Why Copyright Matters

    Throughout European history, the products of human imagination have played a vital role in shaping the world we live in. They expand our horizons and give rise to ever-greater creativity and innovation.

    Creative ideas are unique. They need encouragement, dedication and protection. Creators must be rewarded for their artistic, intellectual and financial investments. This remains absolutely fundamental in the digital age. While technology is revolutionizing how consumers interact with creative content, providing exciting new opportunities for all of us, Europe must continue to ensure that the right conditions are in place for professional and high quality creative works to flourish. This requires strong intellectual property rights that foster creativity, innovation and investment in new talent, for example up-and-coming script writers, directors and producers.

    In the film and television industries and in the creative sectors more broadly, players – large and small – rely on intellectual property rights to spread risks and enable different players to work together. Copyright exclusivity and contractual freedom underpin Europe’s delicate ecosystem of creation and financing.

    Each creative work is a prototype that is created in a specific way and for a specific market. Often, its economic value cannot be determined until it has been released in a given market. Due to this uncertainty and high upfront investment in creativity, development and marketing, creative content involves significant artistic and commercial risks. Companies tend to work on multiple projects at the same time in order to minimize the risks of an undertaking that might result in losses. Similarly, a successful creative project can usually offset the losses of several other projects.

    For example, several successful films are typically needed in order to make up for other projects which either had to be abandoned at project development stage or which simply did not recover production, marketing and distribution costs. The highly collaborative nature of creative content markets across Europe often results in a commercial model where several stakeholders commit to pre-financing a project before it is carried out.

    The contribution of the film industry to the European economy

    The creative and cultural sectors are a major contributor to the European economy. Overall, IP-intensive industries account for 26% of employment and 39% of GDP in the EU, within which the copyright-intensive sectors play a major part.  Core copyright-intensive industries generate 7 million jobs, contribute approximately €509 billion to GDP and produce a multi-billion-euro trade surplus(Source: OHIM/EPO). As an important source of jobs, especially for young people, they continuously invest in Europe’s future.

    The film industry reflects this dynamism and is growing. Total investments in film production grew by 38% between 2000 and 2008, reaching €4.72bn (Source: ScreenDigest). This is reflected in the ever growing number of films produced in Europe: an astonishing 1,546 films in 2013.

    The innovativeness of the creative and cultural sectors depends above all on millions of innovative, creative and highly valued people, ranging from actors to projector operators, carpenters building film sets, make-up artists bringing characters to life, 3D experts using technology to create the next great special effects, and so on. At a time when other industries require employees with university or advanced degrees, the entertainment industry also remains accessible to people with less advanced degrees. A high school diploma, several years of good technical training, and on-the-job training, can already open employment opportunities in the film and television industry.  True for the film industry all over the world, these are not just jobs – they become careers.