The UK’s new Copyright Hub (“Your gateway to information about copyright in the UK”) has launched a consultation pilot. The idea of a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) was first proposed by Ian Hargreaves in his 2011 Review of IP and Growth. In 2012 Richard Hooper and Ros Lynch completed a feasibility study on the DCE and chose the cooler term ‘Copyright Hub’ to indicate a not-for-profit, industry-led (but see here) system based in the UK that “links interoperably and scalably to the growing national and international network of private and public sector digital copyright exchanges, rights registries and other copyright-related databases”: Put it otherwise, the Copyright Hub is two things: A hub …
1) 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); and
2) A forum for collaboration between the different creative sectors and their organisations.
Above all, the Copyright Hub is intended to do three things:
a. Help people find out about copyright and find their way through the complexities of copyright;
b. 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;
c. Be a place where people can get permission from rights holders to use copyrighted works legally and easily.
The pilot involves only a small selection of organisations that engage with copyright licensing. Lessons from the pilot will be fed into later stages when more organisations join and more services are added
Richard Hooper, Chair of the Copyright Hub said: “We are today just dipping our toes in the water. This is a pilot from which we will learn a lot and which will allow us to build firm foundations for the future. 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.” IP Minister Viscount Younger of Leckie said: “The launch today of the Copyright Hub pilot is hugely exciting. It marks the first step towards a new kind of copyright infrastructure, where technology is harnessed to make rights registration and licensing easier and quicker. This is another boost for UK growth.”