On 9 May, I attended the inauguration of the new Intellectual Property Committee of Warsaw’s International Chamber of Commerce.  Their timing couldn’t be better: In today’s marketplace, the intangible asset is king.  According studies by a US investment banking firm, intangible assets now comprise 84% of the value of companies in the S&P 500 in the digital era, up from just 17% forty years ago.

So it is only right that business groups in Poland and across Europe intensify their focus on protecting intellectual property rights.  Their value is particularly important for the creative sector, where success depends on great ideas well executed, and copyright protection for the results.

Today’s film and television industry is re-imaging and re-inventing the content market place like never before. But with amazing opportunities also come challenges, and we are at a pivotal moment for determining whether or not this progress is sustainable in the long-term.

One of the keys will be embracing diverse audiences. Europe is a collection of different nations; it is a mixture of different cultures and different histories; of different values and different beliefs; different languages and different tastes. We in the entertainment business know well that the world is not one and the same everywhere.  And we also know well that audiences want choice. They want choice in what they watch, when they watch it, and on what device they use.  And I am pleased to say that compared to other regions, Europe has achieved a vastly superior and more diverse range of online services.

That focus is why territorial licensing is so important to Europe’s film and television community in the context of EU policy discussions on the Digital Single Market.  The contractual freedom to experiment with innovative offering for local audiences, and to make deals that meet the need of local platforms is key to meeting our audiences’ demands for local content, and to supporting jobs and growth in the creative sector.

Contractual freedom, territorial licensing, copyright enforcement – in the end, all of it rests on the foundation of Europe’s strong tradition of free expression. Without free expression, the film industry would be a mere shadow of itself and this is why the MPA was once again proud to support ‘Difference Day’, an event organized on 3 May by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Erasmushogeschool Brussel, Evens Foundation & iMinds and BOZAR at the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.

Europe is known for its commitment to sustaining free expression, the spirit of skill and innovation, and the economic rights and freedoms of creators.  The MPA looks forward to working with a wide range of partners, in Poland and other Members States and at the EU level, to sustain that commitment.