Call for Evidence on feasibility of a new Digital Copyright Exchange

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13 January 2012

In November 2011, Richard Hooper was appointed to lead an independent feasibility study into the possible introduction of a Digital Copyright Exchange ("DCE"), and on 4th January he issued a Call for Evidence as part of that study.

Recommendations for a DCE were initially raised as part of the Hargreaves Review - a wide-ranging independent review of the UK's intellectual property framework and its contribution to economic growth, published in May 2011. 

The Hargreaves Review described the concept of a DCE as "a network of interoperable databases to provide a common platform for licensing transactions", which would reduce licensing transaction costs, increase price transparency in the licensing market, improve routes to market for creators, and make it easier to identify rights holders and obtain licences. The report suggested that a DCE could benefit the UK economy by up to £2billion.

In its response to the Review, the Government indicated support for the idea of a DCE or similar mechanism, and promised to consult on how best to facilitate its creation. The resulting feasibility study will be carried out in two parts: first, a diagnostic phase, in which the issues with copyright licensing in the digital age will be investigated through consultation with industry; and secondly, an options phase, in which industry-led solutions to the issues raised will be examined and put forward.

As part of the first phase, Richard Hooper has called for evidence from interested parties, seeking feedback on two main issues:

a.    whether they agree with the hypothesis advanced by the Hargreaves Review, that the current copyright licensing system is not fit for purpose in the digital age; and

b.    whether they agree with the definitions of key concepts (such as "copyright licensing", "the digital age" and the "three defined copyright markets") which the Call for Evidence has formulated.

The deadline for responses to the Call for Evidence is Friday 10 February, and the results of the study and recommendations will be reported to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills before Parliament breaks for the summer in 2012.

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