Insights Creator Remuneration: Report published by Culture, Media and Sport Committee


The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons has published its report on ‘Creator Remuneration’ following the launch of its inquiry last year.

The Report seeks to address what the Committee identifies as a series of challenges facing those in the creative industries, from insecure work and squeezes in pay, to reductions in royalties and residuals, to changes in audience behaviour post-Covid and the impact of AI. The Report sets out a number of headline recommendations intended to address some of these challenges.

The first recommendation is for the Government to work with the UK’s creative industries to introduce a statutory private copying scheme which would remunerate creators for the private storing and copying of their creative works. The Report notes that a number of countries similar to the UK have successfully introduced such schemes, usually taking the form of a small levy on blank media and/or electronic devices which is collected by Collective Management Organisations (“CMOs”). The Committee cites evidence that in 2018 private copying mechanisms generated over £286 million in Germany, £239 million in France, and £110 million in Italy. If a similar mechanism were introduced in the UK, the Report states that it is estimated that it could generate between £250-300 million per year. The Committee points to a further benefit of introducing such a scheme in the UK, namely that it would safeguard payments to UK creators from other countries that already have such schemes in place. As the Report explains, payments from other countries that already have schemes in place “may decline or be lost due to a lack of reciprocity with the UK, affecting those whose IP is nonetheless exploited in those countries. Indeed, the national law of many EU countries specifically prohibits their CMOs from paying to third country counterparts where there are not statutory private copying schemes”. For this reason, the Committee recommends that – at a minimum – the Government introduces a statutory private copying scheme that safeguards reciprocal payments from abroad.

The second recommendation relates to the use of AI in creative industries. In its earlier report, ‘Connected tech: AI and creative technology’, the Committee had raised concerns about the threat to intellectual property in the creative industries posed by AI developers, and in particular the – now abandoned – proposed exemption for AI developers to use creative works to train their systems. That report called on the Government “to work to regain the trust of the creative industries following its abortive attempt to introduce a broad text and data mining exemption”. In response, the Government cited its proposals for a voluntary code of practice on copyright and AI, as well as its plans to explore the case for stronger protections for creators against generative AI (even going as far as to consider legislation if a code of practice is not adopted or agreement is not reached). However, the Committee has expressed disappointment that no such code of practice has been brought forward, nor has the Government indicated that legislation will be forthcoming. As a result, the Committee recommends that “creators have proper mechanisms to enforce their consent and receive fair compensation for use of their work by AI developers” and calls on the Government to set out “measurable objectives for the period of engagement with the AI and rightsholders sectors…and provides a definitive deadline at which it will step in with legislation in order to break any deadlock”.

Third, the Report examines the challenges faced by freelancers in the creative industries, including poor rates of pay and working conditions. It notes that many have called in the past for targeted support, since freelancers risk losing out on assistance from Government initiatives because they are not a specific category and lack a single clear voice. The Committee endorses this view and has recommended that the Government appoints a ‘Freelancers’ Commissioner’ with “appropriate powers and cross-departmental oversight, to advocate across Government in the interests of creative freelancers, and of other freelance and self-employed people more broadly”.

On the question of working conditions, the Committee states that many creators experience “poor working conditions, including inconsistent use of contracts and terms and conditions, uneven responses to bullying, harassment and discrimination and a lack of proper support, accounting, training and development. This compounds the poor pay available in the profession and its high barriers to entry”. The Report recommends that the Government should address these problems by implementing the recommendations of the Good Work Review, using the CREATOR campaign as a basis for fair working standards.

The final section of the Report focuses on the economics of music publishing, which we have commented upon separately here.

The Report can be read in full here.