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Licensing UK 

Licensing UK


“Licensing UK”

“Licensing UK” Principles

Copyright is fundamental to the economic success of the creative sector. It provides an incentive for investment whether by a creator investing their time or a company investing in distributing content. Licensing of copyright is the mechanism that provides creators with the ability to make money out of their work. Rights are licensed to businesses that use content to allow them to offer consumers more choice and more innovative services.

Government is set on a course to introduce substantial new copyright exceptions that will take away the rights of creators to license their creative endeavours and the ability to make a return on the investment in producing their works. The UK is an exporter of creative content, talent and services. We are global leaders, in what we create, in our growing digital businesses in terms of the volumes of licences granted to facilitate legitimate services. Extending exceptions sends out a damaging signal that the UK government does not care about the rights of creators or their ability to earn licensing revenue.

Creators and creative organisations call simply for the right to license their works to others at the point at which creative content creates value for them. Removing the right to license impedes the ability to create commercially viable services as business models evolve. The creative sector is forward-looking. It is actively promoting copyright licensing solutions, especially in support of the partnerships with tech companies with whom they are developing new digital business models.

Growing trade between industry sectors should be based on fair and balanced negotiation. There is no sense in a strategy that sacrifices the protections up to now properly afforded to the UK content industries and UK creators – the result of which would be wholesale diversions of revenues away from the UK’s creative companies.

“Licensing UK” – the alternative approach

Rather than taking away creators’ rights and forcing divisions between creators and consumers, we call on the Government to work with creators, creative businesses and consumers to ensure that:

1. Creators can be paid a fair price for the use of their creations and producers and distributors investing in those creations can achieve a fair return on their investments through balanced negotiations.
2. Access to content by consumers should be as straightforward as possible, at a fair price.

3. Businesses can connect the two and provide sustainable services to creators and consumers.

“Licensing UK” is about realising that vision. It is about connecting the creators, businesses and consumers seamlessly and creating a virtuous circle of economic, social and cultural activity. Licensing gives legal access for consumers, value for businesses in the supply chain and a fair reward for creators.

Copyright – and the licensing system that depends upon it in the UK – has already generated a wealth of consumer services in both analogue and digital media including downloads, on-demand streaming, cloud services, adverts, broadcast, exhibition and public use. There are more licensed digital services to choose from in the UK than any country in the world, from which consumers greatly benefit.

Rights holders should not be compelled by regulation to give away their work for free in order to subsidise other businesses through more exceptions. Consumers should not be directed to illegal services. Widening exceptions would stifle the new opportunities for UK growth and exports by cutting across
commercial deals, divide creators from consumers, create more legal uncertainty for investors and confusion among consumers, not less, and would ultimately deny an equitable and sustainable future for creators.

We stand up for creators who, every day, produce thousands of new songs, recordings, books, films, TV programmes, newspapers and magazines. Copyright does work. It ensures a fair share of income for British
content creators and it brings significant money into the UK economy. It must be supported.

Progressive and desirable licensing and education initiatives include:

  • Streamlined copyright licensing. Richard Hooper's commissioned review sets out a vision for an improved copyright licensing framework via a copyright hub, which industry is actively supporting and
  • New licensing models. New models to increase accessibility to orphan works, while still protecting creators’ interests, are being taken forward by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
  • Business standards for licensing bodies. Collecting societies should be transparent and accountable to their members and licensee customers. Voluntary codes of conduct are being rolled out to embed good
    business standards.
  • Copyright education: the IPO should have a statutory duty to further explain and promote copyright and
  • Multi-territorial licensing: where appropriate and to fulfil local demand, realising the European Commission’s vision of a digital single market.

10 facts about the creative industries

1. UK creative industries employ 1.3m people in the UK.
2. UK creative industries contribute £60bn in GDP to the UK economy.
3. UK creators and creative industries are key contributors to economic growth and culture.
4. UK creators and creative industries are world leaders.
5. UK creative industries have enabled more digital services than elsewhere in Europe
6. UK creators produce new content – tens of thousands of news reports, 1,000 recordings, 789 songs, 700
books, 87 hours of TV, 21 magazines, and ½ a film – every day.
7. Creative content accounts for 73% of internet traffic, but just 8% of internet revenues are paid back to content owners
8. Collective licensing is a global business with the UK as a net export beneficiary.
9. Nearly £1 billion is collected on behalf of rights holders by UK licensing societies, a significant and growing part of total creative revenues.
10. The content industries are actively engaged in projects to facilitate licensing via improved access to rights ownership information which supports the efficient administration of digital licences.

5 myths about copyright reform

1. ‘…the IPO proposals will deliver £8bn GDP…’: Wrong. The IPO numbers don’t add up. The assumptions are flawed. More worryingly, the negative effects on creative industries have been ignored completely.
2. ‘…exceptions deliver economic growth…’ Wrong. Most of the proposed exceptions remove the core asset value of the creative work and so reduce incentives for creators for greater economic activity. An exception
may benefit the public sector, but that has to be weighed against the loss of revenue to the creative sector of the economy.
3. ‘…copyright inhibits innovation…’: Wrong. Innovation is driving change exponentially and copyright licensing is growing. It is the way that creators are paid for the use of their work and consumers get access to content at a fair price. New licensing models are being developed all the time and licensing revenue is growing year on year – proof that it works.
4. ‘…licensing is broken…’: Wrong. Licensing is far from broken, it is growing. The vast majority of complaints against licensing are over price, which is either set by the Copyright Tribunal or negotiated by rightsholders with companies that are in many cases global Internet giants.
5. ‘…copyright is red tape…’: Wrong. Copyright is not regulation; it is an asset. Copyright gives a creator ownership of their work and allows that work to be traded, just like any other property. Copyright is a flexible system which rewards the creator, incentivises investors and gives consumers access to content in a vibrant market.


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