UK devs struggle to retain IP rights, says Livingstone

'We often have to give away our intellectual property in return for project finance'
Publish date:
2_ian livingstone 2.jpg

UK game developers often struggle to hold on to their own original intellectual property, Ian Livingstone has said.

Speaking to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee at the House of Commons on support for the creative industries, the industry veteran said that although developers in the country were great at creating new IP, deals with publishers often meant they could not retain it.

He said that, similar to other industries, the UK often acted as a work-for-hire nation, so while it was well-recognised for its creative output, much of the revenues would actually go to oversee corporations.

“We’re very good at creating intellectual property in this country, but we’re not so good at retaining it. We often have to give away our IP in return for project finance,” said Livingstone.

“But we’re so often a work-for-hire nation in this country in all our content creation industries so whilst we get the Oscars and the BAFTAs, most of the revenues derived from our content is often banked overseas. How can we create a competitive and yet fair tax regime linked to UK production that allows for intellectual properties to be retained in this country?”

Livingstone went on to highlight other areas of importance for the government to consider when supporting the game and creative industries, such as the need for super-fast broadband to help bring content to global audiences and access to finance and people.

“It’s not games that make people violent, it’s latency,” he said.

“What we need to do is get people to be able to not only download but for content creators be actually upload content to global audiences via super fast broadband.

"And the two most important things of course is access to finance and people. We’re delighted with the announcement of production credits; it’s going to make the UK a level playing field. And of course we’re delighted that schemes like SCIS and IES continue to help the game industry.”

Image credit: