By Marcus Leach

Richard Hooper today (Wednesday) issued a call for evidence as part of the independent feasibility study on developing a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) in the UK.

The independent study is being carried out in two parts. Phase one is looking at all of the issues highlighted in the Hargreaves Review surrounding copyright licensing in and for the digital age in further detail. This includes setting out clear definitions of the roles played by creators, businesses, rights management organisations and consumers.

The second phase will examine and recommend solutions to the issues raised. The digital copyright exchange is considered to be a strong potential solution by some stakeholders.

Hooper, who is leading the feasibility study, today wrote to stakeholders within the creative industries, inviting them to respond to a call for evidence which asks two questions:

* First, whether they agree with the 'Hargreaves Hypothesis' - that the current copyright licensing system is not fit for purpose for the digital age;

* Secondly whether they agree with his proposed definitions, including the market definition.

"This is a controversial issue with strongly held opinions across the spectrum - we are seeking hard data and evidence for or against the main, or parts of the, hypothesis," Richard Hooper said.

"The responses I receive will help to inform my thinking as I move to develop a concept for workable licensing solutions to problems identified."

Intellectual Property Minister, Baroness Wilcox backed the study.

"I would urge all interested parties to respond fully to this call for evidence. We need this feedback if we are to be in the best position to decide whether a Digital Copyright Exchange is a workable proposition," she said.

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