New UK Copyright Research Center Immediately Under Attack For Daring To Ask About Evidence

from the what's-the-problem? dept

As Techdirt reported last year, some copyright maximalists in the UK seem to be against the whole idea of basing policy on evidence. Last week saw the launch of CREATe: Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology, a new UK "research centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy." One of the things it hopes to do is to bring some objectivity to the notoriously contentious field of copyright studies by looking at what the evidence really says; so it was perhaps inevitable that it too would meet some resistance from the extremist wing of the copyright world. What's surprising is that it seems to have happened during the launch itself, as Paul Bernal, an academic who was there, reports:

A key idea is that some of the CREATe projects will be gathering evidence -- and attempting to determine what's really true about what's going on. Indeed, the first publication from CREATe is a piece about what will actually constitute evidence from the many, varied perspectives of the different groups involved -- you can find it here. CREATe represents an invaluable opportunity for this gathering of evidence -- to have the money, the expertise and the time for the kind of research that can really look into this is something very, very special. And yet even before the launch event had finished, not even a day into the four year project it appeared that the lobbyists were already trying to suggest that the project was likely to be unfair and biased. The question that immediately springs to mind is what are they afraid of? Don't they want real evidence? Are they worried that the evidence will suggest that their current models both of business and of enforcement are flawed and ineffective? Are they afraid that CREATe will help put together new business models -- and that the new environment will have no place for the 'old' content industries?
In the spirit of academic enquiry, answering these questions is left as an exercise for the reader....

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Filed Under: copyright, evidence, uk
Companies: create


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  1. identicon
    Sean, 6 Feb 2013 @ 3:11am

    If you look closely, although Dr Bernal's blog posting discusses how important it is to gather evidence on copyright, there is little evidence in his posting - just summation and commentary.

    Regarding the presence of lobbyists, he says quite vague things like '...it appeared that the lobbyists were already trying to suggest that the project was likely to be unfair and biased'.

    However, at no point does he name the companies the lobbyists work for, how many lobbyists asked questions etc. I found it very hard to get a feel for what actually happened without this sort of evidence.

    Maybe the hostile questions or opinions were simply people at the event taking a Devil's Advocate position. I do that sort of thing all the time myself. What words came out of what mouths that said or implied 'We don't want you to gather evidence'? He never says.

    Evidence, evidence, evidence!

    This means that Glyn Moody's statements above such as '..it was perhaps inevitable that it [CREATe] too would meet some resistance from the extremist wing of the copyright world' are based on little real evidence.

    It is also unwarranted, based on the evidence, to headline this Techdirt item as 'New UK Copyright Research Center Immediately Under Attack For Daring To Ask About Evidence'. There is no evidence of any 'attack'.

    I'm not saying that Dr Bernal hasn't got this evidence, but he hasn't presented it in his blog posting and therefore I think it unwise to base judgements on his posting as it stands.

    Don't take my word for it - go and look at his posting for yourselves. No organization names, no numbers, no quotes.

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