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AmCham Focus on the topic of industrial property, copyright and related rights, January 27, 2016, Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana

Addressing the challenges of intellectual property unprofessionally and in a strategically irresponsible manner can be fatal for Slovenia.

In the context of regular meetings of the most prominent internationally-oriented businesses in Slovenia and under the auspices of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Slovenia), this AmCham Focus debate highlighted the importance and value of protecting intellectual property rights, with a special emphasis on protection of copyright and related rights. A special panel discussed international systemic solutions in the field of collective copyright and related rights management in Slovenia, in addition to a panel discussion by the most significant organizers and protectors of copyright.

Authority figures from the field of intellectual property, including the renowned professor dr. Joseph Straus, a member of the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, emphasized the need for greater awareness on the importance, values and the value of IP among participants.

Prof. Bojan Pretnar, PhD, pointed out the Slovenian mistake in being unable (or unwilling) to evaluate the real value of intellectual property in the privatization process. We did not even charge for trademarks, patents or other forms of soft capital in the most established privatization cases. “Addressing the challenges of intellectual property unprofessionally and in a strategically irresponsible way can be fatal for Slovenia,” emphasized Pretnar, an undisputed authority figure in the field of intellectual property.

Prof. Gorazd Trpin, PhD, particularly emphasized the role of the state in protecting intellectual property, copyright and related rights. He highlighted the state’s neglect of the exact elements, which should be its driving force for development in this area and support the distinctive creativity of Slovenia and its authors. The regulatory process in this field is deficient in itself. “The Ministry’s negotiations with the interested public resemble a dialogue between the deaf,” critically pointed out Trpin.

Gregor štibernik, the Director of AIPA, one of the best structured organizations for collective enforcement and securing of the rights of the authors, performers, and producers of audio-visual works, listed a series of cases of inappropriate attitude of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Office for Intellectual Property, toward important issues regarding copyright enforcement. We are in fact one of the few countries without a department of copyright and related rights within the state apparatus. We urgently need a systemic and professional approach in this area. The chaos which we are currently facing should represent an opportunity for a new era of systematic management of all copyright issues, emphasized štibernik, and called the conference organizers as well as regulators to action. “The stability of the collective management system is reflected in the stability of the country. In 10 years, we have replaced eight Ministers of Economy and 6 Directors of SIPO. We must ask ourselves how to prevent the negative consequences of such frequent leadership changes on collective copyright management and therefore also on the economy,” stressed štibernik.

Answering the question whether or not there is actually room for the arrival of foreign collective management organizations into Slovenia, Viljem Marjan Hribar, the acting director of IPF (Institute for Protection of Phonogram Performers and Producers Rights), emphasized that the current proposal does not envisage the abolition of the monopoly, which we have no problems with. However, it is necessary to implement common payment orders, to avoid confusion and the lack of legal security in the market.”

A renowned actress Katarina Čas shared her personal experiences and appealed for an equal respect of copyrighted work in all fields, as copyright owners are not treated equally. “Slovenia is a signatory to the Beijing Treaty and thus in principle supports copyright protection for actors. However, this should also be concretized in the Copyright and Related Rights Act.”

A lawyer Cene Grčar gave a very interesting presentation on a single point for handling copyright and thus shared a development vision of collective copyright enforcement, which would benefit the copyright holders and users alike. He emphasized that before this vision is realized, the system of collective rights management and above all, a solid foundation on the part of the state, need to be formulated. “The benefits of a single point for copyright handling are manifold and stretch in all directions – it would be beneficial for copyright users, collective organizations and greater control,” further added Grčar.

There needs to be a greater awareness of the topic of intellectual property and its opening into the practical and creative sphere. The discussion on practical cases of exercising and managing copyright and related rights, which concluded the AmCham Focus conference, appeared as a call for establishing highly efficient systemic solutions and a constructive dialogue with the state, with the goal for these highly developed forms of collective copyright management to receive a strategic rights treatment in Slovenia. At the time of adopting new sector-specific legislation, such discussions are particularly welcome, as they reinforce the understanding and enable an exchange of views on the topic. We therefore hope that the government recognizes the importance of the subject matter.

See the photo gallery HERE.

Check out the highlights of the AmCham Focus: VIDEO.

Parners of AmCham Focus: