ArtsWatch: Sizing Up Europe's Creative Economy

Following in the United States' footsteps, EU quantifies intellectual property's economic importance
October 07, 2013 -- 7:30 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

IP-Intensive Industries In EU Directly Responsible For 56 Million Jobs
On Sept. 30 the European Commission heralded the release of its first-ever study quantifying the overall economic impact of intellectual property rights. Conducted by the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the report followed a methodology comparable to the first-ever U.S. study in 2012 and found that IP-intensive industries accounted for 56 million jobs, which is 26 percent of EU employment and 39 percent of the EU's economy. European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said, "What this study shows us is that the use of intellectual property rights in the economy is ubiquitous: from high-tech industries to manufacturers of sports goods, toys and computer games, all are making intensive use of not just one, but often several types of intellectual property rights." While the U.S. study was noteworthy for revealing the sizable chunk of America's economy dependent on intellectual property, we now know that IP has a comparable but even greater impact in Europe. These rights don't just deserve protection on their merits. Intellectual property directly supports a substantial proportion of the Western world's economic activity.

British Lawmakers Call For An IP Champion, Criticize Google
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of British Parliament's House of Commons issued a Sept. 26 report titled "Supporting The Creative Economy." Expressing concern whether IP rights would continue to be adequately protected, committee chair John Whittingdale singled out Google's search results. "We are … unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop directing consumers to illegal, copyright infringing material on the flimsy excuse that some of the sites may also host some legal content," said Whittingdale. "Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block, for example, child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content. Copyright infringement is a serious crime that threatens our economic future." Estimating the annual contribution of British IP industries to the UK economy at more than $56 billion, the committee's report also called for creation of a new government position to champion and protect the value of UK IP.

New Zealand Rights Societies Go All In For Music Licensing
On Oct. 1 the Australasian Performing Right Association and New Zealand's PPNZ Music Licensing announced a new joint license through OneMusicNZ.com, offering combined public performance rights for publishing and recording. APRA Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey said, "There has been an enormous amount of faith from both sides shown in the development of this new licensing operation. We are really excited about what it will mean for both our customers and members alike." PPNZ Music Licensing CEO Damian Vaughan added, "Our customers were telling us that the international norm, which is a two-license model, was frustrating and confusing. ... Too many customers were not even aware they needed both licenses. So now we're dealing with the complexities behind the scenes. That's our job."

Copyright Office Releases Small Claims Report And Shuts Down
The Copyright Office responded to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 30 with a report on possible small claims adjudication that has been two years in the making. The proposal would limit damages awarded by the new tribunal to $30,000 per case, permit testimony by videoconferencing, require voluntary participation by all parties to a small claim, and involve hiring three new judges, two of whom would have experience in copyright law. For the large contingent of independent artists unable to afford significant litigation costs, this proposed process might provide the only practical means of remuneration for a copyright infringement claim. In related news, on Oct. 1 the Copyright Office's website was shuttered as part of the federal government shutdown. Online submission is available for new original works, however registrations will not be processed until Congress resolves the impasse on the federal budget.

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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