The IP Minister, Lord Younger, today announced that the Government will provide £150,000 funding to create the much discussed Copyright Hub, a one-stop-shop copyright licensing website. The goal is to cut costs for consumers and businesses by creating a more efficient online market place where they can easily license copyright protected works.
The Copyright Hub was proposed by Professor Hargreaves, in his review of IP and Growth in May 2011, in which he examined how best to ensure that UK digital markets for copyright works were" transparent, contestable and supportive to innovation", so that transaction costs were minimised and investment signals clarified. His goal was "a functioning online licensing market to support delivery of legitimate content to consumers."
Whilst this initial investment in designing the Copyright Hub is a step towards Hargreaves' proposed licensing system we shouldn't forget that previous work by KPMG has suggested it could take over two years to build the Copyright Hub and depending on the functionality and funding available it could cost £10-20m. However for Hooper, Director of Copyright Hub Ltd, this first funding is an important step towards making the Copyright Hub a reality. He has said:
"The Copyright Hub, linking to a wide array of databases and digital copyright exchanges, has the clear aim of helping consumers, rights users and small businesses find their way through the complexity of copyright and thus allow them to license copyrighted works much more easily and at a lower transaction cost. The Copyright Hub until today has been just an idea. Today it begins to become an exciting reality. We are especially grateful for the speed with which the Department of Business/IPO provided some start-up funding thus giving a real boost to this whole idea that emanated from the Hargreaves Review."
Lord Younger has said:
"The funding announced today will help industry to start building the Hub website sooner and engage with schools and Further Education colleges to help streamline educational licensing. Above all, it chimes with government's aim to provide a further portal to assist businesses to grow faster and to boost our creative industries."
Lord Younger continues:
"Databases of copyright works such as those held by collecting societies and publishers, and designs such as the Register of Designs at the IPO already exist. However, Government has listened to concerns that consumers are unsure who they should go to if they are looking for information about obtaining a licence, particularly if multiple rights are involved."
Kevin Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer, Copyright Licensing Agency has said:
"CLA are keen supporters of the Copyright Hub because it will simplify access to copyright works, benefiting both consumers and creators. And that will have a positive economic impact on the whole UK economy."
Jo Dipple, UK Music Chief Executive Officer said:
"The copyright hub is very welcome and it is something the music industry has enthusiastically embraced as we try to push for further growth in the global digital marketplace. I've recently been at SXSW in Texas and witnessed first hand the hunger and appetite for the music made by British artists and bands and the potential for its growth, which the hub can only help to serve.
With this new funding the project has been given a real kickstart and it also demonstrates a further, very welcome commitment from the Government, whose continued support - in partnership with our industry - is needed to underpin the hub's success."
Authored by Iona Harding, Baker & McKenzie