The meeting earlier this month, brought together members of the regional committee of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). IFPI is the international music industry body representing 1,500 record producers in 76 countries, including the Middle East.
The meeting, which was sponsored by the Technology, e-Commerce and Media Free Zone (TECOM), Dubai, is part of the industry’s stepped up effort to raise awareness of intellectual property rights of music producers and strengthen support for the fight against piracy in the Middle East. This has been evidenced by fruitful meetings between IFPI representatives and key government officials in the UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait and Jordan in recent months.
Following the regional committee meeting, local music companies such as Music Master, SIDI, Vanilla, Megastar, Rotanna, Abdool studios and Founoon, will be establishing a UAE association, affiliated to the IFPI, to coordinate efforts towards creating a healthier music industry in the UAE. The local industry will also establish a body to oversee the licensing industry of recordings for broadcasting and public performance, with the objective of earning appropriate royalties from broadcasters and other users of recordings, such as hotels.
Trevor Pearcy, Director of Administration & Planning at the IFPI Secretariat said “The Middle East music market has exciting growth potential, but we are having to fight piracy levels that are among the highest in the world. The industry is now stepping up its anti-piracy efforts in the region, but support from governments is critical”.
In October a high-level IFPI delegation met Mr Sakhr Gobash, Undersecretary, UAE Ministry of Information & Culture, significantly boosting the music industry’s confidence in initiating steps towards enforcing the industry’s intellectual property rights.
In June 2003, the IFPI met the Lebanese Prime Minister, Mr Rafiq Hariri, to urge him to take steps to protect the intellectual property rights of music producers. Lebanon has the dubious distinction having one of the region’s highest music piracy levels of over 70 per cent.
IFPI had similar meetings in October with the Ministry of Information in Kuwait and the Ministries of Information and Culture in Jordan to lobby government support for strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights and IFPI is optimistic about achieving concrete results due to these high-level meetings.
Frederic Giaccardo, Chairman of the IFPI regional committee, said: “A well protected intellectual property environment is necessary to promote the recording industry in the region”. Shuckri Bundakji, President of BMG MENA added that: “Regional countries that support their respective local recording industries stand to benefit greatly by creating new jobs, expanding their economies and encouraging local cultural contributions”.
Anti-Piracy campaigns in the Middle East peaked in Egypt recently when nearly 2 million counterfeit music cassettes were seized by Egyptian Police in what is said to be the biggest ever piracy raid in the Middle East. The action has great significance, because Egypt has piracy levels of around 50 per cent, among the highest in the region.
The regional companies which attended the recent IFPI meeting in the UAE represent over 90 per cent of the Arabic music industry in the Middle East & North Africa region. The five international companies which took part in the meeting represent over 90 per cent of the music market globally.
Monday, October 27- 2003 @ 14:12 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.