Valuing Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation: Relating Corporate Social Responsibility to Copyright Law workshop
  • Shanghai Room, Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, Mast House, Sutton Harbour, PL4 0HJ, Plymouth

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This one-day exploratory event seeks to examine the prospect of practising Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in relation to copyright, where similar ideas of corporate social awareness have already applied to other areas of intellectual property protection.

The workshop aims to bring together research in law and business, in order to assess the resilience and normative sufficiency of copyright’s existing legal configurations, and then to reflect on redefining CSR and its practices as alternatives to copyright law. One of the main concerns of these proceedings is the challenge of balancing the economic sustainability of the creative industries with society’s needs to uninhibitedly develop culture through the reuse and reproduction of knowledge and other cultural content.

The event is free and open to anyone with an interest in the described areas, although places are limited and registration in advance is necessary. To register, as well as for any enquiries for this event, please email


Timing Schedule   
09.30 – 10.00 Registration and coffee
10.00 – 10.15 Welcome and opening notes
10.15 – 10.45 Charlotte Waelde (University of Exeter) Developing a Cultural Rights Approach to Copyright: What Lessons for Corporate Social Responsibility
10.45 – 11.15 Abbe Brown (University of Aberdeen) Culture, Diversity and Power: What Is the Place of Corporate Social Responsibility
11.30 – 12.00 Dinusha Mendis (Bournemouth University) Printing the Future: Is there a Need for Regulation? The Copyright Implications of 3D Printing
12.00 – 12.30 Rumbi Mukono (Plymouth University) Can Environmental Sustainability Research Assist in any of the Challenges within Culture and Knowledge as an Environment?
12.30 – 13.15 Lunch buffet
13.15 – 14.30 Short Presentations Round
Patrick Masiyakurima (University of Aberdeen) Intellectual Property and Corporate Social Responsibility - Is a Marriage Possible?
Hugo De Rijke (Plymouth University) Rights or Righteousness? - Creativity, Inequity and Practicality
Nicolas Jondet (University of Edinburgh) Corporate Social Responsibility and Private Copying Levy Systems
Nicholas Gervassis (Plymouth University) New Technologies and Emerging Dynamics in Culture
14.45 – 15.45 Roundtable discussion panel
15.45 – 16.00 Conclusions and future research
16.00 – 17.00 Drinks reception

Please see the outline of the workshop below for further information.

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Today's events


Cultural development, creative industries and copyright 

The construction of culture in society has traditionally depended on processes of sharing and reusing existing ideas, images, knowledge and other cultural elements. Nevertheless, in the information era, where the creative industries play a leading role in the production and distribution of cultural goods and knowledge, corporate commercial production tends increasingly to conflate but also to be found at odds with such cultural processes, where these are predicated on the habitually free circulation and reuse of intellectual works.

In this respect, critics of intellectual property protection regimes have raised concerns about the decisive function of copyright exclusivities and limitations in potentially establishing the dominance of corporate interests over society’s cultural development. They have expressed fears of a heavily privatised culture, of a declining cultural diversity and of a shrinking public domain, as characterised by the lack of cultural resources for communities to use in order to deliver new developments. 

At the same time, however, it is important not to forget that copyright laws also include exceptions and defences (“fair dealings”), aimed precisely at balancing economic interests against the public’s learning, knowledge and broader cultural needs.

The workshop’s scope

The workshop will examine the current copyright protection setting and the possibilities it fosters for responding concepts and practices of CSR to emerge. The proceedings will conclude with a roundtable panel discussion, addressing along the way the following issues:

  • society, culture and development and the impacts of new technologies
  • the nature of copyright, its exclusivities and exceptions, public attitudes towards its enforcement
  • conceptualisations of corporate and cultural sustainabilit
  • corporate trends of the creative industries and attitudes towards society’s processes of cultural development
  • cultural diversity and the public domain as metaphors for the “environment”, as used and valued in the established corporate sustainability discourse
  • CSR practices as a contributing factor in improving the relationship between copyright and society.

The impact of new technologies

New technologies are constantly adding up to the above challenge, by changing even more the contexts for distribution and use of cultural elements. Inadvertently, they are also transforming society’s conceptions about what practices now form part of its cultural development and learning processes. The issue may be understood against the backdrop of ongoing debates in recent years over the respective scopes of copyright infringement and fair dealings, opposite to habitual uses of cultural content by the broader public of Internet users. It may be analysed further in relation to our expectations from advancing next generation technologies (e.g. 3D printing) and their anticipated widespread utilisation.

Generally, shifts in technology and in cultural trends outpace the responses that the next copyright law reform can offer. It has been suggested that corporate initiatives may instead provide for effective market solutions, where laws find difficulties in keeping up with the changing cultural practices of technology users - the success of models like Spotify and Netflix standing out as an example. This takes us to the focus of this workshop, and the question of whether creative industries can develop culturally aware corporate ethos towards society and still deliver successful business models to reward creativity.

Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.