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Manifesto For Music: Safeguard Copyright and Intellectual Property

26.04.2024: On World Intellectual Property Day, UK Music's Policy and Campaigns Officer Dougie Brown takes a look at what the Government can do to protect music intellectual property. 

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26.04.2024: On World Intellectual Property Day, UK Music’s Policy and Campaigns Officer Dougie Brown takes a look at what the Government can do to protect music intellectual property. 

The success of the UK’s music industry is built on a strong copyright framework. Intellectual property (IP) rights ensure musicians, songwriters and rightsholders are paid for the use of their work.

A clear and robust framework creates legal certainty, allowing creators to monetise their work and giving music businesses the confidence needed to invest in emerging talent.

Policymakers must ensure that the UK has the most fit for purpose copyright framework in the world, capable of protecting rights and fostering innovation and growth. Doing so will cement our status as a cultural hub and the global destination to perform, record and do business.

The next government should:

  • Uphold and support our successful copyright and enforcement framework. A weak IP regime in another country translates directly into lower export revenues. The UK should work to ensure other countries are upholding similarly high standards for copyright as part of free trade agreement negotiations. We should also consider aligning with other standards that will further strengthen our IP regime.
  • Introduce stronger penalties for copyright violations and ensure platforms prevent illegal content appearing on their services. Online piracy continues to impact the UK music industry. In the second quarter of 2023, the BPI identified 150 million visits to websites and apps that give access to unlicensed music in the UK. According to PRS for Music, stream ripping services saw a 1390% surge in popularity in the UK between 2016 and 2019. Without addressing this, piracy will continue draw revenue away from legitimate channels, reducing the financial resources available to support musicians and foster creativity.
  • Promote industry standards for metadata. Metadata is the information attached to music that identifies the creators involved and is essential for their career development and payment. Industry efforts to improve the quality of metadata are ongoing. However, these are constrained by poor, incomplete, or absent usage data received from music users, such as user-upload services. The next Government should continue supporting the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) metadata expert groups, bringing key industry players together to find solutions. They could also use existing powers, like Article 16 of the Collective Rights Management Regulations, to ensure data provision using industry standards.

There are also copyright issues to consider regarding the development of generative AI technologies. Find out more about what we’re asking the Government to do to ensure AI develops in support of the music industry here

Read UK Music’s Manifesto for Music to find out more about what UK Music is calling for action on ahead of a General Election. 

Find out more about protecting creators and rightsholders copyright here

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