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Creative Industries Council sets out IP strategy

July 3, 2014

By Colin Mann

As part of its vision and strategy to grow the creative industries by 2020, the UK’s Creative Industries Council (CIC) has issued a detailed set of recommendations designed to ensure that the intellectual property framework continues to promote a strong and balanced copyright regime at home and abroad.

“A strong and stable intellectual property (IP) regime is the foundation of the UK’s globally -successful creative sector and works to the benefit of consumers and UK plc. investment in creative businesses requires a stable legal framework that allows rights to be protected and commercialised, which businesses can understand and use, and provides for a fair return on investment and sufficient incentives for creators. countries that provide such a stable framework attract higher levels of investment into their creative industries, both domestically and from overseas. industry can respond to a supportive policy environment with investment in new content, creating growth, jobs and exports for the UK. this will benefit the broader economy as well as the cultural experience of citizens,” says the Council.

“It is vital that the whole of government considers IP issues, including the impact of public procurement from the creative sector and the ability of SMEs to retain IP in contracts with public agencies. As called for in a recent CBI report on the creative industries, government must be proactive in its efforts to influence the global framework for IP. The government needs to work constructively in Europe and internationally for a policy framework that encourages the creation of new creative assets, bolsters the rights on which these industries depend and allows them to be effectively enforced. Moreover, in the absence of evidence and to ensure stability in the IP rights framework for UK creative businesses, government should not support the reopening of the EU Information Society Directive,” it recommends.

“Copyright is, internationally and domestically, a property right. Any proposals to change the basis of copyright that would erode the ability of rights holders to exploit their works could undermine incentives to invest and hence inhibit the growth of the UK creative economy. Furthermore, the uncertainty generated by such proposals – even if they are not ultimately carried through – can itself act as a disincentive to investment and destabilise the market. While the sector is open to change and understands the importance of innovation in creating new IP, for these reasons it is essential that any consideration of amendments to the IP framework is thorough, objective, evidence-based and transparent,” states the Council.

“The UK’s creative industries have adapted to the digital environment, offering consumers a great choice of innovative digital services across a wide variety of devices featuring huge catalogues of digital content, based on a variety of different business models including fabrication, purchase, rental, subscription, free-to-consumer advertising-funded models and more. The recent creation of the industry-led Copyright Hub is an example of a positive step for creators, users and the creative industries, which was taken without the need for legislative intervention.

The specific recommendations relate to the Intellectual Property rights framework at UK, European and international level.


Industry should:

  • Commit to funding and developing a toolkit that can be used by schools across the UK, both inside and alongside the new Computer Science curriculum, which will, for the first time require teachers to teach about internet safety. This will involve working with partners already active in this sphere such as the Industry Trust.

  • Seek to set up a targeted education campaign around the importance of IP and how the use of legal services by consumers is crucial in supporting long term investment in creative content.

Government and the Devolved Administrations, in partnership with the industry, should:

  • Contribute funding and resources to a major public awareness campaign in 2014-16 promoting the value of creative ideas and legal online digital content services.

  • Embed education on IP in appropriate modules within programmes of study around national curricula and exam syllabuses.

  • Support the sector as it develops the creative tool-kit for schools and assist with its promotion.

  • Make it easier for small creative businesses to navigate the complexities of the IP system and access support on the strength of potential cases they might wish to bring.


  • The generation of new content protected by IP is a major driver of growth for the UK’s creative industries. Industry and government must be alive to the threat of decreasing levels of how much IP is owned in the UK, balanced by a desire for the UK to be a globally open market that inward investors are attracted to. The IP subgroup supports the recommendations of the Access to Finance subgroup that government should review the grant support available in the UK and potential new fiscal incentives for the creation and commercialisation of IP assets in the UK.
  • The creation of new IP can come about through finding new ways of doing things, so it is important for the creative sector to connect with innovation and research organisations, such as through schemes run by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).


Industry should:

  • Ensure that there are wide opportunities for licensing of new services, including engaging with and funding work on the Copyright Hub, to improve legal access

  • to content, in particular for small use consumers and businesses.

Government should:

  • Commit to the long-term funding of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

  • Fund continued research into online infringement.

  • Step up work to encourage all internet intermediaries to play a constructive role in developing a successful UK digital economy, through agreed voluntary measures to minimise online copyright infringement.

  • Strongly commit to implement statutory measures to secure responsible conduct

  • by intermediaries should self-regulation/ voluntary arrangements fail.

  • Work to ensure that its commitment in its IP Crime Strategy to “enhance legitimate trade and disrupt illegal conduct” is maintained and strengthened.


Members of the IP subgroup expressed considerable concern over the UK government’s approach to copyright policy since the Gowers Review in 2006. However, the subgroup strongly welcomed the more supportive direction of policy suggested by the UK’s recent Response to the EU Copyright Consultation.

To ensure that copyright policy supports the creative industries, Government should:

  • Produce a clear remit for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) outlining the roles and responsibilities against which its success will be measured in supporting the growth of the creative economy.

  • Require the IPO to report annually how its activities have: contributed to the creation of new copyright works and the incentives for innovation; improved the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights; and increased awareness of the importance of IP.

  • Create a new Business Advisory Board for the IPO to provide a regular forum through which creative businesses and the IPO can discuss market developments and initiatives and provide a critical friend for new policy proposals. The Board would advise the IPO on any aspect of policy implementation and delivery across the range of its responsibilities.

  • Ensure that existing IPO advisory bodies enjoy substantial representation from creators, creative businesses or their representatives, as well as organisations promoting the interests of citizens and access to cultural products.


Before the Government introduces legislative proposals that substantively alter the Intellectual Property Framework, it should require the IPO to:

  • Ensure a thorough case is proven that there are actual practical problems that need to be resolved, supported by robust evidence of the scale of the problem.

  • Assess whether intervention is proportionate to the problem and provide clear evidence that changes would both improve the identified problem and not cause undue harm to rights holders.

  • Look for market methods of licensing and/or non-legislative solutions as the starting point for remedies.

  • Consider all incremental policy changes in the context of the cost and benefits to the creative sector and the need for innovation in the wider economy.

  • Adhere to the Government’s Guiding Principles for EU Legislation and the Transposition Guidance published by BIS55 which requires the new exceptions to copyright proposed by the Government to be reviewed after five years. This should include a review of the rationale for and individual and cumulative impact of existing copyright exceptions, as well as the case for any new exceptions (including exceptions which can be limited where a licensing scheme exists), to ensure the copyright framework remains balanced and necessary in light of market and technological developments. Such a review should also consider whether exceptions are being abused or applied in ways that were not intended.


Government should:

  • Build on the success of the Intellectual Property Attachés by appointing a new Intellectual Property Attaché to the EU in Brussels.

  • Continue to support the work of the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.

  • Consult with all stakeholders, including the new proposed Business Advisory Group and representatives of the arts sector, to allow for greater transparency and advisory input into the positions the UK Government adopts in international negotiations.

  • Insist that the Commission and any other relevant bodies formally adopt the same level of rigour and transparency with regards to the development of policy proposals as recommended should apply in the UK.

  • Review all proposals from the Commission and any other relevant bodies to assess whether overall they are in the UK’s economic interest and whether they are necessary in light of market developments.

  • Request and ensure that all EU trade negotiations include a requirement for countries to create and maintain strong Intellectual Property protection and that any enforcement assistance given to other nations is reciprocated.

  • Support the interests of the UK creative industries in discussions with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and any other relevant international bodies.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has confirmed that he and Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Equalities, will shortly be rolling out a new initiative that would strengthen IP protection in the creative industries.

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