If the music industry wants an online Copyright Hub to increase its revenues in the next few years, it's got to stick its hand in its pocket and pay for it.
That's the recommendation from Richard Hooper, whose final report on the feasibility of such an online Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) is published today.
The recommendation for a Digital Copyright Exchange came from Professor Hargreaves’ review of intellectual property and growth, published in May 2011. Business Secretary Vince Cable asked Hooper (pictured) to undertake a detailed analysis of whether and how it might work.
Hooper's report, Copyright Works, calls on the creative industries to play a key role in leading and funding the Copyright Hub - a marketplace for rights to streamline copyright licensing and make transactions easier for creators, rights holders and users.
The Government-commissioned but independent report also calls for the creation of an industry-led steering committee (a 'Copyright Licensing Steering Group') to ensure its recommendations are implemented.
Although Hooper says he expects the creative industries - notably music - to pay for both the DCE and the steering committee, he accepts that some 'pump' priming from the UK Government, or a cash injection from Brussels, may be possible.
"[PRS's] Global Repertoire Database, so far, has been entirely industry-funded," he said to Music Week by way of example. "We would look for the vast majority of [the DCE plans] to be industry-funded.
"The [music] industry can't have it both ways. These are either problems that if solved will increase their revenue, and so they should fund it. Or if it's not a problem for them, if it doesn't solve their issues and doesn't increase their revenue, then why are we doing it?"
Hooper recommends that the Hub's steering committee should be managed by the report's head of secretariat Dr. Ros Lynch for its first year, and further comprised of senior execs from the creative industries. Lynch, said Hooper, would help ensure that the report's "momentum" continued in future.
When asked if he had a figure in mind as to how much the DCE would cost, Hooper told Music Week: "No - we're not at that stage yet. All I can report is that the industries have very much supported this work. I hope the record labels and the publishers will say to you that they find this work useful and they fully support it."
The Copyright Hub will have five main aims:
- To act as a signpost and be a navigation mechanism to the complex world of copyright
- To be the place to go for copyright education
- To be the place where any copyright owner can choose to register works, the associated rights to those works, permitted uses and licences granted
- To be the place for potential licensees to go for easy to use, transparent, low transaction cost copyright licensing
- To be one of the authoritative places where prospective users of orphan works can go to demonstrate they have done proper, reasonable and due diligence searches for the owners of those works before they digitise them
“If the UK is to maintain and improve its position as world leader in the creative industries then it needs an efficient and responsive system to manage the use of creative rights.
“Setting up an industry led and industry-funded Copyright Hub will help maximise the potential for creators and rights owners on the supply side and the wide range of licensees and users on the demand side.
“Creating a single marketplace for copyright licensing would not only reduce the costs of licensing and simplify a complex system that can be difficult to navigate but would also bring together key players to have a more effective exchange and use of rights. This will only help boost economic growth, ensuring that both the industry and consumers are making the most of the UK’s creativity.”
Welcoming the report, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
"The idea of a ‘copyright hub’ is an ambitious undertaking and one that could clearly yield great benefits for the UK’s creative industries and consumers. It is potentially a ground-breaking step forward that will help make copyright licensing fit for 21st century.
"Richard Hooper has put forward a detailed and thoughtful report, with recommendations for industry and the Government. We will support the further work he recommends and, working alongside the industry, look forward to building the long term consensus to deliver this vision."
Look out for Thursday's Music Week for a more in-depth look at Hooper's recommendations.