Professor Ian Hargeaves

The call for evidence follows a recommendation by former Independent editor Ian Hargreaves (pictured) for a Digital Copyright Exchange

News websites have been called on to submit evidence to an independent study looking at the feasibility of a proposed Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE).

The DCE was one proposal put forward by former editor of the Independent Ian Hargreaves in his review of the current intellectual property system, which outlined a total of 10 recommendations for reform.

Under his proposals the exchange would change the way content is collected and distributed by others online. At the time of the initial proposals from Hargreaves, the National Union of Journalists said the DCE plan raised "serious concerns", asking questions over whether licensing control of freelance photography content, for example, would be lost.

Today Richard Hooper, the former deputy chairman of Ofcom, announced the launch of a call for evidence as part of a study he was appointed to carry out late last year, in response to Hargreaves' report.

The call for evidence was submitted to "stakeholders" in the creative industries, including news websites.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Hooper described the idea of the DCE solution as providing a website similar to Amazon, which would offer a platform for licensing transactions. The user would be able to browse the content, "put [it] in a cart, pay for it and then have it delivered in high resolution on the internet".

Part of the independent study will involve an assessment of solutions to the issues raised, such as the DCE.

In today's call for evidence "stakeholders" have been asked for their view on whether or not the current system for copyright licensing "is not fit for purpose for the digital age" and also for their feedback on Hargreaves' "proposed definitions", such as that of the market.

Hooper added that he will be "reporting back on the diagnostic report in March", with solutions to be presented "March to July".

Intellectual property minister Baroness Wilcox issued a statement urging "all interested parties to respond fully to this call for evidence".

"We need this feedback if we are to be in the best position to decide whether a Digital Copyright Exchange is a workable proposition," she added.

Submissions must be made to the call for evidence by Friday, 10 February.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).