Richard HooperToday, July 8, in partnership with a dozen leading media and copyright organizations, including Copyright Clearance Center, the UK Copyright Hub launches its first phase of an ambitious effort to leverage technology to make copyright work.

“What we really looked at was copyright licensing in its broadest sense,” explains British media veteran Richard Hooper, who chairs the Copyright Hub launch group. “I’m very careful to point out today of all days, on the launch of the hub, that it is industry-led.  This is not led by the government, but by industry with some pump-priming from the government.  Right now, I see it as very much an industry-wide collaboration.”

In November 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced an independent review of the UK’s intellectual property framework, examining how IP and copyright laws and regulation support economic growth and technological innovation.  The following spring, Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University, reported back to government with 10 recommendations, including a groundbreaking vision for a digital copyright exchange.

The British government has since taken the Hargreaves report to heart, and around the world, executives, legislators, authors and artists are all watching closely. As Hooper explained for CCC’s Chris Kenneally, the Copyright Hub has three principle objectives.

“The copyright world is incredibly complex. That’s the first role of the hub – to find your way through the maze, and try and reduce the complexity of some of these issues,” Hooper says. “The second significant theme [is] finding out who owns what rights to what, who owns the copyright to such and such a work. And then of course, thirdly, building up from those two, making licensing easier by automating it.”

Richard Hooper has devoted his career to the converging worlds of media, communication, and technology.  He began his career as a radio and TV producer in the BBC and was a founder of the Open University.  At BT (British Telecom), he ran the world’s first commercial videotext service Prestel, the precursor to the Internet.  From 2002 to 2005, he was deputy chairman of Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries in the UK, and from 2005 to 2007, Richard Hooper was chairman of Informa, a world leader in business-to-business information.

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