The general focus so far is from the perspective of the collection societies.
Two panel discussions and a debate this afternoon.
The first panel discussion – IP & Copyright – Can Rights Owners Get Some R.E.S.P.E.C.T? – consisted of:
Michael Keplinger, Deputy Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation WIPO (Switzerland)
Cornelia Kutterer, Senior Legal Advisor, European Consumers’ Organisation BEUC (Belgium)
John LoFrumento, Chief Executive Officer, ASCAP (USA)
Manuel Medina Ortega, Member of the European Parliament (Spain)
Nicholas Motsatse, Chief Executive Officer, SAMRO (South Africa)
Emma Pike, Chief Executive, British Music Rights (UK)
Ted Shapiro, Deputy Managing Director, VP & General Counsel, Europe, Motion Picture Association (Belgium)
Leo Cendrowicz, Journalist & Correspondent, TIME magazine / The Hollywood Reporter / Billboard (Belgium) – Moderator
Each was given about 10 minutes to state their view, which meant that there was no time for them to elaborate on any points or to get into a detailed discussion. That was a shame as there was some very interesting people on the panel and it would have been interesting to have their views fleshed out.
The common message seemed to be to – “Educate! Educate! Educate!”. There was recognition that suing the people who buy your goods may not be the smartest move in the long run and that the way forward was to educate people on copyright. (Update 28/3/08 – official video from CISAC)
Next. The debate. This was titled – The value of copyright in the 21st Century. Should it be free for all… really? – between:
Brett Cottle, Chair of CISAC’s Board of Directors and CEO, APRA (Australia)
Prof. Lawrence Lessig, Author of “Free Culture” and Founder of Creative Commons (USA)
with Emmanuel Legrand, Independent journalist (UK) as moderator
World. War. III.
The collection societies do not like Lawrence Lessig. They seem to think that he wants to undermine copyright.
He states he doesn’t and what he wants is to allow people to move between the commercial and non-commercial world.
Much murmurs of discontent and a general feeling that the baddie is Lawrence Lessig.
I must be from a different planet – because what Creative Commons has done is make people think about rights – and here’s a room full of people getting seriously annoyed with this guy who makes people think about rights after they have spent most of the day bemoaning the fact that no one thinks of the rights of the artist anymore!
Now, the fact that they may disagree with how he has implemented his rights model may be pertinent – but to be so openly hostile to someone who is actually on their side is mind-blowing. This guy is giving them a signpost for the future – they may not like the colour of it or the direction it’s pointing but hey it’s not a bad starting point. (Update 28/3/08 – official video from CISAC)
The alternative is what? There is no alternative that they propose – as becomes apparent in the next panel discussion.
This was entitled – Author’s societies – building a new model! – and contained:
Roger Faxon, Chairman & CEO, EMI Music Publishing (UK)
David Ferguson, Spokesperson of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance ECSA and Acting President of the British Academy of Composers and Authors BACS (UK)
Kjell-Åke Hamrén, Chairman, Swedish Music Publishers Association (Sweden)
Harald Heker, Chief Executive Officer, GEMA (Germany)
Peter Jenner, Chair, International Music Managers Forum IMMF (UK)
Michel Lambot, Co-Chairman, Play it Again Sam PIAS (Belgium)
Bernard Miyet, Chairman of the Management Board, SACEM (France)
Heijo Ruijsenaars, Legal Advisor, European Broadcasting Union EBU
Philippe Kern, Managing Director, KEA European Affairs (Belgium) – Moderator
This was a very interesting and knowledgeable discussion that went nowhere! The only saving grace was Peter Jenner being passionate about wanting change and wishing to lock all the competing factions in a room and not let them out until they spoke as one voice. Which by the end of this discussion had my full support!
A lot of the pressures and issues that affect the various players were aired here and there was some real desire for some forward momentum to be taken with respect to rights – but it always seemed to end in some well rehearsed, dead-end conundrum. I asked a question at the end – “Is there something on the horizon that, if I start up an Internet company tomorrow, will help me with online rights or should I go the much more profitable YouTube/MySpace route and just do copyright infringement?” – to which the resounding answer was – Nope! Nothing on the horizon. (Update 28/3/08 – official video from CISAC)
So, copyright infringement will continue.