Micro Snapshots and Key Insights into TEDx Macquarie Uni, September
Topic: Breaking New Ground
I was very excited to be at the TEDx Conference at Macquarie University on Saturday 27th of September to listen to an array of amazing and inspiring speakers and personalities from a wide range of industries, areas, backgrounds, locations and experiences, each sharing their own insights into how they 'broke new ground.’
Luckily, all of these talks are not lost! You can find them online and I recommend that you view them as everyone can benefit from their content. However, as a snapshot, below is a micro-summary of the main points I took from each presentation.
Professor Bruce Dowton
“What does it take to lead?”
Leadership lies in five key elements: building identity, ethical behaviour, motivating innovation, creating connections and the interpretation of complexity.
We cannot be effective as leaders unless we are true to ourselves and accept who we are first. By understanding ourselves, we are then able to lead and understand others and the environment around us.
Arvin Bayatpour and Cohen Bosworth
“So they told you age is a brick wall.”
These two boys were fifteen years old and had already begun their journey into gadgets via their company Arcod.
Innovation can start at any age. Don’t let societal pressure tell you anything else!
Don’t be afraid and don’t wait. Start now!
“Want to innovate? Become a now-ist.”
Don’t be a “future-ist, be a “now-ist.”
Deploy or die: Getting tangible innovations out into the market is the only true way to measure success.
Educational methods need to keep up with the times. We are all so connected by technology that we don’t need to read and study the entire dictionary before we set out. We can research everything at any time on the internet, so education should focus on adaptation, and not rote learning, simply because that’s the way it was always done.
Compass over maps- know your direction, rather than every street.
“Challenging gender selection.”
Even though we, as a society, assume that we have complete gender equality, it's not really true.
A new trend is emerging, called prenatal gender selection, which is the predetermining of the sex of a baby using science. It is illegal in Australia, but parents can go to countries where it is legal, such as the USA. Whilst it can be valid for specific medical reasons, couples are beginning to adopt this technology and specifically deciding the gender they would prefer. While most do this for an innocent reason, such as “family gender balance”, the repercussions in the future could lead to adding to gender stereotypes that should be phasing out, rather than being strengthened.
When we decide to have a child, it is different to deciding gender. But some parents are starting to demand more selection based on their traditional biases (i.e.: they want a girl because they want a baby who can be dressed up like a princess and get married, or they want a boy because they want a sportsman). By allowing this behaviour, it may be reinforcing gender stereotypes that hinder and bias future societies, as well as distort their views on what is right and wrong.
Leave gender stereotypes behind and let children grow up to be individuals they want to be.
“HIV illness narratives”
Presenting her three-minute thesis, Cheryl was investing homosexual men suffering from HIV/AIDs to piece together the real history on the past and future of the disease.
“I am the son of a terrorist.”
Zak was the son of one of the terrorists involved in the New York World Trade Centre bombings in the 90ies.
Most members of society want the same things out of life, however, in a population, there are always a very small group that adhere so closely to their beliefs that they will do anything in their power to get others to believe what they do, even if by force.
His story goes to show that being raised in that kind of hostile environment can still produce a family that can gain the independence to grow beyond the narrow minded ideas of past generations.
“Designing cities for women.”
Urban planning has shifted from desiring driving accessibility, to favouring closer proximity and walking spaces. In addition, the traditional idea of separating work from home locations no longer meets the societal needs of today.
New apps, like “Walkability Score”, are clear indications of new urbanism trends and illustrate the importance of the ability to walk to desirable locations. The cost of housing closer to central hubs is rising like it never has before, simply because people appreciate proximity over other considerations.
Unfortunately, this means it’s pricing out half of the market, which is a complex issue that requires solving. Individuals, families and couples part of the lower economic bracket have begun to move close to the city, as opposed to the past, where they all centralised further out in the suburbs. This is because all of the jobs are located in central jobs and so, they want their homes now closer to this than ever before.
“The elephant in the classroom.”
Humans love and hate change! This applies quite prominently in work and school settings. Learning and business environments suffer from balancing between rigidity to encourage productivity, and innovative flexibility.
Reforming public education lies in culture and economics. Schooling ‘educates’ children, but does it really teach them to be active contributors of society? Does it prepare them to live in an adult world?
So called ‘gifted students’ are just ones that thrive in the current learning paradigm. No student is unintelligent- they just need a more catered environment.
