Thursday 18 October 2012

"What constitutes evidence for copyright policy?" A Symposium

"What constitutes evidence for copyright policy?" Many are the times that this blogger has anguished over that question and now he is comforted to see that he is not the only who is doing so.  That very question forms the title of a Symposium within the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2012 which will take place on 8 November at the Centre for Intellectual Property Management (CIPPM), Bournemouth University in the Executive Business Centre. Organised by Martin Kretschmer and Ruth Towse, this event promises to ask some stern questions. According to the marketing material (with a few of these blogger's comments interspersed):
Copyright law is a topical and contentious area that affects a wide range of stakeholders with differing views on copyright policy [an understatement, perhaps?]. The need for evidence-based policy on copyright policy was emphasised in the Hargreaves Review and has led to several calls for evidence from stakeholders. The responses they provide to the Intellectual Property Office are varied in nature and quality; the IPO has responded by proposing guidelines on what constitutes acceptable evidence: 'that it be clear, verifiable and able to be peer-reviewed' (which itself is contested) [this definition of acceptable evidence shackles submissions to the historical, and makes it difficult to argue for reform proposals that, being innovative, are devoid of verifiable data -- and the assumption that past data is relevant to the future is one which is hard to accept in any field in which technologies and consumer behaviour keep rapidly evolving].

Besides being a matter of pressing public concern, copyright also attracts the interest of a broad range of social science disciplines each with its own rules of evidence. The emphasis on economic growth as the objective of copyright policy has shifted the need for evidence in the direction of economics but economic evidence is not always easily available. Nor it is the case that only quantitative evidence is regarded as valid [though the decision as to whether other than quantitative evidence is valid appears to be based on unclear and subjective criteria].

The idea is to have a structured but not too formal discussion of the differing perspectives held by policy-makers, creative industry representatives and academics of various backgrounds on the kind of evidence relevant to copyright policy. It will take the form of panel and round table discussions between policy-makers from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Cabinet Office, stakeholders from the creative industries and academics from economics, sociology, law and cultural studies with expertise in copyright. The focus is on what evidence from these fields of study is relevant and useful to policy-makers and those seeking to put their case to them. The event is open to members of the public.
The event is free, the full programme details are here and all interested parties are welcome. However, there are a limited number of places.  If you would like to reserve a place, please email Dr Rebecca Edwards or give her a call on 01202 961206.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Ok, so copyright attracts the interest of a broad range of 'social science disciplines' and there will be academics from economics, sociology, law and cultural studies. But the 'broad range' is not reflected on the programme and there certainly don't seem to be any academics from sociology. Are 4 academics from economics and 1 from business equal to 1 from sociology?