The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published the Creative Industries Sector Deal aimed at making the UK the best place in the world for businesses in the creative industries.

This is the latest sector deal to flow from the government's Industrial Strategy White Paper after sector deals for life sciences and the automotive industry were announced in late 2017/early 2018, respectively.

The creative industries are key to the UK's future economic success - worth £92 billion they employ more than two million people and the sector is growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy. The creative industries capitalise on individual creativity, talent and skill, and include businesses engaged in TV, computer games, fashion, music, communications, arts, publishing and film.

The deal demonstrates the importance of the creative industries to the UK economy, together with the other sectors identified. Indeed, the power of the creative industries to deliver growth and jobs has recently been evidenced by the extremely successful Hull 2017 UK City of Culture bid.

Shoosmiths was proud to be appointed as legal advisor to Hull 2017, which has seen the creation of nearly 800 jobs and almost £220 million invested in the city since Hull received UK City of Culture status.

The main aims of the Creative Industries Sector Deal are that:

  • more than £150 million will be jointly invested by government and industry to help the country's world-leading cultural and creative businesses thrive;
  • a new Cultural Development Fund will provide cities and towns with access to £20 million, for investment in culture and creative industries;
  • plans are in place to nurture and develop the next generation of creative talent, including an industry-led careers programme and a new London Screen Academy, which is set to open in September 2019.

The sector deal sets out the government's commitment to the sector. Below, we look at a number of areas of interest brought out in the deal:

The importance of intellectual property

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has been working closely with the DCMS in order to help businesses in the creative industries to protect their intellectual property rights. In particular, the IPO and DCMS have committed to:

  • provide funding of £2 million to extend the Get it Right campaign, to tackle online piracy and educate consumers on the value of copyright by directing them to legitimate websites;
  • take action to crack down on copyright infringement;
  • work with industry to enhance the skills base in valuing intellectual property rights;
  • consider site blocking (and ways to introduce this); and publishing a programme of work to support the intellectual property valuation market by Autumn 2018.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper identified several priorities which would need to be addressed in order to achieve the goal of making the UK the most attractive place for creative businesses, both large and small - one of these was how to support a sector reliant on intellectual property (IP). All businesses in the creative industries rely upon the intellectual property which they produce. The effective and efficient creation, acquisition, protection and commercialisation of intellectual property will be vital in achieving this goal. Our dedicated creative industries practice is made up of skilled intellectual property lawyers who have previously worked in the creative industries and digital sector. We know the importance of intellectual property to enable businesses to effectively trade, raise funds and grow. As such, we are pleased that the UK's statutory framework for the protection of IP has been recognised as world-leading and we welcome the steps proposed to help prevent IP infringement, particularly in the on-line environment. The commitments set out in the Creative Industries Sector Deal to protect business IP and provide training to recognise the value of IP, will support the ambition of the sector deal to make Britain the best place to locate a creative business.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

The deal will help drive innovation by joint public and industry investment in eight partnerships of business and universities, backed by a national research centre, and a commitment to investigate barriers to creative businesses in taking up research and development funding., Shoosmiths is a partner organisation in the Creative North West Consortium shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC ) funded Creative Industries Clusters Programme detailed in the Creative Industries Sector Deal where we will provide particular expertise and support on intellectual property law.

The deal also pledges joint investment in a strategic innovation challenge set to transform creative content immersive technologies like virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Immersive technologies such as virtual reality video games and augmented reality projects will receive over £33 million of investment. This funding will be used to support this sector, which is predicted to grow significantly in the next five years, with consumer spending on video games set to reach £5 billion by 2021. The government will also provide additional support to the highly successful UK Games Fund with an additional £1.5 million over the next two years.

Shoosmiths provides specialist advice to businesses and studios in UK's video games industry (the largest in Europe, and is the fifth largest globally). The team continues to:

  • represent a number of leading independent game development studios;
  • offer advice in relation to the creation, protection and commercialisation of intellectual property;
  • offer tax advice on how studios could benefit from the UK's favorable video games tax regime;
  • provide advice on structuring development deals for studios.

Members of the team recently attended The Game Development Conference, one of the world's largest professional industry video games events (The Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco last month to ensure that they are completely up to speed with industry trends and developments.

Music

With a value of over £800 million the music, arts and culture sector is significant in terms of its contribution to the creative industries and the wider British economy. Members of our team have worked in the music industry and this provides us with a genuine understanding of the issues which businesses face day-to-day; enabling us to provide legal advice which is relevant and accessible. In addition to acting for labels, publishers and management, our work aligns with the ambitions of the sector deal in that we also support education on the music industry by speaking and lecturing on music law and business affairs at leading music educational bodies including BIMM, LIPA and Leeds College of Music.

Film/TV studios expansion

Over the past five years, inward investment in Britain's film and high-end TV industries has grown by more than 100%, to over £2 billion production expenditures a year and confidence and growth are set to continue at a similar rate over the next seven years.

Film studios across the country are increasing their capacity to keep up with demand for production space. In response to this, the Pinewood, Warner Bros Leavesden, Pacificia Ventures Barking and Dagenham and Littlewoods and the Space Project studios have all increased their capacity.

The Creative Industries Sector Deal reflects the confidence in the sector and the opportunities presented by it. We look forward to seeing how the collaborations develop and to continuing working with businesses in the sector to support them, as it is their success which will enable the UK to realise its ambition to be the best place in the world for the creative industries.