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Reviewed 22 November 2011

Richard Hooper appointed to lead Digital Copyright Exchange feasibility study

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced the appointment of Richard Hooper to lead a feasibility study on developing a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) in the UK.

A DCE has the potential to boost economic growth in the creative sector by lowering the costs of licensing and giving businesses and consumers easier access to copyrighted material. The recommendation to create a DCE was put forward by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report; Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth. The review suggested that an exchange has the potential to grow the UK economy by over £2 billion.

Vince Cable said:

"A Digital Copyright Exchange would be a global first and could unlock significant growth potential in the creative sector benefiting consumers and businesses alike.

"This is an exciting project which could really open up the UK’s intellectual property systems. But the solutions are not straightforward and there are a number of issues that need to be worked through to establish its feasibility, so I am delighted to have someone of Richard Hooper’s stature to lead this important work."

An exchange could give rights holders the ability to determine the terms on which their works can be made available for others to use. It would also allow consumers to identify rights holders quickly to secure any potential licensing or investment deals.

Richard Hooper said:

"There are people all across the creative sector trying to develop ways of licensing works using new digital technologies. We need to bring that enthusiasm and talent together to create a universal system that benefits everyone. This work is about helping the industry to do more, to do it quicker and grow the economy.

"My work will be in two distinct phases. First I want to talk to people across and outside the sector to find out how they see the licensing challenges facing them. As part of that process, I'll be looking to meet the key players and to provide opportunities for all those interested to air their views. We will then be able to forge some common understanding so that I can look to produce appropriate industry-led solutions which respond to the spirit of Hargreaves' vision."

Note to editors

  • Richard Hooper (CBE) was Deputy Chairman of OFCOM between 2002 and 2005. Before the Election, he chaired the Selection Panel for the Secretary of State, Culture Media and Sport which chose the winning bids for the Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNCs) in Scotland, Wales and the north of England. He was also Chairman of the independent review of the Postal Services Sector. He stood down as Chairman of Informa plc in May 2007 after ten years on its Board. He is currently Senior Independent Director at YELL Group plc and at VocaLink Holdings Ltd. He was Chairman of the Radio Authority for 3 years until 2003. Previous directorships include MAI plc, United News & Media, Superscape plc. He is a lead mentor for Bird & Co Boardroom and Executive Mentoring, an adviser to Telecom New Zealand on the regulatory implications of ultrafast broadband, and is the Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group.
  • This is a short term limited appointment, which will report to Government before the 2012 summer Parliamentary Recess. It is a feasibility study of how Professor Hargreaves' recommendation can be moved towards operational reality. Richard Hooper will be looking for figures both within and outside the industry to work with him on the project.
  • Professor Hargreaves' Review recommended that ‘In order to boost UK firms' access to transparent, contestable and global digital markets, the UK should establish a cross sectoral Digital Copyright Exchange’. Professor Hargreaves does not clearly define how an exchange would look, other than saying it should be ‘a network of interoperable databases to provide a common platform for licensing transactions’. The Review set out that a range of incentives and disincentives will be needed to encourage rights holders and others to take part. Governance should reflect the interests of participants, working to an agreed code of practice. The Review recommended that Government should appoint a senior figure to oversee its design and implementation by the end of 2012.
  • The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, and the Government’s response is available from the Hargreaves review area of this website.
  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  • Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  • The IPO operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  • For further information, please contact Dan Palmer on 0207 215 5303 or e-mail communications.
Date of release: 22 November 2011