With the way in which TV, movies and music are produced, distributed and consumed changed forever, questions of copyright have never been more relevant.
Copyrightuser.org is a new website that seeks to answer some of these thorny questions.  The new website will direct those in the music, film, literature, visual arts and technology industries through the complications of copyright law. The portal was officially launched today [12 March] in London at the King’s Place conference centre during the AHRC Creative Economy Showcase, a day long event targeting policy-makers, business leaders in the creative industries, knowledge exchange practitioners, and, research directors.
“We heard from small businesses as well as media professionals working for large broadcasters and production companies.  They told us that creative people are now expected to understand copyright issues right from the inception of a project. With the advent of developments like cross-platform production, they can no longer pass issues over to a legal department,” said Kris Erickson, a founding editor of Copyrightuser.org.
Written and developed by academics from the Universities of Glasgow, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Reading, Exeter and Strathclyde, copyrightuser.org is full of information, videos and advice to those within the creative industries that contribute more than £70 billion a year to the UK economy.
The easy navigation allows the public to find out more about the conundrums of copyright – such as whether you need to register a work [you don’t’], the type of content that can be protected by copyright [expressions but not ideas] and the need to ask permission to use another’s work [almost always].
“Much of copyright is up to different interpretations with technology leading the debate and the law catching up on a case by case basis.  Copyrightuser.org provides independent advice to help creators understand their rights,” said Bartolomeo Meletti, lead producer of the Portal.
The website also features videos from creators of content in 6 different categories; musician, filmmaker, performer, writer, visual artist and developer.  These interviews highlight some of the issues facing creators of content and some of the differences in interpretation that currently exist.
One of the creators featured is Miroslav Lucan an artist, designer and photographer who says, “Copyright is a good thing.  It protects my work.  It puts some limits on me when I’m creating new work as I’m trying to be original by not copying anyone else. And that is a good thing as I’m trying to be more and more original.”
Nightclub DJs Dan and Hutch pointed out tensions between copyright and the needs of their industry. “I think it would be hypocritical of us not to be happy with someone re-using something we’ve done originally, because that’s exactly what we do now.”  
There is also a top 20 FAQs section about copyright that’s been selected from over 200 online users questions.  These include “When I sell my work, do I still own the copyright?”, “What should I do if I receive a copyright infringement notice?” and “Can I take an image from Google search?” 
Copyrightuser.org is funded by the University of Glasgow, Bournemouth University and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and produced by the Centre for Intellectual Property and Policy Management (CIPPM) and the CREATe Centre, University of Glasgow.
CREATe (www.create.ac.uk) is the RCUK centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy.  With an ambitious programme of 40 projects delivered by an interdisciplinary team of academics (law, economics, management, computer science, sociology, psychology, ethnography and critical studies), CREATe is a pioneering academic initiative designed to help the UK cultural and creative industries thrive and become innovation leaders within the global digital economy.
The ‘Copyright User Portal’ can be reached at http://copyrightuser.org/
For information on the AHRC Creative Economy Showcase, visit http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/Events/Pages/The-AHRC-Creative-Eco...