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In a fiery keynote conversation that ended the World Creators Summit in Washington, DC (June 4 & 5), electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre rallied creators around the world to action, asking them to “shake the trees” and “restore our positive and dynamic image” by seizing the message of the intellectual property debate.

“We’re seen as old-fashioned, being seated on their pots of gold and scared of the future,” he lamented to his interviewers Edmund Lam (CEO & Director, COMPASS – Singapore) and Luciano Marchione (Director General, SAVA – Argentina). “We have to […] stop complaining and just go for it.”

Faced with the meteoric rise of internet businesses, founded by “kids who didn’t realise the kind of collateral damage they would create all over the world,” Jarre says there is only one way forward and that is to “convey a clear simple message on a global point of view.

As for the perceived obstacles created by the digital shift, Jarre was unfazed. “I always considered authors’ rights as being quite timeless because it’s not linked to a physical support,” he said. “A smartphone is much less smart if you get rid of music, films, images, words, news and all the rest of our content. We are responsible for the smart part of smart phones and that should be taken into consideration.”

As candidate for the presidency of CISAC, he envisions transforming the Confederation into a “United Nations of Creators” where “we can push a button and have 20,000 artists signing a petition in 1 hour.”

Jarre posited that we may have a lot to learn from developing nations like China, Brazil and India, who are just beginning to wake up to the value of intellectual property laws, but who are able to implement laws with the current technologies already in place.

“Too often the conversation seems to be a dialogue between Europe and America,” he continued. “But when you think of aboriginal patterns or graphics from the Maori or Fiji constantly stolen by advertising agencies or fashion designers, we see that intellectual property is something much wider than just our problem in our countries and we have a lot to learn and give back to those territories.”

He sees CISAC as the ideal vehicle for a global mobilisation of creators, saying, “the beauty of an org such as CISAC it’s probably the first and only organisations gathering different sectors of creation and that’s the challenge for the new actors of the internet.”

In addition to looking to countries around the world, Jarre prescribed a partnership between creators and members the media, which have just now realised that they are in the same boat as far getting paid for their work. “This is a big advantage. Now it’s a matter of gathering forces with the media to put IP as a priority for everyone on the planet,” he concluded. “There is one word that can sum up what we’re talking about: Education, of ourselves, to the [people on the] street, to the public opinion. Then we solve the problem.”
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