Copyright Hub press release
Digital Catapult-backed Copyright Hub announces use cases including Mary Evans Picture Library as it progresses to full launch.

The Copyright Hub, a project which aims to help copyright work the way the internet works, has today reached a major milestone in the development of its open source technology. The organisation and its technical partner the Digital Catapult have announced the completion of the alpha version of its platform. This will allow it to implement the first use cases built on that technology which enables simple licensing of pictures.

Working with a number of businesses including Mary Evans Picture Library and other BAPLA members, the Copyright Hub will create and test functionality to make a range of low cost, simple licences viable for both the owners and users of content. The ultimate goal is to minimise the cost of the licensing process and ensure their work can be found and licenced easily by prospective users.

The Copyright Hub is the first development project taken on by the Digital Catapult which aims to address the major challenges the creative sector faces. One of these is to unlock new value in the creative industries by making the reuse of creative content easier. Working seamlessly in the background, the Copyright Hub’s open-source technology removes the complexities of getting usage permission, automating the process to make it easier to connect content to rights holders.

We live in a world – and with an internet – dominated by content. We all create and upload our own content constantly with millions of users a day sharing and re-using other peoples work. Yet, while it is easy to find this content online, it is often much harder – and in some cases impossible – to find out who the creator is or how to contact the rights holder,” said Dominic Young, CEO of the Copyright Hub. “The Copyright Hub was born from a desire to change this, giving all creators the opportunity to effectively manage their content and share it in a way they are comfortable with.

Young continued: “Our vision began as a place where people could come for advice on copyright, but it has become something much more technical with the help of the partners around us. These partners include the Digital Catapult, Mary Evans Picture Library and the wider BAPLA membership plus others from across the creative industries who have contributed their time, expertise and money and helped us to our current total of forty active use cases. Their support has been invaluable to us.”

Digital data, from images to text and music, holds huge value for those using it. The same should be true for content developers,” said Neil Crockett, CEO, the Digital Catapult. “The internet has made information more accessible but we need to ensure creators see the benefits of this. They need an easy way to ensure they are compensated and able to reap the rewards of their hard work. Simplifying the licensing process is absolutely fundamental in addressing this challenge and as such, is a core focus for the Digital Catapult.”

The Copyright Hub is focusing on a number of use cases as it looks to launch further iterations of the product in H1 2015. The first of these, supported initially by half a million photographs from Mary Evans Picture Library, will be photography. The Copyright Hub also has use cases in music, publishing and news and audio-visual. Each of these will address either an existing function that creates efficiencies, or something entirely new which aims to improve the copyright sector.

We are delighted to be leading the way with the Copyright Hub in looking at ways to help people locate the rights holders of images that are found on the internet but have no identification data associated with them. New technology has made a huge difference to the image industries and the way users of images locate and find content is changing and creating new opportunities,” said Paul Brown, Managing Director, Mary Evans Picture Library. “Working with the Copyright Hub enables us to examine and develop new business models which could be the foundation of the way the industry does business in the not too distant future. This is a wonderful opportunity for us all.”

The Digital Catapult is working as a technical partner, providing access to a development team who work closely with the Copyright Hub to unlock the deeper issues around the automated sharing and reuse of metadata. Making the reuse of creative content easier is a core focus for the Digital Catapult as it aims to unlock the true value of data in the digital and creative industries and enable a new, world leading, generation of UK creative businesses.

Copyright Hub and the Digital Catapult announce next phase of development – leading content providers to provide more than half a million photographs for testing phase
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