After a busy and interesting first day of the London Book Fair (on which see here), this blogger returned for the second day of the fair filled with excitement for the range of activities lying ahead of her.
Once again, there were simply too many stands and seminars to describe or even attend everything, so today’s post will focus on the Charles Clark Memorial Lecture 2014.
Now in its sixth year, the Charles Clark Memorial Lecture is an annual event hosted by The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), The Federation of European Publishers (FEP), The Publishers Association (PA) and The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) at London Book Fair.
This year’s lecture, with a welcome by Kevin Fitzgerald CMG, Chief Executive of the CLA and an introduction to the life and work of Charles Clark by his son-in-law, Thomas Drieir, Professor of Intellectual Property at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, was given by Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer & Director for International Affairs, US Patent and Trademark Office.
The lecture, titled ‘Making Copyright Work for a Global Market – Copyright Revision on both sides of the Atlantic’ compared the issues involved in the pending copyright revision processes in the EU and in the US, discussing the nature of and reasons for the similarities and differences.
It was a thoroughly interesting lecture, which both discussed the content of the US PTO’s green paper (available here) titled Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy and then moved on to pointing out both reasons for the disparities between US and EU systems – such as the existence of fair use in the US, which is not the case in the EU, and also the largely congruous outcomes of certain mechanisms, regardless of their difference in operation – for example first sale and exhaustion doctrines.
The topic of licensing was, as it always is when discussing copyright, to the fore. It was emphasised that licensing can be simplified without the need for legislative interference, however. It is up to the industries themselves to improve and streamline the process of licensing their content, availability of rights information, interoperability and territoriality of rights – this will in turn improve revenue streams. This will be achieved through a series of roundtable meetings in Boston, Nashville, Los Angeles and Berkeley, and will hopefully have a concrete outcome by the end of 2014 – whether in the form of voluntary best practice principles or a memorandum of understanding or agreement.
If anything was taken away from the lecture, it was that the US and the EU have different issues and different strengths and weaknesses, but they also have common goals in wanting to make copyright the best and the most innovative it can be. Thus they have much to learn from each other, and working together would be of benefit to those on both sides of the Atlantic.