IFRRO World Congress and International Conference 2017: transformation as the driving force of our community

In the week of 6- 9 November, over 190 attendees from 70 member organisations, plus special guests and speakers, gathered at the occasion of the IFRRO World Congress 2017 in Tokyo, img_3493.jpghosted by our Japanese member JAC (Japan Academic Association for Copyright Clearance). The event, as in previous years, kicked off with the IFRRO Board meeting on Monday 6th followed by the International Conference on Tuesday 7th with the Annual General Meeting, a Special Session on Manging Artistic Works and Newspapers and the European Group meeting taking place on Wednesday 8th. Committee, Working Groups and fora meetings took place on Thursday 9th, the last day of the Congress. 
 
IFRRO members, and special guests including representatives from ARIPO, IFLA, WIPO and Elsevier, and speakers, had the opportunity to network, meet, reach agreements, discuss business and identify best practices during the four days of the congress. The IFRRO World Congress 2017 had a special focus on new business models, the impact of new technologies and the need for transformation, without forgetting the latest relevant legal developments around the World, including the EU Copyright Directive. 
 
A highlight of this year’ congress was the IFRRO International Conference, chaired by Tracey Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer at CCC and Second Vice President of the IFRRO Board. The programme of the conference was heavily influenced by the impact of new technologies and the need for transformation not only in the publishing industry but in society as a whole. Keynote speakers were YS Chi, President of Elsevier and Kevin Fitzgerald, Acting Director, Copyright Infrastructure Division at WIPO. 
 
In his presentation, YS Chi said that in the digital age, although formats have changed, the core function of disseminating high-quality information has remained constant. He also suggested that the right strategies for protecting against IP infringement combine education, economics and enforcement. Chi emphasised that the standard modes of content sharing we have been used to are unlikely to remain the same and therefore this is an area where if we think we have finished changing and adapting, then we are literally finished. 
 
Kevin Fitzgerald highlighted the value of copyright and how that value is being addressed within WIPO. Fitzgerald’s speech also included a focus on new technologies and the need to adapt in the shape of new business models and product development. Fitzgerald shared with the audience that what WIPO learned from the Global Digital Content Conference last year, was that creative industries are not in decline, and that “successful business models must give customers the type of content they want, in the format and at the time they want it, rather than in ways which are convenient to providers”. Finally, Kevin Fitzgerald confirmed WIPO’s readiness to continue working with IFRRO to deliver positive impacts for the international communities that we all belong to. 
 
Other topics at the IFRRO International Conference included Trends Impacting Society 5.0: Healthcare, Aging Society, Information Access, a speech delivered by Bill Hall, President at Ipsos Healthcare Japan Ltd and Japan Head, Ipsos Business Consulting. Hall offered an overview of the way that Japanese market is being shaped by the needs of aging population, and how technology will respond. 

In a panel on Copyright and Piracy: Lessons from Manga Culture, speakers Kae Winters, Marketing, TOKYOPOP and Takayuki Tsukasaki, Secretary General, Content Overseas Distributions Association (CODA) discussed how Manga Culture has been tackling its own form of piracy (escanlation). This discussion was moderated by Michael Healy, Executive Director, International Relations, CCC. The meeting concluded with a panel on Fake News & Framing: No Alternative Facts, with Angela Mills Wade, Chair of Europe Analytica and Executive Director of the European Publishers Council, Jonathan Lockwood, Vice President, Corporate Counsel, Getty Images, Brett Miller, Economy Team Leader for Japan & Korea, Bloomberg News and Adam Suckling, CEO, Copyright Agency, discussing fake news, its implications and the legal consequences. 
 
The closing remarks of the Conference were delivered by Tracey Armstrong, who said that the main takeaway of the event should be inspiration to change, adapt and transform.