Question 1: What do you consider the most important IP issue at the moment?
- Brad Smith (Microsoft): (i) the rebalance of the needs of consumers and producers and (ii) the impact of globalisation in a world where some countries have strong IP protections and others are struggling even to establish the rule of law
- Rick Cotton (NBC): getting to grips with the role of the internet -- what are the right tools, and what are the right balances to be struck? What are the dos and don'ts? What is acceptable and what is not?
- Louise Pentland (Nokia): the levelling of the playing field and convergence in the field of high tech.
- Kent Walker (Google): while piracy remains an issue, the accommodation of the needs of a new generation of creators is important. On the patent side, trolls must be addressed.
- Paul T. Cappuccio (Time Warner): (i) bringing the rest of the world up to the US standard of role of law; (ii) how to address consumer demand while still making money.
Question 2: globally, but excluding the United States, which is the best continent in which to trade?
- Brad Smith: Russia has made progress in terms of tackling piracy, but it's politically quite unstable at the moment.
- Rick Cotton: for a content-based company, the best potential for growth lies in, er, anywhere that has the best potential for growth plus enforcement ...
- Louise Pentland: Africa, Asia, Latin America -- which are also some of the most challenging areas for IP. Africa in particular doesn't have a legacy of old technologies to hold it back.
- Kent Walker: Africa has phenomenal growth right now, in excess of 5% per annum as a whole. Heavy investment in infrastructure and capacity can be seen there.
- Paul T. Cappuccio: Eastern Europe and Latin America. Western Europe grows too slowly.
Question 3: what about China?
- Brad Smith: "I think life is complicated". China is the largest PC market in the world, 73 million having been sold there last year. There have been some improvements in copyright enforcement. Microsoft expects to file around 800 infringement actions this year, because it's worth it, and the company enjoys a 96% success rate.
- Louise Pentland: the Chinese has made huge progress in helping western companies tackle anti-counterfeiting. There is political interference, but that is by no means unique to China -- it exists in Europe too.
- Kent Walker: censorship and control of information is Google's big issue. This is something that requires government support.