Experts remind that in the last twenty years, the rapid development of the global network has repeatedly called into question the very idea of copyright-protected source of income for authors, because it conflicted with the uncontrolled and non-profit entity of the Internet. It is only in relatively recent times began to take root in various online business models of especially large corporations, and then the small and medium enterprises (SME). SME firms have been deriving benefits from the use of new digital technologies, will enable them to innovate, to increase the number of jobs and to acquire a niche in the national markets. According to the data from National Statistics Agency and several reports of UMIP, a savvy branch of the University of Manchester focused on intellectual property questions and commercialisation in particular, 5.6% of UK GDP is provided by enterprises of creative industries.
This digital technology originally extremely negative effect on areas such as the publication of newspapers, magazines and books, sound recordings, production of TV programs, movies and video games and so on. Entrepreneurs had to seriously restructure its business practices in an effort to keep the profits. Not always being introduced schemes they were effective or simple enough that clients and consumers were willing to use them.
For example, in the UK there are about 70 music services, providing legal digital content, which is more than in the United States. The complexity of their work is still not allowing them to win any significant victories in the battle against illegal free services. A weighty share of ‘complexity’ falls on licensing features: the difficulty of finding a huge number of holders, the unjustified level boards, intricate conditions for issuing licenses, and similar circumstances.
The panacea in such a situation, according to the authors, can be found in digital technology itself, namely automatic licensing, or mechanical rights management and coordination of the conditions of use between devices without human intervention. Such development is thought to be beneficial for all participants:
- Content authors will have easier access to the market, including the ability to issue licenses and to receive compensation without intermediaries, to reduce the number of no-name products (the owners of which are difficult to establish), and the conditions for granting licenses will be more transparent.
- The mediators in the implementation of intellectual property rights will be having sufficient information on the authors and their agents (including foreign), on the terms and content of the licenses will maintain an open and competitive market, which will lead to lower transaction costs.
- Consumers and other users will have a greater choice, better service and lower prices.
Experts recognise that their idea is not new. The calls for the creation of regional or global databases of various objects of intellectual property, to develop a global licensing schemes have been voiced since the end of 90’s. There were even some attempts to put them into practice. Examples are projects such as the Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works (Arrow), Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), Global Repertoire Database and etc.
Researchers are confident that sooner or later any projects will be implemented on a wide scale. In the meantime, states (especially the UK) should take on the role of organisers and facilitators of the process that will give them significant economic benefits.