A press release from the United Kingdom's Intellectual Property Office on 2 September, "Partnership - The key to protecting the creative industries", is worthy of comment, on the assumption that it reflects British governmental thought on the future of the copyright-based industries. It reads as follows:
"Partnership between government, industry and law enforcement is the key to tackling issues creative industries [When did 'creative industries' become the coded expression for the media alone? The IPKat is sure that pharma, telecoms and civil engineering are also hugely creative ...] face in the digital age said David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property in the UK, when he addressed the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in Washington today.
The creative industries are big business and are major contributors to the US and British economies, earning them $71 billion and $19 billion each year respectively [But not all of this is the result of creativity, moans Merpel -- how much of it is generated by 'repeats'?].
In times of global economic uncertainty creative industries are a key asset [Aren't they an even bigger (key-er?) asset at times of global economic certainty, if they exist?] and will help ensure economic success in both the short and long term [especially with copyright term extension], provided they give consumers the content they desire [Er, yes].
David Lammy wants to see the US and UK working together to help the industry continue to flourish in both countries.Three little kittens here
UK Film Industry research indicates that film and TV industries lost almost a billion dollars in 2007 alone through piracy [sadly, this figure seems fairly small compared to the $19bn mentioned above].
He stressed infringers are depriving creators of the rewards they deserve, but the industry needs to offer consumers what they want and provide attractive alternatives to pirated films [Ah, so the assumption here is that what creators deserve = more than consumers pay pirates but less than they pay for legitimate product?].
David Lammy said:
"For the American and British movie industries, the challenge of the 21st century isn’t persuading people to watch movies. That demand is there already [Not really. People want to watch, and pirates want to pirate, the popular films. The film industry is faced with the challenge of making its movies popular, or they won't be profitable]. It’s making sure those who do watch movies are paying customers. rather than pirates.
"I want to see government, industry and the law enforcement community working together to ensure we find effective tailored solutions to the different challenges that piracy brings us [Closing his eyes for a moment, and ignoring the grandiloquent phrases, the IPKat is striving to visualise what an "effective tailored solution" looks like, never mind what it means].
"Britain is good at enforcing copyright [Nonsense. It's largely copyright owners who do the enforcing, while most of Britain does the infringing]. Partnerships between enforcement agencies, government and industry are yielding good results: in fact, convictions for IP offences have tripled between 2002 and 2007 [Says the IPKat, if I start with one kitten and end up with three, I've tripled the number of kittens -- but it's still a very small number. How many convictions are we actually talking about. And, assuming that some people who are convicted carry out more than one infringement, how many people have been convicted?].
"However rights holders should not be relying on the threat of legal action to force people into buying their products, rather we should be looking for changes in consumer behaviour [Some would say that the current crisis is caused by changes in consumer behaviour. Once they used to pay for everything and couldn't easily share it; now they get lots of content for free and share it] and the way we meet the changing needs of these consumers.
"Partnership [with whom?] and innovation by businesses [note the subtle change: first they were 'creative industries' but now, when we're worrying about timid and uncertain consumers, they are suddenly 'businesses'] can help consumers understand the problems illegal downloads cause creators and performers, giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to act within the law.
"If we provide the right combination of enforcement, education and forward- looking policy we can build a culture that provides consumers with legitimate access to the content they want."