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Copyright still BREXIT hot topic

Copyright law per se is not harmonised but the rules governing the way in which copyright protected works can be exploited in certain contexts are governed by EU law and EU laws have already been implemented into UK legislation. Future EU law will not be incorporated into UK. There is still no plan for the UK to implement the EU Copyright Directive.

Stationers' News 


Stationers' Company offers bursaries to selected students, many of which include copyright-related topics  More....


The Shape of Music copyright - music publishing, musicians' rights and the wider commercial world

Monday, 7 November 2022




Latest copyright news:

Master's interview with WIPO Liveryman More...

Orphan works database

Survey results show that users are largely satisfied with the overall experience of using the Orphan Works Database. Technical and legal challenges exist mainly in the area of diligent search requirements which are perceived as too complex and as rendering the system unsuitable for mass digitisation

Hope for Database Right 

The hard work over many years to give protection to database owners against extraction and reutilisation of their work is always under threat - however following BREXIT the right looks secure....for now

Coping with Covid 19

So how are publishers coping with Covid 19 and are they missing out on revenue opportunities? The Publishers Licensing Society organised a one day virtual conference to find out. The full recording can be accessed here. 

A Covid risk assessment is available from NLA Media Access here

Licensing comes of age

Forty years or so after publishers got together to set up collecting agencies to counter the dichotomy of the threat to their property and their wish to monetise it, has the art come of age?

Filesharing collision

How filesharing highlights the collision of free speech and copyright is explained in

“The First Amendment and what it means for free speech online”published by Sam Cook on 10 February 2017. Free speech is coming face to face with other legal issues, such as copyright laws written into the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and filesharing. 

Putting a value on copyright

Seeking balance between  the protection of copyright for and access to creative works requires a value to be put on copyright to the UK economy.  Does £3bn sound a lot....or a far too modest an assessment? See full text of three year Academic Research project on the value of copyright to the UK economy sponsored through the Stationers' Company

The Big Issue
How far reaching will be Google decision to pay?

- or Facebook' refusal? As the internet giants have sapped their content - advertising and news - the news organisations that have unwillingly fed them have shrivelled to mere shadows of their former glory. Are new copyright laws the game changer - and the 300 year old concept of copyright, to which the Stationers' Company can lay claim, converting the behemoths to curators of what they have helped to destroy? 

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Who We Are

This website, developed by The Stationers' Company in 2010 to mark the 300th anniversary year of the Statute of Anne, is a professional resource for those seeking information on the importance and value of Copyright to the UK‘s Creative Industries. The two most significant collections are those brought together for the publication "Copyright in the Digital Age" and the complete PhD thesis "Copyright for Publishers in the Digital Age" by now Prof. Aislinn O'Connell. The site contains articles and submissions by leading industry practitioners, lawyers and academics with practical experience of the importance of Copyright in the UK and the challenges to be faced with the development of the digital usage of copyright material. It will be of use to all who work in or have interest in the protection of intellectual property whether they be working in the sector, legislators academic and professional commentators or students.


An education resource marking 300 years since the birth of Copyright and

Stationers' Company's role in its creation

The Stationers' Company and Copyright

The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, one of 110 Livery Companies in the City of London, evolved from previously itinerant manuscript writers and illuminators who had taken up stationary positions around the walls of St. Paul's Cathedral and earned the nickname Stationers. It is a matter of pride for the Company that over 600 years later more than 90 per cent of its 1000+ members are from the industries which evolved from those original writers and illuminators which include paper, print, publishing of books, newspapers, magazines and online media, packaging, office products and broadcasting.

One of the Company's other claims to fame (other than giving birth to the term Stationery that is) has to be its role in the creation of the concept of Copyright. As succinctly described by the Stationers' sponsored PhD, the now Dr Aislinn O'Connor, whose thesis forms a major part of this site:  “The control of the Stationers’ Company over printing in the UK was confirmed by the Licensing of the Press Act 1662....legislative and monopoly rights (that) were forerunners of copyright.  The (Stationers') Company used the support of authors to present two bills to Parliament aiming to introduce copyright, in 1707 and 1709. They both failed, but it was less than a year before the House of Commons formed a drafting committee for a bill on copyright. This would eventually become the Statute of Anne (in 1710).”

This website, together with the book Copyright in the Digital Age which forms a second major section, were created to mark the 300th anniversary of this fundamental development in the subsequent evolution of Creative Industries in the UK and around the world.  The site contains articles and submissions by leading industry practitioners, lawyers and academics with practical experience of the importance of Copyright and the challenges to be faced with the development of the digital usage of copyright material. It exists as a resource for all who study or whose work involves in any way protection of intellectual property whether from a legal, legislative, academic and professional perspective or as students.

