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Jamaica Must Take Advantage of Global Creative Industry

Chairman of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) Advisory Board, Eugene Ffolkes, says Jamaica must begin to strategically position itself to take full advantage of the lucrative global creative industry.

“Jamaica has long been a hotbed for creative and cultural industries but we have not managed, to date, to maximise the full potential or significantly monetise this industry,” he stated.

Mr. Ffolkes was speaking on Thursday (July 12) at the launch of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office’s (JIPO), ‘e-JIPO’ digitisation programme at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO) headquarters in New Kingston.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the value of the global entertainment industry increased from US$499 billion in 1998 to US$745 billion in 2010.  The global music industry alone was valued at US$168 billion in 2010 up from US$132 billion from just five years earlier.

Mr. Ffolkes noted that with the proliferation of broadband, computers and smart phones, increasingly significant numbers of persons around the world are being empowered to be innovators and creators. Through the use of the internet, people are creating, exchanging and implementing new ideas, and making those ideas available to people all around the world, with minimal barriers to entry.

Data reveals that revenue from web to television video content is estimated to grow from US$2 billion to over US$17 billion by 2014 for the United States alone. Additionally, e-Book sales have increased from three per cent to 10 per cent of the consumer book market and the forecast is for sales to reach close to US$10 billion by 2016 up from US$3.2 billion globally in 2011.

With the significant earning prospects available, the JIPO chairman said Jamaica must now aim its sights on reaping the benefits.

He said that there are many opportunities for economic growth and development for Jamaica and Jamaicans in the global creative and cultural, pointing out that the recent success of the Digital Jam 2.0 was a clear example of the prospects in the sector.

Mr. Ffolkes said that JIPO is ready to take on its role as a leader in helping Jamaicans to take advantage of this global opportunity.

“Director, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Carlos Mazal, echoed Mr. Ffolkes sentiments, pointing out that small economies in the region must take advantage of the enormous economic opportunities available from the creative industries and intellectual property (IP).

“We have no choice. We have small markets, so we need to be creative and we do have that creativity. It’s a matter of raising awareness and providing the tools that are needed to help inventors patent their inventions, and musicians protect their literary works,” he remarked.

Mr. Mazel said that IP has become part of “our everyday lives,” noting for example, that there are some 3,000 patents on a cell phone, while there are patents on paper clips, and improvements in access to lifesaving medicines.

He said that only 20 years ago IP “was the exclusive domain of the legal fraternity and highly technical colleagues. Nowadays it is recognised that IP pats across the major economic and social sectors in the landscape of the globalised world."

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