Publishing industry responses to Hargreaves explain why copyright remains at the base of our creative industries

 

At the request of the Coalition Government, Professor Ian Hargreaves has been asked  to identify barriers to growth in the Intellectual Property system and report on how the IP framework could better enable business models appropriate to the digital age. The Review, which called for submissions by 4 March,  is focusing in particular on “economic data and related evidence which are methodically sound, robust and clearly sourced.”

The responses from the publishing industry have been particularly robust, highlighting why copyright is still the bedrock of the creative industries, variously valued in the UK at a between £50 and £80bn chunk of our beleagured economy.

The Copyright Licensing Agency, on behalf of its author and publisher constituency, has published a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) providing an independent economic analysis of the impact of copyright protection, secondary copyright (the reproduction of copyright works) and collective licensing in the UK.

Commissioned by CLA, together with ALCS representing authors, DACS, representing artists and photographers, and PLS, representing professional and book publishers, the report makes an important input to the Hargreaves Review.

The PwC report can be viewed at - ‘An Economic Analysis of Copyright, Secondary Copyright and Collective Licensing’ (March 2011) and the CLA’s own submission at CLA submission to the Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (March 2011).

Professional media publishers have responded through the PPA with three publishers setting out their views very clearly:

Copyright protection is a fundamental part of editorial innovation. Practical problems arise when one innovator wishes to use the work of another without being prepared to pay the price that the seller or licensor wishes to secure”. Barry McIlheney, CEO – PPA

Removing rights from publishers to allow technology companies to profit from use of such rights is not going to promote innovation, or investment in innovation, in the longer term”. Charles Reed, Chairman PPA, Group Managing Director, William Reed Business Media

Unauthorised use of magazine and periodical publications online is a rapidly increasing challenge to investment in new online business models. If professional publishers are to continue to make significant investments in new applications for online publications, illegal copying and distribution must be more effectively addressed. That requires support for enforcement of rights, and support from consumers for use of legitimate services. Growth will not be promoted by removing or reducing the rights that support incentives to invest”. Stevie Spring, Chief Executive, Future plc.

The  PPA response to Independent Review of Intellectual Property and Growth can be viewed by clicking here.

 

The Publishers Association response includes a highly impressive demonstration of how the future is here now and to attract investment must enjoy continued copyright protection.  Writes PA chief executive Richard Mollett:

“It is a tip-of-the-iceberg demonstration of the digital innovation that started in the sector over ten years ago, and which is now an everyday feature of publishing.  The process of making the ebook was an education in itself and gave us at The PA a fascinating insight into the technical challenges which digital teams are facing on a daily basis, as they seek to develop innovative ways to bring works to the digital environment.   For technical assistance – and patience way beyond the call of duty – I am extremely grateful to Tom Skipp and Sara Lloyd at MacMillan who guided the team (Emily Cleevely and Victoria Lustigman) through the technical minefield that is flash and epub.

“If a picture paints a thousand words, then a full demonstration of an enhanced ebook paints a million. So in parallel to the Hargreaves submission (which can be viewed online or in iBooks), The PA now has a demonstrator iPad, replete with the latest example apps from member companies.  We have asked members to keep us updated with their latest developments, so that this becomes a living and breathing record of technical innovation.

“I’ve heard it said – I quite forget by whom – that in order to spur innovation and growth we need to relax copyright law.  Such a statement stands like a perfect negative reflection of the true state of affairs: that the UK’s robust and flexible copyright regime is the very thing driving innovation and growth, by underpinning creative activity and investment.  The communication of this fact to policy and media audiences is one of the single most important roles we have at the PA.  We are grateful for all the assistance and guidance we have had on this to date, and any other further ideas people may have.

Equally robust is the Publishers Association response to Hargreaves which can be downloaded here.

On behalf of Regional and National Newspaper, the NS and the NPA have made a joint response, which can be read here.

The joint submission points out that UK newspaper publishers invest over £1bn per annum in developing high quality content which is republished across a multiplicity of distribution platforms. It argues that this investment must be underpinned by effective legal protection so that publishers can be confident of their ability to use and disseminate the content created by them and their employees in any appropriate way, allowing the freedom to innovate and develop.

 

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