Press Release PR/2003/339
Geneva, February 26, 2003


The growing economic and cultural importance of copyright industries was the focus of discussions between the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris and the Spanish Vice-Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Mr. Mariano Zabía Lasala, on Tuesday, February 25, 2003. The meeting concluded with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Director General and the Vice Minister.

Dr. Idris and the Vice Minister agreed on the growing economic and cultural importance of copyright and related rights industries. They further stressed the need to generate greater public awareness of and respect for copyright and related rights at a time when digital technologies have boosted cross-border exploitation of protected works.

Dr. Idris underlined the economic value of copyright industries and said that better copyright management, such as that fostered by the memorandum of understanding, would serve as the basis for developing the many cultural activities associated with and protected by copyright. Copyright laws, he said, provide the framework by which businesses and persons involved in the cultural industries can make important business decisions, can rely upon and expect consistency and reliability for their operations and investments and can compete fairly.

Mr. Zabía Lasala welcomed the agreement which he said was a positive step in furthering cooperation between Spain and WIPO. He said that the activities included in the MOU would support the interests of rights holders in the copyright industries whilst ensuring an appropriate balance with the interests of the user community and the public at large.

The memorandum, which covers training, public outreach and information exchange, adopts a broad approach to copyright by stressing the importance of the development and management of cultural industries as well as public education and outreach and further provides a framework within which to promote copyright and related rights.

The MOU also seeks to support efforts to develop the copyright and related rights industries of Latin American and the Caribbean countries.

The Vice-Minister and his delegation also met with senior copyright specialists at WIPO to discuss a range of issues including the protection of audiovisual performances, the protection of broadcasting organizations, sui generis protection of databases and the implementation of the WIPO "Internet treaties" (WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty) in Spain.

Mr. Zabía Lasala was accompanied by Mr. Jose Luis Cadiz Deleito, Director General of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, H.E. Mr. Joaquín Pérez-Villanueva y Tovar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain in Geneva, Mr. Pedro Colmenares, Head of the Copyright Unit, Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Spain, and Ms. Ana Paredes, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Spain, Geneva.

For further information please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section Section at WIPO:

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