Industry roundtable recognises the need for change to ensure UK’s creative businesses remain competitive
London 7 July 2011 - Following the release of the Hargreaves Review, Digital Opportunity, the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CI KTN) last week brought together representatives from the creative sector to debate the implications of the Review with its author Professor Ian Hargreaves. Participants included Universal Music, Lovefilm.com and The Guardian News and Media Group along with the UK Technology Strategy Board.
John Cass, director of the CI KTN, commented: “The Review offers proposals to the UK’s creative industries which could, if implemented, have a significant long-term impact on our industry. And as the CI KTN is charged with accelerating innovation in the creative industries, we felt it was vital that we brought together some key industry figures to initiate the discussion on how to progress the Review’s proposals.”
The panel - which also included senior-level executives from D-Media, Power to the Pixel, The British Library, Inngot, Coller IP and The Work Foundation - all agreed with the Review’s findings that technology and consumer behaviour are advancing at such a pace that existing copyright laws and methods for managing digital rights for content are in danger of becoming redundant. The two issues generating most discussion were the Review’s proposals for a Digital Copyright Exchange, and the nature of the advice and information SMEs need when dealing with Intellectual Property management.
Professor Hargreaves said he’d proposed the creation of a Digital Copyright Exchange because he believed that the markets in digital content were not working as well as they could, were not open enough and were not sufficiently innovative at a time when the British economy is increasingly dependent on intangible instead of tangible assets.
The creation of a Digital Copyright Exchange was viewed as an innovative response to the challenges faced by the creative industries in the digital age, with many believing it could make it much easier to access and pay for copyrighted material, while allowing rights owners to retain control of how their content is used and sold.
The move towards the digital age has led traditional industries such as publishing to move to new business models which rely heavily on the use of digital media. Robert Hahn, head of rights and content acquisition at Guardian News and Media, commented: “The critical element with any Digital Copyright Exchange will be the mandate that rights holders are prepared to give. And if we take music as a working example, the mandate currently provided by rights holders can be quite limited.”
While the panel agreed the Digital Copyright Exchange could potentially offer benefits to businesses within the creative industries, especially SMEs, Professor Hargreaves believed small firms need more guidance on the legal and commercial aspects of intellectual property to build good business models.
Gina Fegan, CEO of D-Media, who congratulated Professor Hargreaves on the Review, said: “The Digital Copyright Exchange is a no-brainer. I’m surprised that the UK has gone on for so long without one - but we trade globally so its effectiveness will be limited unless it is extended to other European Countries and beyond. The UK Government should promote the establishment of the Digital Copyright Exchange as quickly as possible and advocate its adoption on an international basis.”
While plenty of information is available, the Hargreaves Review pointed to a lack of tailored IP advice. Fegan summarised the challenge as follows: “Businesses need to understand why this stuff is so important. Given that the basic valuation of their companies depends on it, there is a surprising lack of awareness in the creative community.”
Jackie Maguire, CEO of Coller IP, added: “There’s a big difference between information and advice. The most critical time for advice is when companies are getting going - the decisions they make to protect their IP assets will govern the way their company builds or doesn’t.”
Evidence from the CI KTN’s own IP & Open Source Beacon project - managed by innovation directory Inngot - also backed up the Review’s emphasis on the need for IP advice. Inngot CEO Martin Brassell commented: “The UK creative industries are predominantly made up of innovative SMEs who need to collaborate across open platforms, leaving many questioning how much protection their business and their IP actually have. Frameworks are required which facilitate transactions and provide trusted forums to share relevant advice and information if these companies are to realise their true potential.”
A podcast of the round table can be found at http://soundcloud.com/creativektn/ip-and-open-source-round-table. If businesses within the UK’s creative sector want to get involved in future debates and events simply sign up and become a CI KTN member free of charge by following this link http://bit.ly/qIggWe.
About the CI KTN
The Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network stimulates and accelerates innovation in the creative industries, helping people to realise the potential of the creative industries to motivate lasting change. The Creative Industries KTN is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s innovation agency. Its work is part of and supports the aims and objectives of the Technology Strategy Board’s Creative Industries strategy report.
Notes to editors
Professor Ian Hargreaves, chair of the digital economy
John Cass, director, Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network
Paul Smernicki, director of digital, Universal Music UK
Paul Thompson, on-demand project manager at Lovefilm.com and advisor at Liberal Democrats IT & IP policy working group
Robert Hahn, head of rights and content acquisition at Guardian News & Media
Alex Stanhope, Technology Strategy Board
Jackie Maguire, CEO of Coller IP
Martin Brassell, managing director of Inngot
Gina Fegan, CEO of D-Media
Liz Rosenthal, CEO of Power to the Pixel
Chris Morrison, copyright assurance manager at The British Library