The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) organized a conference debating the global digital content market and its impact on creators of films, producers, publishers and distribution platforms.
The conference explored issues of copyright in the digital age, the impact of the digital environment on creators, the role for publishers, producers and distribution platforms, digital markets, access and participation, saw about 1000 participants, including that from Bollywood, Hollywood, Nollywood, the Russian and Chinese film industry and Academy and Grammy-award winning artists.
“The creative content economy has seen radical change to access and business models for more than a decade,” said a statement from WIPO.
“This is an exciting and fascinating evolution, with fundamental implications for cultural production in the 21st century,” said Mr Francis Gurry, Director-General of WIPO. “The same features of technology that have produced enormous benefits for consumers have also presented multiple challenges for creators and their business associates,” he added.
Jaron Lanier, writer, composer and tech futurist, said, “We are creating victims, this isn’t working,” talking of the pressures that piracy has imposed on musicians, artists, journalists.
Yang Xianghua, Senior Vice-President of Chinese company iQIYI.com, said that Chinese films are increasingly being distributed through the Internet. “In China, we have a new model to distribute through the Internet and share movies through the Internet,” Xianghua said.
More than 600 movies are made per year in China but only 300 go to the movie theatres. Through internet, consumers can pay for the movie and this revenue is distributed among the producers and creators. In 2016 more than 200 movies per month made by first-time, young directors and small producers, are being distributed through this process.
Nikita Mikhalkov, a Russian director and producer said that the quality of movies is getting lowered owing to the fact that anyone can make a film now-a-days and distribute it digitally.
Uloma K Onuma of iROKO, a Nigerian media and entertainment company said that 60 percent of creative content is consumed through mobile phones in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa.
The discussions highlighted the tensions ‘in balancing easy access to music, film and other creative works while ensuring creators’ abilities to earn a living”.
Guileherme Felitti, Brazilian journalist specializing in technology, Internet and telecommunications praised India’s stand on net neutrality and said that “that is what Brazil is trying to do”.
“The Internet has changed business and consumption models tremendously but despite the Internet’s significant contributions it does not mean that we should now abandon the fundamental foundation upon which copyright is grounded or that we need an unique international code,” said Stan Mc Coy Senior Vice-President of Motion Picture Association.
Bobby Bedi, well-known Indian film producer who is also on the governing council of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association said that the digital reach of India is changing by “orders of magnitude” which is a “big change” that will affect also the kind of content that is produced.
“The minute you move from covering 15 percent of India (with high-speed broadband coverage) as we are today, to 70 percent of India then you are automatically very seriously covering the small towns and the rural sector. That becomes hugely significant because now not only the delivery mechanisms but the content will have to change. Also, coupled with this the promise of a much lower price is also there. Today Reliance is saying they will come in at a fraction of the price. So once that happens then we consider a fat pipe going down deep into the country,” Bedi told Firstpost.
He added that the whole ecosystem of creative content is changing. “It is happening in the world, it is happening in India,” he added.
Prince, the renowned American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor, who died on 22 April, was one of the most aggressive crusaders for copyright protections. The companies that represented him set new prcednets in copyright law.
For instance, in 2014, Prince sued 22 anonymous fans for USD 22 million for putting up his concert videos online. The cases were later dropped after the posts were removed.
In 2015, Universal Musical Corp that worked to protect Prince’s copyrights, had famously sued for a 29-second home video of a baby dancing to a Prince’s song. The federal appeals court of California ruled against the company saying that it had not considered whether the video qualifies as fair use.
“It has many layers to it. Theft of intellectual property is theft. Let’s be very clear about that. Fair use is fair use. The world defines it…There is no denying that. As long as it is within fair use, it is fine,” responding to a question by Firstpost on the case.
“But the other thing is that there is a softer side to it. Sometimes, theft promotes a product. We have got to beat both carrot and stick up. We got to encourage it and must be tough on it. It must not result in the loss of revenue…By and large, copyright is my right and I would like to have it protected because I can’t survive without it,” he said.