and, specifically examine how creators’ organisations represent creators, how they extract value for creators in the way copyright law is interpreted and applied, what challenges they encounter in the process and what steps they take.

Doctoral research

Ms Kostova, carried out her doctoral research, as part of the project, between 2013 – 2017. The objectives of her doctoral research were to study creators’ organisations (COs) as participants and shapers of copyright policy: to understand how these actors behave, what environment they operate in and what effects this environment and organisations’ workings produce on the nature and substance of copyright law and policy. The research comprised a socio-legal study of the Musicians’ Union (MU), the Performing Right Society (PRS), the Society of Authors (SoA), and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS): one trade union and one collective management organisation (CMO) from the music and publishing industries respectively. The analysis was carried out on a combination of primary data generated through 24 semi-structured interviews with CO operatives and documentary data. The latter included consultation responses, policy briefings, reports, online news publications, IP reviews, academic studies, and other literature. The analysis was structured around the policy work of the four studied COs on three copyright issues of contemporary relevance: the contractual terms for authors and performers, the UK private copying exception, and the implementation of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive.