World IP Day – A Celebration of Creativity and Innovation

April 25, 2016

Every April 26, artists, creators and innovators from around the world – and those who value their creations – join together to celebrate World IP Day.  At the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), we are proud to join with them, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other groups dedicated to protecting copyright and intellectual property to celebrate this annual event.

This year’s theme: “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined,” is particularly timely. The last two decades has seen explosive growth in opportunities for legally distributing creative works online. This is thanks, in part, to the groundwork WIPO has laid out through international treaties that ensure content can be protected online. There are now more ways than ever to watch movies and TV shows legally, and on more devices, than ever before.

This same explosive growth is helping to create new markets and industries, and allowing creative voices from developing countries to emerge and share their stories with the world. Take Nigeria, whose film community has undergone a stunning renaissance in recent years, for example. Digital cameras and new filmmaking technology have made it far more affordable for creators like Kunle Afolayan to create great films that have helped raise the bar for Nollywood’s professional standards. And entrepreneurs like Jason Njoku and his platform Irokotv are providing new outlets for African filmmakers to distribute their films.

But while we celebrate these great accomplishments, it is critically important for us to recognize that without strong copyright laws and a united commitment, large-scale commercial piracy and IP theft can seriously damage the growth of these legal offerings and the economic and cultural development they provide.

Piracy knows no boundaries and emerging artists like Afolayan, or innovative entrepreneurs like Njoko, are some of the most at risk from it.  That is why protecting intellectual property remains such a vital cornerstone of today’s digital world. And it is why the MPAA is thrilled to join with our friends and colleagues at WIPO once again on World IP Day to recognize the importance of intellectual property and promote the emergence of exciting new creative voices in the digital age.