CHENGDU/SINGAPORE – On September 16, 2014, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Christopher Dodd delivered a keynote speech at the World International Copyright Organization (WIPO) Copyright Forum that made clear how China – and the world – needs to make greater efforts to protect creative content. Speaking to an international audience of more than 200 guests, the former U.S. Senator brought up the importance and impact of the Beijing Treaty, which regulates copyright for audiovisual performances and expands performers’ rights.
“Copyright has been the life-blood of film and television industries everywhere for as long as they have existed,” said Dodd, as he praised WIPO for its work persuading governments to ratify the treaty into international law. “It has allowed creators and artists, safe in the knowledge that they can earn a living from their work, the freedom to experiment with new ideas, bring incredible stories to life, and develop groundbreaking filmmaking distribution technologies.”
Senator Dodd’s sentiments were clearly reflective of statements made on the opening day of the Conference such as those made by Yan Xiaohong, deputy chief of the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC), who said that the copyright industries had become an engine for economic growth: “More than three decades of reform and opening up to the outside world have seen a rapid development in China of key sectors of the copyright industries such as literature, art, radio, film and television, arts and crafts, computer software and information network.”
Dodd highlighted the same theme in front of an enthusiastic audience of about 150 young filmmakers and students at the two-day “MPA-CICE International New Media and Short Film Development Forum and Workshop,” held in conjunction with the WIPO conference and jointly organized by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and China International Copyright Expo (CICE).
“As we contemplate your aspirations and future careers as filmmakers, the importance of creating the right environment and ecosystem for developing talent and innovation bears mention,” said Dodd. “Without a doubt, the nurturing of artistry and innovation goes hand-in-hand with the active protection of intellectual property.”
Opening the workshop were speakers: Yu Cike, Director General of the Copyright Management Department, NCAC; and Mr. Ren Zhonglun, Chairman of the China Film Copyright Association and Shanghai Film Group Corp. The event – which brought together a diverse mix of international and Chinese filmmakers to focus on film creation and delivery in the digital age – included a master class and lectures, panel discussions, a short film scriptwriting competition and screenings of award-winning short films from around the world. They were joined by executives from China’s vibrant new media and Internet companies actively involved in the marketing and promotion of movies, as well as the investment and production of feature films.
The workshop and Senator Dodd’s presence illustrates the MPA’s long history of working closely with the screen community in China – and MPA’s active involvement in mentoring its up-and-coming generation of filmmakers. Since 2006, the MPA has partnered with various Chinese organizations to deliver film workshops that are popular fixtures at major film festivals and industry events throughout China.
The Chinese film industry continues to gain momentum – along with the increasing recognition that its growth opportunities and innovation require effective content protection. Total box office in the first half of the year reached USD$2.2 billion, up 25% from the same period last year. An estimated 2,939 new screens were added to the market, bringing the total national screen count to 21,134. Box office reporting suggests that China’s box office in 2014 will likely reach a landmark USD$4.8 billion (RMB30 billion), representing another remarkable year-on-year growth of over 30%.
Here’s a link to our press release.