Universities to collaborate on new copyright initiative to meet challenges of creative economy

Out-Law News | 22 Aug 2012 | 4:52 pm | 1 min. read

A consortium of seven universities is to consider how best to support the changing relationship between technology and the arts as part of a new research project, which will officially launch next year.

The new Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe), led by the University of Glasgow, will examine a range of issues relating to digitisation, intellectual property issues and the growing creative economy. It will be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). NESTA, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Technology Strategy Board will also be involved, although will not be providing funding.

The UK has probably the largest creative sector in the world as a percentage of gross domestic profit (GDP), accounting for over 6% of the country's overall economy and contributing around £60 billion per year. CREATe will, according to its founders, address the challenges related to building a business, cultural and regulatory infrastructure to support and encourage those businesses, sparking innovation and allowing the economy to capitalise on new revenue streams.

"The Research Councils' decision to support CREATe is an outstanding result for the University of Glasgow and for the consortium of other universities involved in this initiative," said Professor Ronan Deazley of the School of Law at the University of Glasgow. "Working in strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations throughout the UK, CREATe will deliver an innovative and exciting research programme that will have real impact on the creative economy as that economy continues to transition from the analogue to the digital."

An official launch event for the project will be held in Glasgow at the end of January 2013, according to its website. CREATe will also involve the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and St Andrews, the University of Nottingham's digital economy hub (Horizon), the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Goldsmiths, University of London.

CREATe will be established under the Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy initiative, set up by the three Research Councils in 2011. Funding worth £5 million over a four-year period, once the universities' contribution has been taken into account, will be made available to support the project; which will be tasked with leveraging "significant additional income or support" from private sector partners to enable it to continue its work beyond this point.

Professor Rick Rylance, chief executive of the AHRC, said that the new centre was a "fantastic opportunity"; both to measure how digital technologies were already challenging existing arrangements and to create new opportunities for creative input in the UK.

"We very much look forward to seeing how CREATe develops new thinking on copyright and business potential and meets the challenges of interdisciplinary and partnership working," he said."I'm confident it will do so splendidly. It's a vital as well as urgent task."