Matt Hancock: Creativity Must Be Paid For

Matt Hancock has stressed the importance of “making sure that the creativity can be paid for” while announcing a series of initiatives to strengthen intellectual property rights and enable content creators to reap the value of what they produce. 

Launching the £150 million Cultural Industries Sector Deal, part of the Industrial Strategy, the Culture Secretary said that intellectual property rights “underpin a strong market economy” and announced a series of initiatives to help content creators realise the value of their work online.

Mr Hancock said yesterday: “It’s also, of course, about us having the right environment for creative firms to show that the UK is a place where they can flourish and where they will get value for what they produce.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I care deeply about this. Property rights underpin a strong and healthy market economy, and in the twenty-first century intellectual property rights underpin a strong market economy. And that is more important in the creative industries than anywhere else.

“Because it’s making sure that the creativity can be paid for is, of course, really critical to making sure that you can produce more of it. So in the Deal we set out measures to strengthen further intellectual property rights. As technology advances, the property that really matters is the ideas, the designs, the art and the concepts.

“And so the Deal includes £2 million towards ‘Get it Right’ campaign to tackle online piracy and educate consumers on the value of copyright. And also a crackdown on copyright infringement. Last year, we brokered a code between main search engines and the industry to reduce the prominence of illegal sites. I want to pay tribute to everybody from both sides who worked on that.

“Now we want to work with rights holders and platforms, towards a similar approach to online advertising, social media, and online marketplaces. And the measures in this Sector Deal will strengthen our world-leading creative industries, to make sure that we can thrive both here and around the world.”

 The News Media Association and member local and national news media publishers have been calling for the content creators to be fairly rewarded for their investment in journalistic content, rather than the value being siphoned off by the tech platforms.  

Announcing its support for the work, the Intellectual Property Office announced a series of initiatives:

  • support the Creative Content UK campaign, Get it Right from a Genuine Site, by providing joint funding of £2 million with DCMS;
  • organise roundtables with online intermediaries and rights holders. These will consider the practicalities of agreeing new Codes of Practice in social media, digital advertising and online market places;
  • continue our work to help address the value gap, both within the Digital Single Market copyright proposals and at domestic levels;
  • consider site blocking and ways that this could be introduced;
  • publish a programme of work to support the IP valuation market by autumn 2018. We will also work with industry to help identify solutions to address skills gaps around IP valuation.

In the Industrial Strategy White Paper, launched in November,  the Government stated its commitment to “closing the value gap” and helping rights holders such as news media publishers realise the full value from the use of their works online. 

“Government understands that rights holders are concerned about the value they realise from the use of their works online, especially where works are used without generating substantial returns for creators,” the document states.  

“We are committed to addressing the transfer of value from the creative industries through use of their works online and closing the value gap. At the EU level, government is participating fully in the DSM copyright negotiations and championing targeted measures that address fairness in the online value chain, seeking to increase revenue flows to creators.”