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Industry welcomes Hooper’s copyright hub report

By | Published on Tuesday 31 July 2012

Richard Hooper

UK Music and the UK music industry’s two collecting societies, PRS and PPL, have all welcomed a new report from Richard Hooper into how the ‘digital copyright exchange’ proposed by Ian Hargreaves in his government review of copyright law last year might work.

As previously reported, the exchange would aim to pull together data about copyright ownership from all the content industries, making it easier for those wishing to licence music or other copyright material to work out who they need to speak to, and how a licensing deal might be done.

The exchange, or ‘copyright hub’ in Hooper’s words, funded in the main by the content industries, would also take on responsibility for copyright education, and would oversee issues around so called orphan works.

Hooper’s report proposes tapping into existing copyright databases, and databases in development, in order to be able to better ‘signpost’ rights ownership, though where there are gaps in those databases rights owners would be able to register directly with the hub if they wanted to, possibly putting in place the framework for a future compulsory copyright registry (though this is rarely mentioned by rights owners or political types).

Hooper also proposes that the report’s co-author Ros Lynch now lead a steering committee to put his proposals into action, possibly with a little government funding to get things going.

Welcoming Hooper’s report, UK Music boss Jo Dipple told CMU: “The front-footedness of the British music industry has been rightly recognised in Richard’s report. Our industry has shown great leadership in enabling the digital market place. But there is work to be done and UK Music has tasked itself to give the [government] an annual update on the proposals. It is very important that we work together to maintain the momentum this process has created. We look forward to hearing the government’s response to specific proposals”.

PRS chief Robert Ashcroft added: “We both welcome and support Richard Hooper’s findings and will work with our partners in the industry to meet the challenges he identifies, providing a better licensing environment for all. Looking ahead, we believe that the copyright hub recommended by Hooper could place Britain at the very centre of the global, online market for the creative industries. Coupled with industry efforts for a Global Repertoire Database, it will prove to be a critical building block in what must inevitably be an international project”.

And PPL boss Peter Leathem said: “In their very sensible report Richard Hooper and Dr Ros Lynch have understood the importance of robust data to support licensing in the digital age and the efforts that PPL, and its record company and performer members, have made on this front. Even though there is more to be done they have helpfully suggested building on such work to make both direct and collective licensing solutions even more compelling to businesses”.

He continued: “PPL has also committed to continue to develop its licensing services and will collaborate with the wider music industry to achieve this. We are delighted that the progress the music industry has been making in delivering licensing models has been recognised, particularly at a time after the opening ceremony of the Olympics last Friday which demonstrated on a global stage the cultural value and commercial importance of music to the UK”.

You can download Hooper’s report here.