In a recent speech at a conference hosted by the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology, Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, said copyright infrastructure needs to evolve to meet new technological realities.
According to Gurry, if copyright fails to evolve, it is likely to become altogether irrelevant.
Despite his certainty that intellectual property mechanisms need to change, Gurry was hesitant to offer a comprehensive description of the policy decisions needed. According to Gurry, there is no "single magical answer." Rather, a combination of law, cultural change, institutional collaboration, new infrastructure and updated business models need to evolve over time.
Gurry told his audience the purpose of copyright is not to influence technological possibilities for creative expression, nor to preserve old business models built on outdated technology. Rather, its aim is to utilize "any and all technologies for the production and distribution of cultural works" and to ensure that creators, performers and business associates are able to "extract some value" from the cultural exchanges enabled by their creations.
According to Gurry, copyright infrastructure should be geared toward the promotion of "cultural dynamism," rather than "vested business interests.”
The conference, called Blue Sky: Future Directions in Copyright Law, was held on February 25 at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.