The British Copyright Council’s analysis of the copyright landscape and its recommendations for government and industry action. 

The creative industries are major contributors to the UK’s economy, societal fabric and its reputation as a cultural hub. They contributed £115.9bn to the UK economy in 2019. This is more than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences, and oil and gas industries combined. Prior to the Pandemic, employment in the creative industries was growing by an average of 11% per annum. This is twice as fast as other industry sectors. If this pace is regained post-Covid, jobs in the creative industries will increase from 2.1 million to over 3 million by 2030. This is equivalent to 1,000 new jobs every week.

Yet the rights of creators and those who produce and publish their works are not given sufficient priority by policymakers. Particularly relating to digital markets and ongoing Free Trade Agreements. Without government action there is a real risk that the economic and societal benefits derived from the creative sector will be eroded. The Pandemic has proven that copyright in the UK can ensure access for users, whilst protecting the industry’s ability to contribute to the economy and support the livelihoods of creators. We saw this in the education sector as it moved to online learning and with small businesses that had to remain shut throughout lockdown.

We’re publishing our policy priorities now for three reasons:

  1. The Coronavirus Pandemic has accelerated the creation and consumption of online content.
  2. We’re in the midst of multiple trade agreements, and negotiations surrounding the Intellectual Property Chapters will be crucial to our creative industries. Intellectual Property is in the top five UK service exports, valued at £17.5bn in 2020.
  3. Advances in technologies such as digital marketplaces and AI are being looked at in detail by the government.

The Government has a number of open consultations, calls for views and ongoing legislative updates to deal with these copyright-related issues. If the impact of these factors is not taken into account quickly or seriously enough there is a risk that the copyright framework will have to play catch-up to external events, rather than being on the front-foot as you would expect from a world-leading regime. Together, these factors mean that the policy decisions taken in the coming weeks and months will have a long-lasting impact on the UK’s economy and soft power through its reputation as a hub of culture and innovation.

2021.07 BCC Policy Priorities