At the Copyright Office, World Intellectual Property Day Focuses on Digital Creativity and Business Models
Issue No. 622 - April 26, 2016

The United States Copyright Office and the Copyright Alliance celebrated World Intellectual Property Day with a lively Copyright Matters program focused on creative collaborations made possible by digital technology, innovative business models, and fair compensation for authors and artists.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, delivered recorded remarks highlighting the Committee’s comprehensive review of the United States copyright law. Noting the “interconnected nature of U.S. copyright law,” the Chairman explained, “it is critical that Congress understand the overall impact of any changes in copyright law before proceeding with formally introduced legislation.” The Chairman also shared that the Committee will, in the weeks ahead, “identify areas where there is a likelihood of potential consensus and circulate outlines of potential reforms in those areas,” and will “convene stakeholders for further work on these potential reforms.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor and founder of HITRECORD, also delivered recorded remarks discussing the importance of intellectual property and supporting fair revenue streams that allow creators to earn compensation. Affirming the importance of intellectual property, Gordon-Levitt declared, “how it is going to work in the future, is going to be a huge part of us succeeding as a human race.” He said that intellectual property, including digital works, “has to be worth money in order for our economy to work.”

Devlin Hartline, Assistant Director of the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason University School of Law, moderated the panel discussion, which explored online collaboration, artist-centered technologies, and challenges connecting with audiences. Panelists included Jared Geller, executive producer of the open-collaborative production company HITRECORD; Anna Metcalfe, ceramic artist and founder of the wedding registry Gather; and Chase Jarvis, photographer and founder and chief executive officer of CreativeLive.

Keith Kupferschmid, chief executive officer of the Copyright Alliance delivered remarks highlighting the role of the Copyright Alliance in advocating for fair policies that support the interests of creators and innovators. Reflecting on today’s program, Kupferschmid said, “[t]oday’s World IP Day event demonstrated once again the importance of creativity and innovation to our society by highlighting the amazing creative contributions of the event’s panelists.” He recognized that the panelists, “like hundreds of thousands of other creators and innovators across the country, rely on copyright law to protect their freedom to pursue a livelihood and career based on creativity and innovation” and that “copyright law is a critical component to their success in exploring alternative business models and new ways of creating and sharing online.”

In closing the program, Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante quoted Ms. Metcalfe’s observation that there is inherent tension for artists between focusing on their own visions and working collaboratively as part of a community. “This observation applies equally well to debates and proposals about copyright law,” the Register said, “All voices are important but progress will most certainly require collaboration and consensus.”

World Intellectual Property Day, internationally observed on April 26, marks the date in 1970 when the WIPO Convention came into force. This year, the World Intellectual Property Organization established the theme “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined.”