Wednesday 26 August 2015

UK-China Copyright Week: can it deliver, and will it?

You may not have realised it -- and this blogger certainly didn't -- but next week is UK-China Copyright Week. It's only a five-day week rather than the conventional seven-day variety, possibly on account of the shrinkage in China's economy, but it's a sweet idea anyway. The UK IPO's media statement below says it all:
Firms from the UK’s world-leading creative industries sector will travel to China, with officials from the UK Intellectual Property Office, to strengthen relations with Chinese counterparts. UK-China copyright week takes place from 31 August to 4 September 2015 and is the latest in a series of high level international events to promote and protect intellectual property across borders. The UK Intellectual Property Office has coordinated a week long programme of events in conjunction with the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).

Headed by Dr Ros Lynch, the UK IPO’s Director of Copyright and Enforcement, the delegation including representatives of the UK’s world class creative industries will participate in events in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. They will share best practice on key areas of reform such as collective licensing, extended collective licensing, broadcasting & related rights, orphan works, copyright enforcement, enforcement of other IP rights and to engage with copyright creators and owners from both the UK and China [do we even know what best practice in all these fields is?]

Copyright underpins success in publishing and all other creative industries. UK physical book export sales to mainland China increased 6% to £57 million in 2014 and it is vital that we create an environment to protect this market and foster future growth [it will be interesting to see how this growth can he sustained and protected, given that the purchase of foreign copyright-protected material is presumably going to be much more expensive following China's currency devaluations].

China is a key trading partner for the UK and a market of enormous potential for the creative industries. China has the fourth largest TV market in the world and the third largest radio market. China has seen a boom in its online entertainment sector and is likely become one of the world’s top 10 music markets over the next few years. The Chinese broadcasting industry is estimated to grow strongly over the next 5 years to over US $11.5 billion (estimated £7.3 billion) there is still tremendous potential for further growth [one wonders whether this figure will need to be revised downwards in light of the recent slump in China's economic performance].

China’s copyright law is currently being revised across a range of areas including: digital environment & internet service providers; sound recordings & public performance rights; works of applied art ownership provisions for films; limitations & exceptions (in particular regarding software); orphan works; compulsory licences & collective management; exercise of rights; droit-de-suite/artist resale right; technological protection measures; and civil infringement and administrative enforcement.

Copyright Week will provide a unique opportunity for businesses and policymakers from both countries to engage directly with government officials and discuss these revisions in depth. Discussions will aim to maximise the benefits of an effective copyright regime.
This blogger is very fond of international cooperation, but he also wonders how the benefit -- if any -- of events such as this will be measured and whether the funds expended in participation in this week could not have been put to better use by his servants in the UK IPO.


Anonymous said...

I see real long term benefits in the debates that will take place this week.
The developments to copyright law taking place within the People's Republic of China are of real significance for UK industry.
We could do well to follow some of the leads. How about UK ratification of the Beijing Treaty?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Anonymous.

While no-one can argue that the developments to copyright law in China are of real significance for UK industry, the same can be said for every other developed country in the world. Don't tell me that this exercise in Chinese law reform depends on visits from Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Holland etc etc

It's also wrong to think that UK ratification of the Beijing Treaty depends on a bunch of civil servants being sent on a jolly holiday to China. It's called the Beijing Treaty because that's where it was concluded and the UK is of course a contracting party to it. So far only one EU member has ratified or acceded and that's Slovakia, but a slow update is regrettably normal for IP treaties. IP may be important enough to make governments send civil servants off on their travels but it clearly isn't important enough for them to get off their backsides and deposit an instrument of accession or ratification with Mr Gurry in WIPO.