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How to Protect Artists and Cultural Content on the Internet

"Digital meets creativity" exhibition at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (September 2016) Photo: UNESCO

“Digital meets creativity” exhibition at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (September 2016)

Representatives from 144 countries, plus the European Union, have approved a set of guidelines on contemporary culture in the digital environment.

It aims to help countries ensure that artists and producers benefit fully and fairly from the information technologies’ potential at the stages of creation, production and distribution.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova welcomed this development saying, “These guidelines are a way of ensuring that the digital environment can fulfil all its promises as a motor for an inclusive and creative society.”

The text on the Implementation of the Convention in the Digital Environment was endorsed on 15 June by the Parties to UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions during their biennial meeting at UNESCO Headquarters.

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The guidelines also address the need to ensure an inclusive offer of content to the public that will not discriminate against cultural goods on the basis of provenance, language or social factors.

They also reaffirm the need to respect human rights in the digital environment, notably freedom of expression, artistic freedom and gender equality.

The guidelines are the fruit of five years of research and debate with experts, governments and civil society on the challenges and potential created by the expansion of social networks and user-generated content, the proliferation of multimedia devices and the emergence of powerful web-based companies.

These factors mean the digital environment requires new business models for e-commerce and streaming, for example, and reinforced policies to protect copyright.

Photo courtesy: UNESCO

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