We need a different model to engage each individual student. The education system needs to adopt a “personalised learning matrix”- where the teacher and the student ‘negotiate’ the best way to meet their individual needs, within a dynamic, engaging space that achieves curriculum objectives.
Mr Speaker and The People Party
The struggle for your dreams is a hard reality. Therefore, we need to change whatever it takes to position yourself to achieve your dreams
Surround yourself with positive people that have the same passion as you, and whatever you do, believe believe believe!
“The secrets of nature’s grossest creatures, channelled into robots.”
Inspired by the cockroach (which can adapt to pretty much every challenge and environment), robotics of the future is adopting Robust Systems, which can perform multiple, challenging tasks, rather than one specific purpose. These robust systems include fault tolerance and damage resistance, so they can be utilised in more complicated scenarios such as search and rescue applications, amongst other functions.
“Creating the most influential you.”
As a magician and entrepreneur, how a magician practises their act is a good lesson for any individual to learn and adopt. It’s something most people never get to see, as it spoils the illusion of the tricks, but the method can be used in improving the way someone prepares and delivers a presentation.
Showmanship lies in three principles: Sight, sound, sync.
Sight: what the audience sees.
Sound: what the presenter says and how they say it.
Sync: How the first two work together.
When you are inconsistent (out of sync), people don’t trust you and you come across as insincere and not genuine. Therefore, actions, confidence and words all need to be in balance.
A way to improve your showmanship lies in the following method:
Video record yourself, then leave it for a day (to avoid critical bias). After a day, turn it on and mute the sound, watching only for visuals. Check your posture and take notes.
Watch it again, however turn your back and just listen to the audio. Do the words offer value? Is the message clear?
Watch the video for a third time with both sound and sight. Are both your actions and your voice now consistent?
The stage is a sacred place, as it's where a performer goes to influence and inspire. Always give it your best and treat that privilege with respect.
Dr Joanna McMillan
“Eat for a real change.”
One pill that provides absolutely everything we need to survive in a healthy way is not what we want. Food is much, much more than just about nutrients and essentials: food is culture and interaction.
She worries that nutritional science is ruining the cultural side of food, as we are now over analysing every bit of information, and, as a public, we are completely confused with this information’s interpretation. In addition, western cultures are suffering from obesity, diabetes and other food related conditions. Diet choice is a large contributing factor of all of those negative conditions. The way we eat is so engrained that bad habits are hard to shake.
70% of Australian people are confused as to what healthy eating actually means because the media skews all knowledge, and research can be greatly misinterpreted. E.g.: “low fat” doesn't mean healthy. It gave rise to a misinterpretation and it’s heavily impacting our society.
The real key to healthy eating is large amounts of plant food and stay away from the processed products.
“From unknown to expert.”
Presenting your ideas to an audience and being in the spotlight is a very challenging thing to undertake for most people. However, Catriona says it’s time to redefine the spotlight; it’s a responsibility and a privilege to present, and not only for the loudest and boldest.
Freedom comes with saying “yes”. No one should feel like their story is not as worthy as others, and so it is up to people that usually shy away to turn the tides and say yes to spotlight opportunities.
It’s deeper than just general excuses- it’s a personal issue. Everyone should have the confidence to present their ideas and find the strength deep down. You deserve to be in the spotlight, if what you have to say will help others.
The spotlight isn’t about the speaker, but the audience and what insights you can provide for them. You must give yourself permission to speak; only then can you unleash your potential.
Connect with your ‘why’: think about your higher and deeper purpose for the audience.
Be of service: gain confidence by knowing that listeners will help them.
Be yourself: it’s not about changing yourself, but being genuine and brave enough to be vulnerable.
Believe in your own stories: stop competing. Everyone has their own road and you can never compare your own situation to others.
Be open to yes: who are you not to shine your own light?
“Redefining the ordinary to the extraordinary.”
Everyone is extraordinary because everyone has their own unique story. To most people, someone might be ‘ordinary’, but for someone else, that person may mean the world. Next time you feel ordinary, remember that you were born extraordinary, you still are, and always will be.
Dr Steven Lin
“The power of smile.”
We often underestimate the power of a smile.
