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The Copyright Hub manifesto

Below is a brief, and occasionally updated, description of what the Copyright Hub is all about. Written by Richard Hooper and Dominic Young, this version is dated July 2014.

What is the aim of the Copyright Hub?

The Copyright Hub aims to make the licensing of content easier. We want to increase the relevance of copyright to everyone who creates and everyone who makes use of content. Copyright says that creators own their work and can decide what happens to it. It says that you need permission to use someone else’s work. The Copyright Hub helps make both things work the way the internet works.

What is the Copyright Hub?

  • The Copyright Hub has a simple Big Idea at its heart.  A person (or a computer) should be able to find – with a single click or a single query – where they can get permission to use an item of content in the ways that they want. An automated response that says “Yes”, “No” or “Yes, if the following conditions are met” should be possible, especially for low value, high volume rights requests.
  • The Copyright Hub is a website (copyrighthub.co.uk) which has two functions: the provision of copyright information/education to a wide audience; and access for users to simpler licensing, with much lower transaction costs, via websites connected to the Copyright Hub. 
  • The Copyright Hub is also a forum where members of the creative industries and others meet across sector and national boundaries to streamline licensing processes and organisations. The internet is intrinsically multimedia/cross-media and borderless.

What are the underlying principles of the Copyright Hub?

The Copyright Hub is outward-looking across national boundaries, industry-led, voluntary, opt-in, non-exclusive, pro-competitive. The Copyright Hub technology will be open sourced and available to all. It is independent of any ideology about how it should be used, whether for commercial, educational, non-commercial or other goals. The Copyright Hub builds on the foundations laid by the Linked Content Coalition and uses existing data standards, identifiers and communication protocols - with no wish to reinvent them. The Copyright Hub aims to encourage wide adoption of its approach by building small scale pilots and offering technology and help to those wishing to implement them. The Copyright Hub does not seek to participate in transactions which it helps facilitate.  The Copyright Hub aims to make its work capable of “universal implementation” which means keeping financial and governance barriers to an absolute minimum.

How is the Copyright Hub governed?

The Copyright Hub is governed by a small executive board, whose members are directors of Copyright Hub Ltd, a not for profit company limited by guarantee, based in London, with a larger Partners Board comprising leading members of the creative industries, and various working groups.

How is the Copyright Hub funded?

Copyright Hub Ltd is funded by the creative industries, with its technical development designed and developed by the Digital Catapult, which is funded in part by the UK Government via the Technology Strategy Board.

What is the political dimension of the Copyright Hub?

Simpler licensing of content will increase the range and quality of content services in both the analogue and digital worlds.  It is hoped that this will help to reduce the propensity of users to infringe copyright. In addition, by demonstrating and further developing licensing solutions which can be delivered within the existing copyright framework, this will avoid unnecessary changes to copyright law.