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Monday, 8 July 2013

Rub-a-dub-dub, a tri-functional Hub

On Friday this Kat received an email circular headed " EMBARGOED UNTIL 08.59 AM MONDAY 08 JULY 2013 THE COPYRIGHT HUB LAUNCHES PILOT". After pausing for a moment to reflect on whether it's the hub that launches the pilot or the pilot that launches the hub, he decided to take the sensible course of turning this ill-kept secret into an easy blog post. Anyway, the story goes something like this:
At 9am today [exactly one minute after this blogpost] the Copyright Hub launches a consultation pilot. You can find it and follow progress at www.copyrighthub.co.uk

The launch of the Copyright Hub is one of the outcomes of the Hargreaves Review on intellectual property and growth, alongside various other recommendations concerning changes to copyright law. Professor Hargreaves recommended the creation of a digital copyright exchange (DCE). Richard Hooper carried out a feasibility study of the digital copyright exchange which in his final report Copyright Works dated July 2012 looked at a wide range of ways of making copyright licensing more fit for purpose for the digital age.

The Copyright Hub is two things. It is a web portal connected to a network of organisations from the audio-visual, publishing, music and images sectors of the creative industries (which includes DCEs that do automated licensing). It is also a forum for collaboration between the different creative sectors and their organisations.

The Copyright Hub, that is to say the web portal and its network of connected organisations, does three things:
* Help people find out about copyright and find their way through the complexities of copyright
* Be a place where rights holders can, if they so choose, register their rights information via organisations connected to the Hub, so that people can find out who owns what rights to what
* Be a place where people can get permission from rights holders to use copyrighted works legally and easily
These three functions map accurately to the three findings in the feasibility study report Copyright Works: people have difficulty finding their way through the copyright maze; it is difficult to find out who owns what rights to what; it is not always easy for potential rights users to license copyright works or elements of copyright works.

The users/customers of the Copyright Hub are all those individuals, small businesses, charities, educational institutions, larger businesses who want to find out about copyright and license works for specific purposes, for example use music on the family website or personal video.

The vision for the Copyright Hub is ambitious. The pilot, beginning today, is just a start. The pilot involves only a small selection of organisations involved with copyright licensing. The Copyright Hub Launch Group [Kevin Fitzgerald (CLA), Andrew Hughes (NLA), Mark Bide (PLS), Mark Douglas (PPL), Mark Lawrence (PRS for Music), Michael Healy (CCC), Paul Brown (BAPLA), Ben White (British Library), Simon Juden (Pearson), Serena Tierney (BDB Law), Jonathan Lockwood (Getty Images), Tony Ageh (BBC), Michael Holderness (CRA), Sara Geater (Freemantle Media), Tom Morgan (Museums DCE), Jane Dyball (Warner Chappell) and Godfrey Rust (Linked Content Coalition) -- of whom at least one of these good souls is known to this Kat and deemed to be of sound mind and judgment], the committee chaired by Richard Hooper, which governs the Copyright Hub, is anxious to avoid the equal and opposite dangers of proceeding too fast or too slowly [How curious, says Merpel, that proceeding at all is not regarded as a danger]. 
Lessons from the pilot will be fed into later stages when more organisations join and more services are added – this why we are calling it a consultation pilot. The pilot is a straightforward signalling and navigation phase, taking customers/users via simple hyperlinking to the websites of connecting organisations quickly and efficiently to, for example, get permission to use an image or a piece of music.

The Copyright Hub pilot has been financed by the British Government and also by matched funding from the creative industries themselves. The Copyright Hub is industry-led.

What the Launch Group are doing this morning ...
Richard Hooper, Chair of the Copyright Hub said: “We are today just dipping our toes in the water [so that's what they've been doing!]. This is a pilot from which we will learn a lot and which will allow us to build firm foundations for the future. 
So much for an early-start up
We are not trying to do everything at once and are approaching the whole project in an organic, step by step way. We do not subscribe to the view that we should, at this stage, spend large sums of money building something in the hope that people will come. History has taught us that this does not usually work. I am most grateful to the Government [and not many people can say that!] for providing some early start-up funding, to Lime Digital (the contractors who built the site) for working so hard against tough deadlines, and to members of the Copyright Hub Launch Group for their constant support and counsel.” ...
The IPKat promises to keep you informed of future developments.

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