Good oral health is such an important, and such a neglected area of healthcare. Unfortunately, however, we are not educated enough as a public to see the true value of dental care, which means that the government is not motivated to make a change for the benefit of us all. This increases the negative and flippant culture toward dental health, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
The key to a better future dental industry can be promoted using newer technology via social media. These avenues create awareness and education with the public which, together all start to make noise and therefore create a change.
Changing from reactive dental treatment to preventative methods is necessary in the future, and it’s up to the public to start the ball rolling.
Susan Redden Makatoa
“Stop pandering to working mothers.”
We could and we should extend flexibility to everyone in the workplace, not just females.
'Workplaces with heart' is a reformation of the standard business model, and is all about inclusion and equity. Giving choices to how people work and offering them more choice, such as allowing different start times and end times, could end up putting less stress on the transport problem and reduce pollution, as well as increase employee satisfaction.
There are three elements to this kind of working paradigm:
Assumptions- assume that employers want success and satisfaction, and employees want to do well for the business. Both sides need to be working together positively, first and foremost.
Acknowledgements- the essential operations for the business in generating profitability effectively are still the core of a business. Feedback and measurements will still exist, no matter what.
Arsenal- Negotiation skills and willingness to accept flexibility.
People are the key asset to any business; they’re important. Workplaces that are equitable and inclusive remove negative stigmas and add satisfaction because empathetic choice was provided to all employees.
“Let architecture in: Amazing things can happen if you do.”
The spaces we inhabit affect us all in so many ways. Iconic architecture, such as the Syndey Harbour Bridge, are uniting beacons of culture and add to the overall environment around you.
Embracing the impact your surrounding environment has upon you and everyone around you will increase your self-awareness. Being aware of it allows you to adapt to it, and you can make it adapt to you, too in order to achieve the optimal outcome. It can lie in something as grand as a city monument, or something in your own home.
“Touching tech- wearable technology.”
Technology can be quite distracting in today’s society. Whilst it is an advantage, sometimes businesses need to get back to the real world to create innovation.
Where we want to be next is taking over where we are now. We are all experiencing life through screens rather than life itself and our own senses. Technology needs to adapt to this, rather than add to the problem.
To show this, Ben and his team have developed wearable, fashionable technology, an industry advancing so fast that everything has to be developed straight off with little planning (sometimes spanning only 3 weeks!). such technology connects to your phone to your clothing for use in such applications as GPS. However, technology isn't always just about utility: fashion and technology have to meet correctly. For example, Google Glass is amazing technology but a fashion disaster.
The explosion of this type of technology starts with realigning with the real world again. Empathy for our environment is the key.
“Unmask your potential.”
Unmask your true potential. Stop locking yourself away. Don’t be trapped by your assumed “limitations.”
All of us are dying slowly and time isn’t infinite- we need to be more realistic with ourselves. Only then can we access our true potential.
“What are we doing?”
Take the fond memories of loved ones that have passed, and put one of their favourable traits into practise. Learning a favourable trait from someone is the ultimate honour to them and will help make you a better person.
As an active, social participant of many facets of popular culture, spanning from literature, to film, radio, social media and music, I have been noticing a definite trend as of late; a surprising one that is becoming more prominent. I put this out there as I wonder if others are seeing the same thing as I am.
I have noticed that celebrities and new expressions of mainstream popular culture are sliding toward focusing on stars and celebrities that reflect “the average person”, rather than the flashy unreach-ables that they used to be. I appreciate that this is a long standing trend within the alternative, indie culture, but it’s a fairly new concept for mainstream media; what were once a collection of celebrity gods who provided an aspirational aura of envy and awe to the masses, are now starting to become more like the rest of us.
In film, young stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley are fresh faces, continually praised for their ‘down-to-earth’ attitude to celebrity. They trip up stairs when accepting awards and give the impression that they are simple, happy-go-lucky people on and off the screen. In addition, the widely popular movies they star in, such as The Hunger Games and A Fault In Our Stars, are stories based on books about the average person overcoming obstacles they are faced with inside a non-magical, humanistic society; i.e.: the leading character could be any of us, struggling with simple mortality. The edgy bad cops and flawless superheroes are out, and the average, flawed achievers are in.
In music, newer, successful artists have shifted from the flashy Lady Gagas and Beyoncés, who were very relevant a few years ago, to far more conservative, genuine artists such as Ed Sheeran and Adele, who have cut their teeth tirelessly making their way to the top, singing songs they’ve written about university and the pain of lost loves. The Havana Brown image with her skimpy dress and porcelain doll look, having ink poured all over her, singing the same repetitive songs as everything else out there is out, and the curvy, soul singer or the guitar slinging, redhead boy next door is in.
