Bram has had an exciting and thought provoking day at the Copyright Symposium in Sydney, a treat for anyone who has a 'thing' about copyright!
First, we had an overview from Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, on the key issues being thought about and dealt with in WIPO. He presented an optimistic view on the improving dialogue between content providers and technology developers, signalling a possibility of some progress on future copyright solutions in the digital environment. It is a slowly, slowly approach to copyright reform generally, hopefully building confidence that reform CAN be achieved. Dr Gurry expressed the view that we need a digital roadmap to set out the elements of how we may get to an effective digital marketplace.
William Patry, copyright guru and Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, followed up with an entertaining and engaging presentation. The 'take away' from his presentation was that it was likely we would see a one stop shop for the whole world, selling digital content (I wonder what shop that may be??) and that global copyright reform needs to respond to consumer expectations (and yes he conceded creators should be paid for their creations). He argued that law may not be the answer to all of a problems, but rather should be viewed, as appropriate, as a tool to solve them.
We then had a response from Brett Cottle, Chief Executive of APRA and staunch defender of copyright, who reinstated the law as leader of change, rather than merely a follower. Brett disputed whether responding to the demand for instant gratification was a good thing. Importantly, he suggested that some merit may be found in the commercial/ non-commercial distinction in terms of formulating exceptions for the digital environment (of this, more tomorrow).
Francis Gurry's view on this was that whilst consumer expectations were important, they should be tempered somewhat with realistic allowances for payment of creators.
All in all a great session, which I think has set the scene for the next two days.
Kim Weatherall and Michael Williams followed this up with a session on the question of whether copyright needs radical reform or whether its foundations are sound (yes just that small and easy to solve q). Kim was characteristically interesting, well informed and had great slides.
We then had sessions on Authorship (is there a crisis?), doing business online (which ended on a depressing note, but we all agreed we value Australian content) and Traditional Knowledge. Bram notes that a highlight was the recognition that interactive games are the real growth sector (oh hoorah!)
Interesting and valuable things are happening here on the copyright front, stay tuned!