University of Nottingham Ningbo China
AHRC Centre for
Digital Copyright and IP Research in China
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Project 2: China Digital Copyright Exchange


John Howkins

 BOP Associate, BOP Consulting


Professor Lixian Cong

Professor of Law, Professor of Editorship, Beijing Foreign Studies University Law School

Programme of research

This research project will examine the potential for a China Digital Copyright Exchange using our experience and understanding of the UK Copyright Hub. The intension for this project is to support the development of the Chinese creative and technical industries through the simplification and automation of licensing copyrighted material.  The idea is to develop a mechanism, legal and technical, that simplifies and automates the means by which Chinese businesses licence copyrighted material. It is hoped that this project is the first step in the development of a China Digital Copyright Exchange.

Main Research Questions

• What are the key barriers and challenges in the creative industries in China that a Chinese Copyright Exchange would help to overcome/reduce?

• Who are the most likely users and beneficiaries of any Chinese Copyright Exchange?

• Given the relevant legal, institutional and regulatory context in China, is a Digital Copyright Exchange feasible? What changes (if any) would have to be made to bring it into being? How could those changes be made?

• What can we learn from the existing UK Copyright Hub and from consultation with Chinese creative businesses about the likely economic value of a China Copyright Exchange? What are the biggest factors in driving this value (e.g. reduced transaction costs and overheads, etc.)?

• What are the different possible technical options for implementing the Digital Copyright Exchange in China and which options are recommended? What are the anticipated range of costs associated with the recommended technical implementation?

• How do the anticipated economic benefits of a Copyright Hub compare with its likely costs?

Other collaborators include:
Ian Hargreaves, Professor of Digital Economy, The Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University, Wales.
Dr. Yan Dong, Research Fellow, School of Law, Beijing Foreign Studies University,
Dominic Young, CEO, Copyright Hub, UK, London
Richard Naylor, Director of Research, BOP Consulting
Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist, BOP Consulting
Conor Roche, Associate Director, BOP Consulting, Shanghai

Contact: John Howkins,