Even the push with new reality TV shows, such as The Block and My Kitchen Rules, sport a full cast of average-Joes, each with their own laundry list of flaws, entertaining us through being ‘one of us’, rather than the traditional, beautiful, out-of-reach celebrity. Whilst reality TV is nothing new, having civilians like us perform tasks of normalcy, such as renovation or cooking, gives the audience an easy way to completely relate to the real people we see on our screens; they’re not just sitting in a house like traditional reality TV, they’re performing DYI jobs and cooking just like we all do almost everyday. The make-up polished superstar bathed in lights is out, and the batter mixing house wives and bickering creative couples are in.
This is an interesting trend, as ‘celebrity’ has always been defined as a person with a status symbol, so distant from the average person (with all due respect), so far as to say that their talent, wealth and connections are what most of us dream about. When you go to a music concert, you pay to see this amazing rock star on stage, waltzing around amongst all the glitz and glamour, then leaving in their private, black windowed car to escort them back to their penthouse suite within the best hotel in the city, alongside a complete entourage. Those celebrities go out and buy an island, or ten Ferraris. Now, we have singers like Guy Sebastian who, upon obtaining his first royalties cheque, buys a boat to go fishing with his family, or J. K. Rowling who discovered success on the brink of poverty and gives significant amounts to charity.
Social media makes the ordinary person feel like a celebrity. That comes with its ups... and equally its horrible downs.
"International trade can also involve Intellectual Property. Intellectual
property protection is critically important to creators as it provides an
incentive for them to create new and inventive creations for their own
and ultimately, the industry's benefit. This protection is only as good
as the enforcement. Is intellectual property, with specific reference to
the music industry, adequately protected and recognised between
states on a global scale?"
The entertainment industry exists all over the world. It consists of
unique and creative art forms, such as music, to which is enjoyed on a
global scale by the general public. The key word is ‘industry’, in terms of
that fact that music can exist in a highly commercial market environment
globally, which therefore makes musical songs and recordings, in essence, a
commodity no different from the countless other products in countless other
industries. So, despite the glitz and glamour aura that can sometimes
surround the music industry, it still exists as a market where writers and
performers make available their creative output for economic gain, and, at
the same time, where consumers purchase and enjoy these products for
their entertainment value. In saying this, its means that for the commodity,
in this specific case, music, to have any value and create gain for the
creator, it must be unique to the market in order to spark consumers’
interests, who are continuingly searching for fresh entertainment. After all,
the uniqueness of the music is in fact, what allows it to be profitable.
So, if it is this uniqueness of the music that gives it potential to gain
for the creator, then there comes a need for it to remain individual in the
market, because if a competitor could easily copy the song for themselves
without consequence, then they could expropriate the music to gain for
themselves. Therefore, the legal system offers protection to ensure that the
producer, who invests their limited resources into creating their music, has
the opportunity to gain from their offering by granting them exclusive rights
over it. Without this protection, it is not just the writer or artist that will
suffer, but the whole industry, as a lack of protection will discourage writers
from bothering to create their unique music in the first place, and this
would flow on, causing the industry to become stale and even collapse.
Intellectual Property is the name given to the legal mechanism that
grants such protection and its main purpose, as briefly mentioned above, is
to keep the ‘cyclic wheel of innovation’ turning; by this, it means that the
protection it endows music artists and writers with offers them the
opportunity to economically gain from their creation, which, in turn,
incentivises them to continue to create in the future, so that the market is
constantly updated with new entertainment. If there was no such protection,
artists and writers would be lesser and lesser inclined to produce their
unique music as they would have no rights to their music, which would
mean that no new innovations enter the market. This sounds like a fairly
simple, advantageous concept at this stage, however, it is a very complex
section of law, with several factors to consider. In other words, it is not as
easy as simply granting protection to every innovative offering that comes
around, as there are many related factors to consider, namely how strong
and enforceable this protection is domestically and globally, as well as other
issues such as possible monopolisation side-effects, determining how
unique the product is, whether it infringes on previously protected products,
what aspects of the product are actually protectable, etc. All these factors
need to be considered as a whole, which is why, in order to analyse how
enforceable intellectual property protection is on a global scale, it must
initially be analysed as a basic concept to get a better understanding of how
it functions within the music industry globally.
