Director General of WIPO speaks about new copyright model

QUOTES FROM SPEECH GIVEN ON 25-2-2011 by Francis Gurry, DG of World Intellectual Property Organization

Let us dare to say that the infrastructure of the world of collective management is out-dated. It represents a world of separate territories and a world where right-holders expressed themselves in different media, not the multi-jurisdictional world of the Internet or the convergence of expression in digital technology. This is not to say that collective management or collecting societies are no longer needed. But they need to re-shape and to evolve. We need a global infrastructure that permits simple, global licensing, one that makes the task of licensing cultural works legally on the Internet as easy as it is to obtain such works there illegally.

The sentiment of distaste or disrespect for intellectual property on the Internet that it voices is widespread. Look at the incidence of illegal down-loading of music. We may argue about the right methodology to use to measure that phenomenon, but we are all certain that the practice has reached alarming dimensions.
In order to effect a change in attitude, I believe that we need to re-formulate the question that most people see or hear about copyright and the Internet. People do not respond to being called pirates. Indeed, some, as we have seen, even make a pride of it. They would respond, I believe, to a challenge to sharing responsibility for cultural policy. We need to speak less in terms of piracy and more in terms of the threat to the financial viability of culture in the 21st Century, because it is this which is at risk if we do not have an effective, properly balanced copyright policy.

The history of the confrontation of our classical copyright world with the digital environment has been more a sorry tale of Luddite resistance than an example of intelligent engagement.
Let me move to my final suggested guiding principle for a successful response to the digital challenge. I believe that we need more simplicity in copyright. Copyright is complicated and complex, reflecting the successive waves of technological development in the media of creative expression from printing through to digital technology, and the business responses to those different media. We risk losing our audience and public support if we cannot make understanding of the system more accessible. Future generations are clearly going to regard many of the works, rights and business agents that we talk about as cute artefacts of cultural history, much as the vinyl record has become in a very short space of time. The digital work is going to change dimensions. We see that happening with user generated content. We see it happening also with 3D printing or additive manufacturing, where the digital file is the manufacturing technology and factory. This is the realm of the blue sky and I hope that this Conference can start to develop the tools for exploring that sky.

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