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As part of my Content Industries Specialist role with the Creative Industries KTN I have, over the last few months, been sitting on the Data Building Blocks sub group of the Copyright Hub. It’s a phenomenally clever bunch of people, with decades’ worth of experience in the area of rights/assets/data across several industries, including music, AV, broadcast and book publishing. As the group’s strategic input into the main project shapes up I’m sure I’ll be reporting on it, but in the meantime I simply want to draw your attention to the very first iteration of the Copyright Hub, which launched last Monday.

Funnily enough, only this weekend, the acerbic and generally spot-on US music and tech blogger Bob Lefsetz made this observation, in a lengthy post entitled Changes in Our Lifetime:

Music… Was something you listened to, now it’s something you use. You add it to YouTube clips, you integrate it with your projects, it’s all done very easily but copyright law has still not caught up with today’s uses, nor has the music industry.

Well, the Copyright Hub has come about in response to that very situation; specifically, its institution was recommended by the 2011 Hargreaves Review of Copyright, which asked for the implementation of an “industry-led solution to improve copyright licensing”. And again, it’s the “long tail” of the kind of mash ups and music re-use Lefsetz talks about above which the Hub is principally there to deal with. Remember: this is a very long and potentially very lucrative tail indeed. As we cited in our recently-published Ofcom report into UGC, at the height of the Harlem Shake meme, over 4000 different versions were being uploaded to YouTube daily.

Of course, the Copyright Hub is there to deal with all media, not simply music. And I should point out that the Hub team are very clear that this launch iteration (a handsome site built by Lime Digital) is highly experimental and early-stage at this point. Further iterations will respond to the ways in which the public takes to this version, amongst other research and thinking – a responsive approach of which we highly approve at TH, of course!

It’s going to be fascinating to watch the proposition develop.

Simon

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