The United Kingdom has long been recognized across the globe as a hub of creativity and innovation. So it should come as no surprise that the British government, along with the European Commission and the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), is taking on a leadership role in protecting creators and makers by hosting the 2014 International IP Enforcement Summit in London.
Earlier this morning, I was pleased to join such notable champions of intellectual property as Ed Vaizey, UK Minister of Culture; Mike Weatherly, IP Advisor to Prime Minister Cameron; Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO; Donald Toon, of the National Crime Agency; and Victoria Espinel, CEO and President of the Business Software Alliance, to kick off this important two-day summit.
Today, images, sounds, words and ideas are driving innovation and growth in countries all over the world. In the United Kingdom alone the creative sector counted for 5.2% of this nation's GDP - amounting to £71 billion - and accounted for 1.7 million direct jobs in 2012.
As I told that audience, I believe it is important for all of us in the creative economy - creators, lovers of culture, creative and media businesses, and yes, governments - to share the responsibility of doing everything within our power to ensure that creators and creative industries enjoy the brightest future possible.
That means developing strong IP enforcement efforts to tackle infringing websites, and partnering with the advertising sector to cut off advertising revenue to pirate sites. It means finding ways to work with the online search engines that play such a significant role in guiding users to sites with illegal content. And it also means developing and adding to the more than 400 innovative, legal, and consumer-friendly online platforms that exist around the globe today for watching many of the world's best films and television shows - making it easier than ever for consumers to access the content they love.
But, in order for these efforts to thrive and drive further economic and cultural development, the copyright protections that have fostered surges of creativity, innovative business models, and historically unparalleled entertainment offerings must remain strong. It will take all of us working together to ensure that these creators and the industries based on their innovations have the freedom and protections they need. And by bringing together stakeholders from all sides of the IP enforcement debate to share best practices and to talk through options and solutions, this week's summit is an important step towards ensuring that bright future.