Three questions to Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

In the lead-up to the World Copyright Summit, organised by CISAC (Brussels, 7 & 8 June 2011), each speaker will express their views on copyright and creative industries in the digital environment. Today, Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General, also solicitor, Law professor and co-author of “International Intellectual Property in an Integrated World Economy”, answered our three questions.

Why did you accept CISAC’s invitation to address the participants of the World Copyright Summit?
Francis Gurry: Cooperation between CISAC and the World Intellectual Property Organization dates back some 40 years, so we were delighted to again be invited to its flagship event, the biennial World Copyright Summit. This is the first time that I personally am attending the Summit. I accepted the invitation because it offers an exciting opportunity to interact with the collecting society community and a cross-section of creative industries stakeholders. I look forward to exploring together some of the critical questions surrounding how we create value and finance culture in the 21st century.

As Director General of WIPO, what would be the general message you would like to deliver the audience (creators, authors’ societies, policy-makers, entertainment and digital industry representatives)?
FG: International challenges require international solutions. During the last century, a complex copyright infrastructure has evolved to accommodate the various rights and interests of creators, authors, publishers, producers, consumers and governments. This infrastructure has been confined to national boundaries. In a networked world, where creative works know no boundaries, the absence of integrated global infrastructure is seriously threatening the future financing of culture.

What would be the conditions ensuring that authors’ rights and creative industries continue to flourish in the digital environment?
FG: It is essential that the creative industries adapt to the reality of digital technology and the Internet. Legal and business mechanisms for creating value must align with the expectations of actors in the digital environment. This highlights the need for global infrastructure, underpinning fast and efficient access to a comprehensive repertoire of creative works with competitive pricing. We need to be creative about different industries, and to analyze the different value chains of production so as to ensure that those involved in authoring and marketing content are adequately remunerated and sustained.

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