A research centre at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, is to investigate the changing nature of copyright and the need for new business models in the digital age, it was announced on Thursday.
The Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise, and Technology (CREATe) will seek to address the challenges that are presented to businesses and government by an increasingly digital world, while helping policy makers develop new regulatory frameworks around copyright.
"TheUK creative sector is the largest in the world and worth £60 billion a year, or about 6 percent of GDP," CREATe director, Professor Martin Kretschmer told ZDNet. "If you've got issues such as whether copyright exceptions facilitate new services or kill existing businesses, the right answer matters greatly."
Studies have shown that between 60 percent and 70 percent of young people download music, movies, and TV shows illegally, according to Kretschmer. However, some of these illegal downloaders also spend considerable sums of money on creative content, so business models need to be rethought, he claimed.
Over the next four years, academics will work on 40 projects that will focus on the intersections between culture, the economy, and technology.
"Expertise is needed that is technology savvy, understands law, and is able to employ social science approaches, because the combination of the three enables the type of studies that are needed here," said Kretschmer. "Whether it's relating to consumer behaviour and how it's affected by regulatory changes, or whether it is about business models and whether [being] first to the market is more important than exclusivity... It's impossible to understand those questions in one disciplinary context."
"If you've got issues such as whether copyright exceptions facilitate new services or kill existing businesses, the right answer matters greatly."
--Prof Martin Kretschmer
The centre at the University of Glasgow will work with researchers from six UK universities, including St Andrews, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Nottingham, East Anglia, and Goldsmiths, University of London.
The projects are to be funded by a £5 million investment from UK research councils, which include the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Economic and Social Research Council.
Meanwhile, the University of Glasgow will contribute £1.7 million over the funding period to pay for 24 post doctoral researchers and 16 PhDs.
The UK government has been trying in recent years to acknowledge the changes that the digital era has brought about. Last December, it announced that copying music, video, and film was going to be made legal in 2013, finally permitting people to rip CDs without breaking the law. The move is part of the government's wider plans to overhaul the copyright system, following recommendations made in the Ian Hargreaves Intellectual Property (IP) review in 2011.