Intellectual property is defined by IP Australia as “the property of your
mind or intellect (1)”. In other words, it is the legally recognised creation of a
creator, where that creation, considered property, is unique from others in
reality, and is a result of the producer’s intellectual effort and
accomplishment. Professor Gillies sums it up quite well in his book,
Business Law, stating: “the law of intellectual property is concerned with the
protection of intangible property created by intellectual process… Intrinsic to
them is the notion that they are original to their author or creator, and further,
that they are in certain respects original in complexion (2).”
As can be expected, each country has their own ideas, legal
interpretations and practices regarding the concept of Intellectual Property,
and it is these gaps that can cause issues in an every expanding global
market. It seems that, in general, developed countries, who are the largest
creators and owners of intellectual property, are strong supporters of global
property protection, whereas developing countries are against such rigid
protection over what they often view as just expenses for the privilege of
gaining from a monopoly (3). As global expansion continues, there is an ever
greater incentive for profitable gain for a creator of intellectual property to
offer their product to foreign markets, and in turn, the foreign market to
gain from this offering; however, the creator is unlikely to do so if this
foreign market does not provide a similar level of legal protection that will
allow them to be successful, as did their country of origin. In past years,
these gaps of intellectual property law between countries were quite large,
and often, far from mirrored each other. For example, in the late 1800s and
during the 1900s, there was a large difference between how the legal
systems of developing countries oversaw intellectual property protection
compared to developed countries like England and the United States: The
Philippines enacted interpretations of Spanish property law, Korea had their
law replaced by the Japanese law due to military conflict (4), and India only
recently legally allowed intellectually property protection for certain
industries like that of pharmaceutical products (5). It was these differences
that lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to step up, and introduce a
universally accepted legal standard for Intellectual Property for all its
signatory member countries. This legal standard is known as the TRIPS
Agreement (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights), and was established on the 1st of January, 1995 (6).
TRIPS, which is based on and evolved from previous conventions,
such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris
Convention) (7) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and
Artistic Works (Berne Convention) (8), was designed to ease the economic
trading tensions that were occurring between WTO signatory member
countries, as their copyrighted material, patented inventions and trademark
names became ever so valuable in a very highly competitive world. The
TRIPS Agreement sets the minimum levels of intellectual property protection
expected from each member’s government and legal system to provide
consistency for other members in international trade (9), thus offering freedom
for countries to decide on how their own law operates on top of the
standards. It is innovation, research and development that provide huge
benefits to the market as they keep driving the key-factors of new
alternatives, higher quality and greater efficiency in an industry- the
talented creators that contribute these elements therefore have a great
importance, and it is this importance that the TRIPS Agreement aims to
encourage and manage through the legal mechanism of intellectual property
protection which offers the incentive of gain and justice for unique offerings.
Specifically regarding the music industry, TRIPS is the agreement that
includes the legal protection agreement of unique songs and performances,
globally. As mentioned above, there can be disputes on how different
countries view and value intellectual property, which can cause the TRIPS
Agreement to come under judgement by parties arguing over the positives
and negatives of intellectual property as a whole, however the protection of
music tends to escape this scrutiny as it is considered a luxury commodity,
rather than a necessity, such as pharmaceutical drugs and foods.
Intellectual Property covers a large scope of areas, as intellectual
innovation comes in many differing forms; however the underlying principle
still remains at the heart of the mechanism: to grant to the creator a form of
protection over their innovative product so as to offer the ability and
therefore incentive of reward for their contribution to their respective field.
Without this protection, these creators would see no benefit for them to
create their intellectual property in the first place, which means the market
faces the problem of no beneficial advancement through innovations and
new intellectual property. After all, there would be nothing less motivating to
a song writer than releasing a new song only to have a major label download
it, give it to one of their mainstream artists and profit off it, without any
need to compensate the original writer, or a drug company spending
millions in research and development to make it perfect for a particular
illness or condition, only to have a competitor take the end formula straight
away before the original company had the chance to benefit from their hard
earned success. It is the creators of that song and of that drug that offer
their advance to each respective industry; because of that very benefit, the
TRIPS Agreement aims to protect the creator’s rights to their own work.
