Re-engineering the copyright dividend in the illegal copyright market : an explorative conversation
Luthuli, Lesley Thulani
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The primary argument and area of interest within this explorative study lies within the domain of copyright law enforcement of the creative industries and argues the deleterious impact that the infringement of copyright has on national and individual balance sheets and the opportunity to re-engineer the copyright dividend. Globally, creative industries are estimated to account for more than 7% of the world’s gross domestic product and are predicted to grow, on average, 10% per year. Digitization and the internet have seen to it that copyright, through inter alia the unlimted reproduction capacity of copyrights, brought by digitization and the internet, has seen its importance in the intellectual property bouquet soar. This study endevours to establish the beginning of a discourse on copyright in which the very survival of the creative industries, galvanized, for more than a century by technology and changes in technology and the security of its consumers, depends on the adopting of improved, farsighted, equitable, inclusive and stricter measures in order to protect such from both internal and external threats. From a global perspective most copyright owners and nations with few exceptions rich in copyrights, compounded by the presence of unsubstantial collaboration, suffer losses because the protection of their respective intellectual property rights such as copyright, trademarks and patents are not adequately aligned with what may be referred as the technology conversation. It is imperative that the collaborative copyright alliances develop a strategic agenda that is relevant to the technology conversation in order to re-engineer the copyright dividend where new copyright enforcement mechanisms will be deployed. In as much as this study placed greater emphasis on online infringement, physical piracy is still pervasive and it intensely contributed to the explorative conversation. Piracy effectively relieves copyright authors and the State of the royalty flows that arise from legal and transparent use of copyright. It is these royalty flows that give rise to term “copyright dividend” literally meaning the income arising from the underlying copyright assets. Seeing what is stolen by piracy as the “theft”, whether direct or indirect, of copyright dividends, the challenge to address, avert and amend such outcomes is akin to re-engineering the copyright dividend and this meant the examining of the copyright law structures influencing and regulating the trade in copyrights. In this study the focus was initially on understanding the copyright law regimes and the real challenges that influenced their respective implementations that generated a copyright dividend. Understanding exactly how well such were actually working rested on exploring the lived experiences and perceptions of ten copyright experts across the world from two primary copyright law regimes. Such an exploration was necessary as such provided the requisite insight into inter alia the legal framework wherein both the illegal market and the legal market for copyright operated, to the threats faced the copyright dividend. Five research questions were used in this study. Such served as the discussion points used in the interviews with the ten research participants.These five research questions emerged from the problematization within current , literature and supported by the research data. The obtained data were grouped in relation to the five research questions and filtered to identify commonalities amongst the ten participants. The obtained data were grouped in relation to the five research questions and filtered through a lamination process,which emerged to identify commonalities amongst the ten participants.The global copyright law system and stakeholdership presently lack the necessary strategies, capacities, will and common thought to effectively address infringement. This is the major impediment of technological advancement and thus reengineering the copyright dividend was critical. To a demonstratable extend it is independent of the progress of governments and other relevant parties affected by infringement. The data also showed that infringement is an eroding threat to intellectual property and that critical knowledge is an urgent necessity to re-install the copyright value in its global ecosystem, which is essentially achieved by diverting the copyright dividends stolen by the illegal copyright market and re-engineering the copyright dividend. The outcome is that copyright law enforcement promotes the returns of dividends and fair trade to the rightful owners in an accountable and sustainable manner, as was and is intended by the global copyright law regimes.
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