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Research centre to investigate digital-age copyright

January 31, 2013

By Colin Mann

A new centre dedicated to examining the changing nature of copyright and the need for new business models in the digital age is being launched on January 31st at the University of Glasgow.

The Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe) brings together internationally renowned researchers from seven UK universities who will work to address the challenges an increasingly digital world presents to government, business and content creators.

Over the next four years, 40 CREATe projects focused on the intersections between culture, the economy and technology will offer policymakers invaluable analyses for developing new regulatory frameworks. The research will also play into debate about the growth of new and emerging services. CREATe’s projects are led by experts in law, business, economics, technology, psychology and cultural analysis and are funded by a £5 million (€5.82m) investment from UK research councils. Over the funding period, the University of Glasgow is committing a further £1.7m to research posts and PhDs in the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences to establish CREATe as an international centre of research excellence.

CREATe Director Professor Martin Kretschmer said: “The vast expansion of access to digital technology in recent years has created tremendous opportunities for the UK creative sector, which generates around £60 billion each year, or six per cent of the UK economy. As the sector increasingly moves towards digital content, copyright issues are becoming more important than ever.

“Studies have shown that between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of young people illegally download music, movies or TV shows, but often those who download most are also the best customers. Producers are being forced to rethink their ways of doing business. As a professor at the University of Glasgow’s School of Law, I’m very proud that CREATe will be based here and that our funders have made such a significant investment in a project of real importance.”

At the launch event, to be held at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum, attendees will hear presentations from speakers from the UK and Scottish Governments, the creative industries, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), one of CREATe’s primary funders.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, said: “The Creative Economy is of the greatest importance to the economic health and the cultural life of our country. We are in the midst of the profound transformations brought about by the digital revolution. Understanding these changes, and the challenges and opportunities they present, is crucial to our future in law, regulation, business, the cultural sphere and other areas. This is why the foundation of CREATe is so important, and why it is equally important that it brings together the different research councils and other agencies to support its work. We have high hopes of its great success.”

Jo Swinson MP, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, said: “To maintain the success of the UK’s world class creative industries, policy makers need to understand the issues the sector faces. CREATe will bring together academia, government and industry to build a robust evidence base. This will shape policy and ultimately help our creative industries compete in the global market.”

Michael Russell MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Research of this kind is vital to the Scottish economy and helps to ensure our educational excellence in research continues. I am delighted that this innovative new research centre will be based in Glasgow University and I am sure it will offer many benefits to both the university and business communities in Scotland. It further reinforces our reputation as a world leader in education that continues to look at new and diverse ways to grow and improve.”

The official launch will be followed by an intensive one-day working conference on Friday 1 February at the Lighthouse in Glasgow for academics and representatives of the creative industries. The conference will present case studies of transition from analogue to digital (such as music and publishing) contrasting these with ‘born digital’ sectors (such as games or social media).

CREATe is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Led by the University of Glasgow, CREATe comprises the University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews, University of Nottingham’s digital economy hub (Horizon), the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Goldsmiths, University of London. Nesta, the Intellectual Property Office and the Technology Strategy Board, played an advisory role in the setting up of CREATe. This consortium is connected to some 80 creative industry partners, comprising individual creators, SMEs and major technology and content firms, the initial base for its further outreach in the creative economy.

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