Press release

Government gives £150,000 funding to kick-start copyright hub

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Lord Younger announces £150,000 of funding for new web site designed to make it easier for consumers to obtain information about copyright

£150,000 of funding to create a one-stop-shop web site designed to make it easier for consumers to get information about rights ownership and copyright licences, was announced today by Intellectual Property (IP) Minister, Lord Younger.

Professor Hargreaves, in his review of IP and Growth in May 2011, recommended that the UK should establish an industry-led solution to improve copyright licensing. He estimated that it could add up to £2.2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020, with a particular benefit to the creative industries.

The Hub, which will be designed and built by industry, will act as a source of information about rights ownership to support open and competitive markets for copyright licences. This will cut costs for businesses by creating a more efficient online market place where those looking to use copyright works in new creations or services, for example a company providing a multimedia service for a wedding, will have access to a greater range of licensing options, through the Hub, in a straightforward online transaction.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said:

The Copyright Hub will simplify copyright licensing for consumers and I am delighted to announce this funding to enable industry to begin their work.

Databases of copyright works such as those held by collecting societies and publishers, and designs such as the Register of Designs at the IPO already exist. However, government has listened to concerns that consumers are unsure who they should go to if they are looking for information about obtaining a licence, particularly if multiple rights are involved.

The funding announced today will help industry to start building the Hub website sooner and engage with schools and Further Education colleges to help streamline educational licensing. Above all, it chimes with government’s aim to provide a further portal to assist businesses to grow faster and to boost our creative industries.

Richard Hooper, Director of Copyright Hub Ltd said:

The Copyright Hub, linking to a wide array of databases and digital copyright exchanges, has the clear aim of helping consumers, rights users and small businesses find their way through the complexity of copyright and thus allow them to license copyrighted works much more easily and at a lower transaction cost. The Copyright Hub until today has been just an idea. Today it begins to become an exciting reality. We are especially grateful for the speed with which the Department of Business/IPO provided some start-up funding thus giving a real boost to this whole idea that emanated from the Hargreaves Review.

Kevin Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer, Copyright Licensing Agency said:

CLA are keen supporters of the Copyright Hub because it will simplify access to copyright works, benefiting both consumers and creators. And that will have a positive economic impact on the whole UK economy.

Jo Dipple, UK Music Chief Executive Officer said:

The copyright hub is very welcome and it is something the music industry has enthusiastically embraced as we try to push for further growth in the global digital marketplace. I’ve recently been at SXSW in Texas and witnessed first hand the hunger and appetite for the music made by British artists and bands and the potential for its growth, which the hub can only help to serve.

With this new funding the project has been given a real kickstart and it also demonstrates a further, very welcome commitment from the government, whose continued support - in partnership with our industry - is needed to underpin the hub’s success.

The Copyright Hub will be a website bringing together existing databases and services to make a new marketplace. This should lower the administration cost of many licensing transactions, and provide new opportunities for creators and users of works.

Notes to editors

1.For media queries, please contact Veena Mapara on 0207 215 5614.

2.For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on +44 (0) 207 215 3505.

3.The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

4.In his Review of IP and Growth in May 2011, Professor Hargreaves recommended that the UK should establish an industry-led ‘Digital Copyright Exchange’ (DCE) to improve copyright licensing and act as a source of information about rights ownership to support open and competitive markets.

5.Richard Hooper was appointed by government to undertake a feasibility study in November 2011. His report ‘Copyright Works: Streamlining copyright for the digital age’ published in July 2012 concluded that a version of a DCE, which he called a ‘Copyright Hub’ would indeed be beneficial. He recommended that industry should undertake further work in some areas including the stripping of metadata from images, and the simplification of educational and public performance licensing

6.Richard Hooper also anticipated that some initial public funding would be needed to get the Copyright Hub project off the ground and enable it to become operational sooner. Business Secretary, Vince Cable made this a public commitment in his ‘Big Innovation Centre’ speech in December 2012.

7.A small private company ‘The Copyright Hub Limited’ has been formed to handle financial and legal issues in relation to the project.

8.Previous work by KPMG suggested it could take over two years to build the Copyright Hub and depending on the functionality and funding available it could cost £10-20m.

9.Another industry group, the ‘GRD Working Group’ are in the process of setting up a Global Repertoire Database (GRD) which will be a central, authoritative source of copyright metadata for musical works. The GRD will complement the ‘Copyright Hub.’

10.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.