WIPO Director General Visits Beijing, Addresses International Copyright Forum
November 20, 2010
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry undertook an official visit to Beijing on November 18-19, 2010 during which he met Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan to discuss a range of issues relating to intellectual property. During his visit, Mr. Gurry also opened a major International Copyright Forum and Expo on music at which he addressed the challenges confronting the music sector in the digital environment. These events were organized by WIPO in cooperation with the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).
The Director General also met with Mr. Liu Qi, the top ranking Chinese official from the Beijing Municipality. In addition, Mr. Gurry held bilateral meetings with Minister Liu Binjie, National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), Minister Zhou Bohua, State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), and Commissioner Tian Lipu, State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO).
A memorandum of understanding aiming at further strengthening cooperation between China and WIPO was signed by Mr. Gurry and the Minister for Science and Technology (MOST), Mr. Wan Gang.
Opening the International Copyright Forum and Expo “Music: Sounding Out the Future” on November 18, alongside Minister Liu Binjie, Mr. Gurry said that while the music sector has experienced many technological changes over the centuries, none has been as challenging as digital technologies. He said that business models are adapting, but not necessarily adeptly enough to maintain the market. Mr. Gurry further noted that an underlying condition still needs to be addressed before they can be truly effective. That condition is the alignment of legal forms of online exploitation with the expectations of actors in the online environment. Actors expect a global marketplace, a space where composers, performers and their business associates can aspire to a global audience, where consumers can aspire to a global repertoire and where the transactions needed to realize those aspirations may take place simply and quickly, if not automatically.
Mr. Gurry said that “the absence of alignment of legal forms and the expectations of actors in the online environment exacerbates the problem of piracy, as expectations can be satisfied more easily through illegal than through legal means.” To achieve the needed alignment, he proposed “a simple, speedy system of global licensing” which requires “as a first step, a global repertoire database on the basis of which the licensing transactions could take place.” Mr. Gurry stressed that “a global repertoire database is an idea whose time has come. It is an essential piece of global infrastructure for the digital economy and society.”
The Director General also attended the WIPO/NCAC Global Original Concert, which featured Chinese and internationally renown artists and performers, as well as the WIPO Creativity Award Ceremony.
During his visit, Mr. Gurry was awarded with an Honorary PhD degree from the Renmin University of China in Beijing, one of China’s top academic institutions and a leading IP research and teaching center. He also visited Tencent, China’s largest Internet-based company.
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