Opening of Conference

Local Time: 12.00

Panel: Opening of conference

Commentary:
(more commentary and correction of posts – I promise – will happen later on today, there is no time at the moment)

All the opening speeches shared some common themes, namely
1) [tag] Diversity[/tag], multiculturalism and how they promote [tag]creativity[/tag].
2) The results of country – specific WIPO research (where not done already, it is pending) on the contribution of Creative Industries to the [tag]economy[/tag].
3) The importance of Copyright & IP as an incentive for creativity (???).

The main message(as i have heard it) is that cultural industries contribute to the economy and hence they need to be protected by IP and copyright. Using IP and copyright to encourage creativity is also an important message yet it is not being stressed as much. Of course the context is very specific, with technocrats and government policy specialists in attendance who will need to potentially convince Ministers – economy is a far more convincing lobbying argument than artistic creativity.

A very good point was made in passing by H.E Tarek Mitir, Minister for Culture – Lebanon. Speaking about the very low level of piracy in the books trade the Minister mentioned that the extremely good quality productions could inspire respect and hence there will be less piracy. This key argument about quality has not been explored further yet and I think that it is essential to the understanding of some of the reasons behind piracy. It is not by pure chance that some young people will buy a ‘special edition’ CD/DVD from their favourite artist which is considered by them a ‘classic’. Is it impossible that the quality of the work is important in terms of piracy?

My notes in detail:

Welcome by [tag]Kamil IDRIS[/tag], Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization

The role of IP in the development of creative industries. “The role of IP is underestimated and even questioned as a contributor to the sustainable growth.”
6.2 percent contribution of Creative industries to national employment and 5.4 to GDP
- How do IP impact on Creativity?
- What does it mean to operate a creative business? Is is impossible to create a model on creative activities.

The Honourable [tag]Tarek Mitri[/tag] – the Minister for Culture, Lebanon

H.E. Tarek Mitri spoke on cultural identity and diversity. In Lebanon, he mused, there have been some that wanted to preserve the national culture from outside influences and those that wanted to remain creative and seize every opportunity. The more people disagreed about the whole idea, the more the people of Lebanon could not reach a solution but ultimately they borrowed ideas from each opposing stance.
[tag]Market forces[/tag] alone cannot guarantee the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity. We need public policies in partnerships with the public sector. Yet public policies cannot be protectionist – they can accompany creativity.
The question of censorship – “we are struggling with censorship laws that are from another age” and Lebanon is aiming for a change.
But I am also talking about self-imposed censorship from the artist. Lebanon is a small market. Some of the artistic creations are country specific and the market is limited. Hence they need public policy to be developed. Once they are developed they might be able to exceed the national border.
With the help of WIPO we conducted a survey on Copyright Industries. There may not be many surprises in the results. Studies like these confirm what we all know and quantify what we all approximately seem to suggest.
4 categories and 29 specific industries (WIPO Categorisation). 4.57 of Lebanon’s GDP. 4.49 contribution to employment. Results indicate that Piracy is a fundamental problem and the government has been criticised for not doing enough to deal with the problem. Even though Lebanon has a political instrument to deal with piracy the judiciary is not necessarily sensitive to the issue and the fines imposed are too low in most cases.
An interesting point came out when talking about the falling piracy numbers in relation to books. Mr. Mitri noted that falling piracy could be a direct result of good quality book products and translations. Good quality would mean more respect and less piracy, noted Mr. Mitri.
Closing, Mr. Miti noted that cultural products are not economic good and cannot be commodified. Yet at the same time they are economic goods. The two sides are not irreconcilable.

H.E. [tag]Olivia Grange[/tag], Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports – Jamaica

Bob Marley

H.E. Grange talked to length about the diversity of the Jamaican people, as evidenced by Jamaica’s motto “out of many – one people”.
Ms. Grange stressed that the multiculturalism, diversity, imagination and can-do attitude of the Jamaican people ensured not only a varied cultural production but also progress in science, pharmaceutics, IT etc.
The Minister expressed her thanks to WIPO for helping Jamaica to establish the Jamaica [tag]Intellectual Property[/tag] Office.
The commitment of the new government of Jamaica is to create a supportive environment for the Creative Industries. They will be treated as a major engine for economic growth. The legal framework and the monitoring mechanism will ensure that artists receive their dues and are inspired to do more.
The contribution of copyright – based industries to the Jamaican economy is approximately 5.1 GDP even though the state funding has been minimal to date. WIPO has been educating the policy makers around the world and Ms. Grange expressed her thanks to the Organization for enabling everyone to understand the importance of copyright-based industries.
A new organisation is being set up in Jamaica to encourage artists, scientists and innovators to register their work.

H.E. [tag]Prince Adetokundo Kayode[/tag], Minister for Culture, Tourism and National Orientation – Nigeria
H.E. explained that in Nigeria culture is dynamic and it includes art, tradition, poetry, music, textile, foods, religion etc.
The 1988 Nigerian policy on culture is currently under review.
The Minister noted that Nigeria is a multicultural country, with diverse ways of seeing the world and creating art, practicing religion etc. Yet for Nigerians this is the “spice of life” which ensures new ideas are coming forward all the time. “Creativity thrives in diverse cultures”
The systematic management of the creative industries of Nigeria ensures that they will continue to contribute to the economy of Nigeria. All creative pursuits should be encouraged by government and individuals and an overarching policy has to exist on the country level.
In terms of government policy, Nigeria is providing support for even spread of cultural activities so that there are no huge differences between ethnic groups. Cultural festivals are organised and supported by the government and they are also promoted abroad.

Nigeria also has the Copyright and other acts to protect the work of creators against unauthorised exploitation of the cultural product.
There has been a lack of statistics as to the contribution of creative industries to the economy of Nigeria but WIPO is now due to help the country research the phenomenon.
The Minister called for an International framework of IP and Copyright which will complement the National programs. He mentioned that WIPO is already working towards that direction.

[tag]Mr. Christian Valantin[/tag], Personal Advisor to the Secretary General of the Francophonie, Organisation International de la Francophonie, France.
Mr. Valantin spoke as well on mutual enrichment as a result of cultural diversity. This in fact in the basis of the Organisation International de la Francophonie where we recognise a common language for discussion and cooperation. Naturally from this dialogue and cooperation new cultural creations will arise which will channel the imagination.
The wealth of the Francophone community lies in their diversity. The community ties together individuals who speak French but they may belong to different countries and communities and speak other languages as well.
Mr. Valantin gave the latest statistics on the contribution of cultural industries to the economy of various countries within the organisation. Cultural industries create thousands of jobs, contribute to the economy and foreign trade.
Mr. Valantin stressed that 6-8 companies own the production of culture in the world. That concentration has a very negative effect on culture internationally and especially in countries of the South. The local artistic expression suffers as a result.
One of the obstacles to development is piracy.
International policies are extremely important and will be welcomed by most countries around the world.


[tag]WIPO[/tag] International Conference on [tag]IP[/tag] and the Creative Industries

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