Musicians, film directors, screenwriters and visual artists stress the need to protect creators' rights in the shifting paradigm of the digital age
Paris, France – 24th September 2014 - For the first time, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) welcomed internationally-renowned creators to speak at their 54th General Assemblies.
Organised by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), a panel discussion included an international delegation of creators who came to the United Nations agency to discuss the most pressing issues facing creators worldwide today — how to achieve a fair and sustainable creative ecosystem in the digital age, the importance of respecting creators’ rights and the urgent need for an open dialogue with all stakeholders, in particular key players from the digital sector.
Addressing a room of ministers, ambassadors and diplomats, Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, emphasised the pivotal role that the organization plays in shaping international intellectual property rules: “Against the background of profound change in the digital environment, there has never been a more suitable time to discuss how to ensure a sustainable future for authors and composers,” said Gurry. “It is therefore fitting that WIPO hosts this discussion, and we are grateful to CISAC for assembling a culturally diverse panel of international renown to discuss a topic important for us all.”
He also stressed the importance of creativity as a source of economic development, especially in developing countries, a position echoed by a study published by CISAC prior to WIPO’s General Assembly. Titled “The Creative Industries and the BRICS”, the study highlights the tremendous potential within the largest developing economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to increase their creative industries’ contribution to job creation, sustainable business models and a healthy economy. It also lays out a comprehensive action plan for policymakers to provide supportive measures for creative industries in these countries.
Jean Michel Jarre, internationally renowned electronic music composer and President of CISAC was joined by visual artist Hervé Di Rosa, also from France, Angèle Diabang, Senegalese film director, Eddie Schwartz, Canadian songwriter, Vinod Ranganath, Indian playwright, screenwriter and director and Daphna Levin, Israeli screenwriter and director.
Mr. Jarre raised several key issues, in particular the need to develop innovative business models that fairly remunerate creators and open the doors to new partnerships with the digital sector. He pointed out that creators are at the centre of the digital economy and that developing sustainable business models with digital intermediaries is essential. “We creators are pro-technology. We embrace it and welcome the wider access to culture that digital devices and services afford the public, and the opportunity to reach wider audiences that technology affords creators. But we need business models that make sense to all parties,” he said.
Speaking on the need for a solid legal framework on which to build the creative economy, Mr. Jarre said, “Creators and policymakers have an opportunity to work together to shape policies that reflect the intrinsic value of the creative industries, ensuring fair remuneration and, by extension, a sustainable and dynamic growth for each stakeholder of the creative chain, from the artist to the distributor.”
Ms. Diabang agreed, pointing out that a favourable legislative framework in Europe can act as an example of what should be done elsewhere, but if creators’ rights are weakened and undervalued in the European arena, the reverberations will be felt throughout the world.
Mr. Di Rosa addressed the importance of the resale right for visual artists, signalling the urgent need for a new international treaty on this issue. This treaty should make the resale right mandatory around the world, to ensure that visual artists, no matter where they live or where their works are sold, can earn a percentage from the resale of their work.
Highlighting the relative weakness of creators’ bargaining positions as individuals, both Mr. Ranganath and Ms. Levin spoke about the importance of collective management of rights and the vital role that collective management organisations (CMOs) play — and must continue to play — in protecting the rights of creators and ensuring their interests are promoted.
Mr. Schwartz focused on fair remuneration for creators, and specifically, how to develop fair and sustainable compensation models while ensuring that the business of digital partners is not unduly put at risk. That question is at the centre of a new study commissioned by the music creators alliance Music Creators North America (MCNA) and endorsed by CISAC. The study’s findings will be published during the Congress of the International Council of Music Authors (CIAM) in Nashville, Tennessee on October 22 and 23, 2014.