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US Ambassador at WAAPA

Monday, 27 February 2012

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US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich has addressed an audience of Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) students on the topic of protecting intellectual property during a recent visit to Perth.

Ambassador Bleich outlined the efforts of both the US and Australia in finding a balance between protecting the intellectual property of artists while also ensuring the internet remains a place to collaborate and share ideas.

“On one hand we want to protect intellectual property rights and we want to ensure people like you, and the industries that support you, have all the incentives to invest money and energy in creating art,” Ambassador Bleich said.

“On the other, we don’t want to regulate so aggressively that we interfere with the legitimate activities occurring on the internet.”

“One of the reasons we have these deep investments in the arts and we have vibrant entertainment industries in both Australia and the United States is that our nations take very seriously our responsibility for protecting intellectual property rights."

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Kerry Cox said that addressing the problem of online piracy was a relevant topic for WAAPA students.

“It is an exciting time with many new opportunities and business models now available to them. But it is also important to ensure that they can both protect their intellectual property and exploit it to its fullest,” Professor Cox said.

Ambassador Bleich also spoke about diplomatic efforts to protect artists in developing countries. He said the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would involve not only nations with large, established entertainment industries, but also countries including Chile, Peru and Vietnam.

“Pushing for intellectual property protection doesn’t just benefit countries like ours. It also benefits the playwright, poet and composer in developing countries because unless those countries take the protection of intellectual property seriously, they’re going to find their people and their economy suffers. Investors won’t invest, markets for art will falter and artists won’t get paid.”

“For those of us that love film, art and TV, we are ultimately going to be deprived of seeing new works from these countries.”

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