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Industry issues and impacts

A collection of individual initial contributions forming a unique study of seemingly timeless industry issues and impacts on copyright in the digital age. The 24 contributors include the late Dame Helen Alexander, Lisbet Rausing, James Murdoch, the late Professor Iain Stevenson, John Hawkins  Laurence Kaye, Dr. Sarah Thomas and Michael Heaney. The book is published by


price £24.95.
To purchase your copy click here

Published: November 2010

Edited by: Trevor FenwickIan Locks

ISBN13: 9780854900800

Hargreaves Report and Copyright Hub

The Copyright in the Digital Age event at Stationers  Hall marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of Copyright saw the launch the publication of Copyright in the Digital Age and held within days of the then Coalition Government announcing an independent review of Copyright by Professor Ian Hargreaves. This led to the creation of the Copyright Hub amongst other key changes whose impact is still being felt.

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Copyright for Publishers in the Digital Age 

A 260-page PhD thesis produced over a period of five years at UCL by now Dr. Aislinn O'Connor which examines the genesis of copyright, from its pre-existence days overseen by the Stationers' Company, through main developments to become a world-wide concept to the current struggles as the digital age unfolds with an expectation of free use of "the work of others".

......and so the life of Copyright goes on

This site tracks key developments in the world of copyright - or copyright in the world depending on your viewpoint - including the future of UK Copyright post-BREXIT and how the Copyright Directive, developed to address changes driven by the swiftly changing digital world is becoming the front line of BREXIT divergence....machinations over the Database Directive...and Stationers' Company's ongoing involvement through sponsorship of bursaries to help ensure the next generation of copyright specialists.

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Academic research on this site shows

Copyright's Value to the UK economy continues to increase

  •  The UK’s core copyright industries’ contribution to GDP and employment is the sixth- largest in Europe

  • English as a native language provides advantages as a lingua franca, making export easier

  • The UK’s book and journal publishing industries were worth £4.3 billion in 2013146

  • The creative industries were worth £71.4 billion in 2012,147 increasing to £76.9 billion in 2013 148

  • Newspaper and publishing industries consistently make up 12-13% of creative industries, remaining relatively stable despite upheaval of business models 149

  •  On a more global scale, when compared to other WIPO reports, the UK stands in the upper echelons in terms of both employment and GVAWeaknesses

  • The UK is geographically isolated from the rest of Europe, leading to greater import and export costs

  • The UK is relatively small, both in terms of geographic size and population size

  • The UK’s legacy newspaper publishers have been slow to adapt to new, digital publishing methods, meaning they have not been as profitable as they could have been 

  • Similarly, large publishers can take longer to respond to digital innovations, as they have to simultaneously support their legacy business models151

  • Certain aspects of copyright law can be seen as blocks to new entrants in the creative industries, lessening potential for growth in the UK.

The opportunities

for the industry and UK economy remain 


  • The UK can capitalise on its strengths in providing creative content to continue to be a global content provider

  • Protection of copyright industries and legacy businesses in this time of change will allow legacy publishers to adapt and thrive

  • Allowing the entry of new, smaller, digital-only companies will make the most of the digital shift

  • Movements towards self-publishing and smaller, niche publishing houses allows greater flexibility for authors and content creators

  • A balance between protecting established businesses and encouraging growth will allow the UK’s copyright industries to embrace the digital shift and continue to grow and contribute greatly to the UK economy146 PA Statistics Yearbook (n 95).

The Threats

to the industry and UK economy are ever-present

  • The adaptation to digital may be too difficult for certain businesses and segments of the industry – bookshops in particular struggled globally to adapt, with many large chains closing their doors, including Chapitre in France and Borders in the United States

  • Smaller new digital-only companies could be more nimble and quicker to adapt than legacy companies, leading to the demise of more established companies

  • Over-regulation could lead to the strangling of content industries

  • Lack of protection for legacy publishers could lead to a decline in quality of creative content

  • Failure to find a balance between encouraging growth and protecting established content could lead to a decline in the quality, quantity, and profitability of UK creative content and copyright industriesThe conclusions that can be taken from the assorted research presented in this chapter are clear – the creative industries, and especially the publishing industries, were in flux, and adapting to the shift to digital. They consistently made a substantial contribution to the UK economy, and thus should be supported at all levels, from creators to distributors. The implementation of changes or exceptions to copyright law should be carefully considered and supported by strong, reproducible, verifiable research indicating its likely outcomes before implementation. This research needs to be strong enough to comply with the IPO’s standards of evidence for policy- making.153 Even with supporting research, changes to copyright law must be implemented with caution – as the private copying exception showed, 154 supporting evidence may not be enough to prevent the quashing of a new exception to copyright law.In 2010-2015, the publishing industries remained profitable, and were producing steady results over a period of years, indicating their stability even in the uncertainty of the digital shift. Thus, the implementation of changes to copyright law without giving the market a chance to adapt to the changes it is experiencing would be premature. The impact of implementing an exception relatively quickly will be investigated in the next chapter, a case study of two of the exceptions recommended in the Hargreaves Review,155 which were brought into UK law in 2014.153 IPO, ‘Guide to Evidence for Policy’ (2013) 

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