A pilot scheme for an online portal to educate and inform the public about copyright officially launched on Monday.
The Copyright Hub is hoped to become a ’one-stop-shop’ website to make it easier to get information about rights ownership and licences.
Its launch follows the release of the 2011 Hargreaves Review, a report into the UK’s IP system that recommended implementing an “established industry-led solution to improve copyright licensing”.
In March this year the UK Intellectual Property Office announced £150,000 of funding to kick-start the Hub.
Designed and built by those in the music, publishing and audio industries, the Hub will act as a source of information about rights ownership and is now seeking feedback on Monday’s launch.
Its development will be overseen by the Copyright Hub Launch Group, chaired by Richard Hooper, a former deputy chairman of Ofcom, the independent regulator for the communications industry.
Reacting to the launch, James Seadon, senior associate at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, said given that the aims of the Hargreaves Review were to modernise IP and copyright, the launch would be welcomed by rights holders.
“Given the challenges posed by the digital world I think educating people in this way has to be a very important part of that,” he said.
“The Hub is a central source of information on copyright, which should help people to understand their rights. People find IP a bit of a minefield and can get confused between copyright and other rights. The Hub is written in plain English and is easy to digest, so in terms of demystifying copyright I think it does its job well.”
Describing the launch as a “positive step forward”, Michael Hart, partner at Baker & Mckenzie LLP, said: “The issue is lots of people want to make use of copyright works but don’t know where to find them.
“The Hub is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, and I think they need something that explains the various issues and points them in the right direction,” he added.
The launch of the pilot scheme is the first phase of the project. If successful, the Hub could also incorporate a tool that searches multimedia works, and ultimately function as a rights registry and licensing marketplace.
Seadon added: “One challenge will be to ensure the quality of data which underpins this. In general, though, rights holders will welcome today's news.”
Hart added that a move to cover multiple jurisdictions could be needed in the future.
He said: “It’s a good step but it is just a step. Ultimately I think you need a global hub as most people, when looking into copyright and obtaining a licence, are not focused on just one country.
“It’s a positive move in the right direction but we will have to see where it ends up in practice.”
The second phase of the project is planned for October. To view the Copyright Hub go to http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk/home
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