Creativity, rights and money are at the core of the media industries. Protecting rights is key but piracy may have been encouraged by the fact that some industries have a reputation for exploiting artists. There are creators, rights owners and end users. The money flows to the rights owners and traditionally, because the creators ‘sold’ their rights, they were major record companies and music publishers. Kids who were illegally downloading files thought they were hitting the big multinationals rather than the artists that they professed to be fans of.
Creators now seek to own and control the production of their records and songs which in turn give them control of the rights. That’s one issue. Control of the money is another. Last year the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth set out to investigate whether existing copyrights legislation now obstructed innovation and economic growth. The answer was yes.
However the review did not go far enough according to music industry expert and Intellectual Property Partner Nigel Dewar Gibb.
“The Hargreaves Review’s objectives were to remove obstructions to innovation and promote economic growth in the industry. To do that, the economic benefits need to flow through from rights users to rights owners and to creators. At Pitmans we are involved in an investigation into global royalty income flows from IP assets, a key issue that has not been addressed by the Hargreaves Report. Regrettably, the report is largely silent on the issues that surround existing copyright databases and such royalty income flows and the benefit that might come from shining a spotlight on these.”
Securing rights is vital but this needs to be done in tandem with securing the income flows. This is an additional issue that may need to be taken account of in any review of copyright legislation.
First published in the Pitmans Times 2012