This site uses cookies to help make it more useful and reliable. Our cookies page explains what they are, which ones we use, and how you can manage or remove them.

Digital Copyright Exchange feasibility study

Terms of Reference


The Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) feasibility study will consider options for developing a functional digital market in rights clearance and a source of information about rights ownership, as recommended by the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth and accepted by the Government.

The feasibility study will examine available evidence and bring together industry partners and sectors of the creative world to create a framework for a distributed rights exchange and the necessary supporting systems to allow a functioning licensing system.


The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth 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... 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."

In its Response the Government has stated that it wants to see a DCE, or something like it, to speed up copyright licensing and thus enable new business opportunities.


The study will address the issues that Hargreaves identified and consider the feasibility of setting up a DCE or something like it. The work will be conducted in two phases:

  • Diagnosis: convening/ discussing with industry partners to explore the issues affecting rights licensing and to create a clear understanding of the problems
  • Options: bringing forward appropriate industry-led solutions with a view to how these could be put into practice

The study will not focus on other copyright recommendations set out in the Government Response, except where these directly impact on DCE.


The feasibility study will provide recommendations for the operation of a functioning copyright licensing system to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by summer 2012 Parliamentary Recess.