Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS)

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1. Established by artists for artists, DACS (the Design and Artists Copyright Society) is an innovative rights management organisation for visual artists, representing over 80,000 creative individuals including fine artists, photographers and illustrators from the UK and abroad. Based in the UK, and part of a global network of visual arts collecting societies, DACS is committed to maximising revenues for visual artists, thereby contributing to the UK economically, socially and culturally. In 2011 DACS paid royalties of £8.2 million to visual artists.

2. DACS is constituted as a company limited by guarantee under UK law, and is currently governed by a board of non-executive directors comprising representatives from a range of artistic disciplines alongside others drawn from business and the legal profession.

3. DACS provides three rights management services for artists and their beneficiaries:

· Collective rights management (Payback)

· Copyright licensing

· Artist’s Resale Right

4. As a member of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, DACS endorses the comments made in the Alliance’s submission to this inquiry.

5. Barriers to growth in the Creative Industries

5.1. Artists’ incomes often come from a variety of sources [1] , many of which are being threatened by the current economic recession and public funding cuts . Undermining the UK’s copyright framework will create a further barrier to growth in the creative industries. Creative individuals are the engine of the UK’s creative industries and copyright provides a powerful incentive for these creators to carry on producing works.

5.2. Licensing and royalty payments benefit the very people whose content drives their invaluable contribution to the UK economy, and the UK’s reputation as a creative, dynamic and innovative nation.

5.3. Over the past five years, as a not-for-profit organisation, DACS has distributed £34.5 million in royalties to visual artists for copyright licensing, Artist’s Resale Right and collective licensing. This represents a direct financial investment into creativity and innovation. DACS’ total distributions to artists represent almost twice as much as the investment made by Arts Council England to individuals for visual arts related activities over a similar period.

6. Impact of the Hargreaves Review and the Government’s response to it

6.1. DACS welcomes some of the outcomes of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property. We are pleased that the Government is seeking to find solutions for dealing with orphan works, and enabling extended collective licensing. We have also welcomed the introduction of the small claims track at the Patents County Court and the recent publication of the Government’s minimum standards for UK collecting societies.

6.2. DACS agrees that policy and legislation should create the right conditions for economic growth in the UK. But we do not agree that the proposals to extend or introduce copyright exceptions presented in the Consultation are necessarily the means to achieve this objective. Reducing the scope of protection by enabl ing greater access and free use of copyright protected material does not, in our opinion , support growth in the way the Hargreaves Review claims it will . The Review lacked compelling economic evidence that the extension of copyright exceptions , and the introduction of new exceptions , would actually generate growth as opposed to merely saving costs and by doing so , reduce the incentives for creative efforts.

6.3. The Review of Intellectual Property, and the Government’s response to the Review, supported a call for stronger evidence in policy making. It was disappointing therefore to find many of the Review’s recommendations supported by anecdotal evidence at best. For example, the arguments for a parody exception were not backed up by any evidence to support the assertion that: "Video parody is today becoming part and parcel of the interactions of private citizens, often via social networking sites, and encourages literacy in multimedia expression in ways that are increasingly essential to the skills base of the economy. Comedy is big business." [2]

6.4. The case has been made on various occasions that the much sought freedom of using copyright protected works for the purposes of parody is well catered for under the current copyright legislation.

6.5. DACS also feels that in focussing on the larger sectors of the industry, the Hargreaves team over-looked issues specific the visual arts sector. This is reflected in the ‘one size fits all approach’ taken in the Review’s recommendations to extend copyright exceptions, without due consideration of how the impact of widening such exceptions differs between sectors. For example, exceptions for private copying and parody will impact visual art in a very different way to music and films. Furthermore, the consultation process failed to engage adequately with the issues facing creative individuals who constitute the majority of visual arts rightsholders.

7. Impact of the proposals to change copyright law without recourse to primary legislation (under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently before Parliament

7.1. DACS supports the Alliance’s view on this point and is pleased that the Government has chosen to redraft Clause 57 to clarify that this change cannot be used to introduce new exceptions through the backdoor or to widen existing ones in this way.

8. Ways to establish a strong skills base to support the creative economy, including the role of further and higher education in this.

8.1. The significant increase in fees for tertiary education will have a long term impact on the skills base which underpins the UK’s creative industries. There is already anecdotal evidence that arts courses are being impacted by changes to higher education in the reduction of the number of students enrolled. This can only be to the detriment of the UK’s creative industries in the long term.

8.2. DACS also believes it to be essential to equip students of disciplines in the creative industries with appropriate professional knowledge. A well-rounded education will enable them to make the best use of their creative endeavours in their work life. It is therefore important to make copyright education and/or other intellectual property courses, as appropriate, mandatory when studying creative disciplines.  

November 2012


[1] “ Careers typically are sustained by a portfolio of other activities. Close to half of visual creators (44%) earn all their income from visual creation. 35% had a formal second job.” Source: Martin Kretschmer, Lionel Bently et al, Copyright contracts and earnings of visual creators: A survey of 5,800 British designers, fine artists, illustrators and photographers , Bournemouth: CIPPM, 2011

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[2] Page 50, Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (2011) by Professor Ian Hargreaves

Prepared 17th November 2012