TRIPS is set out in three parts- the standards section, which consist of
the agreed rules, the enforcement section, covering how to enact and govern
the standards domestically, and the dispute section, detailing how to
manage conflicts between signatory members. In order to judge the
effectiveness of the TRIPS Agreement, the focus must be on the enforcement
sections, however the standards section of intellectual property must be
covered first so as to detail what content is actually being enforced.
Intellectual property encapsulates a few different branches, three of which
will be explained below.
Firstly, Copyright is the type of intellectual property that encompasses
the protection of unique artistic creations, such as music, videos, software,
visual art, fiction books, lyrics, etc. Copyright is included in the TRIPS
agreement, and was mainly adapted from the Berne Convention for the
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (10), which stipulates that all member
countries respect the same copyright protection of creators from other
countries as they do their own level of protection provided by creators in
their own country. This strengthens intellectual property protection through
copyright over geographical borders considerably, as it allows the creator to
be able to benefit from their artistic contribution in other countries and be
comfortable knowing that they can safely share it with the foreign market.
On top of this, TRIPS sets out the minimum requirement of its
members in terms of how the mechanism of copyright works. Article 9.111
draws the main sections from the Berne Convention, which describes topics
like what material can be protected, terms of protection, how rights can be
transferred and specific uses of material that is permissible. Amongst this is
that registration of copyright is not formalised, meaning that legitimate
unique creative works are automatically owned by the creator, pending that
it can be clearly shown that the creator produced the original work; this
boosts the reliance in the protection by a creator as creative intellectual
property under copyright does not have to be registered in each country.
Another standard, featured in Article 7(1) (12), is the minimum duration of
protection expected under copyright- for example, most forms of copyright
protection last for at least 50 years after the creator’s death and musical
performances can be protected from unauthorised use for a minimum of 50
years, but signatory members have the freedom to establish more. These few
examples are just a brief summary of the minimum standards set out in the
TRIPS Agreement that provide consistency to copyright protection which,
again, gives the creators the confidence to share their material with foreign
countries, knowing that their different legal systems will at least reflect the
minimum standard provided by the original country.
Something to note is that TRIPS does not hold members to providing
the moral rights often associated with copyright protection: the right of
integrity of authorship, the right of attribution of authorship, and the right
against false attribution of authorship (13). Regardless, some signatory
members still offer these non-economic rights, such as Australia under the
Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
Patents are another type of intellectual property that governs over the
exclusive rights of protection the law can grant regarding a creator’s unique
innovation and/or invention. Two examples of patented inventions are the
Orbital Engine, used globally in transport and watercraft, patented by
Orbital Engineering Company (14) and the actual patent for refrigeration by
Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and Eugene Nicolle (15). These two of many hundreds of
type of inventions offer an advancement in each respective field, not just in
one country, but throughout the world, and it is this advancement that the
patent protection is aimed at defending in order to cultivate the talent
responsible for each innovation’s creation; after all, these inventors would
not release these creations if they knew that the idea would be stolen and
they would receive no credit. A global understanding of this need for
protection is very important, as if the creator was only given protection in
their original country, they would not take the invention overseas and those
markets and industries would be barred from the impact of contribution it
would provide- hence why the TRIPS Agreement holds so much importance
Trade marks is a third type of intellectual property and lies within the
scope of TRIPS. Today, with such high levels of competition, both
domestically and globally, there is an ever growing need for businesses to
differentiate through product segmenting and identification- after all,
consumers don’t just want a car, they want a Mercedes, and consumers
don’t just want a computer, they want an Apple. Trade marks are unique
registered identifiers, such as logos, that allow the consumer to separate one
brand from the other, hence creating a niche uniqueness in the market. This
not only benefits the business it belongs to, but the market as well, as
identifying markers means consumers know the difference between brands,
thus encourage competition- an element that is considered healthy for a free
market. After all, if a brand builds a good reputation for having high quality
products, and a competitor could simply steal their trademarks and logos,
then the consumer would be tricked into buying something that wasn’t
legitimately what they wanted. This is why the legal system will offer to
protect these identifying markers if registered.
As each country has their differing views on what can be protected
and to what extent, again, TRIPS sets a minimum standard of protection
that can be granted for particular symbols and signs, what rights the owner
has, how to set up a trade mark, etc. The best summary is found in Section
16.1 of TRIPS which states that the owner of a registered trademark must be
‘granted the exclusive right to prevent all third parties not having the
owner's consent from using in the course of trade identical or similar signs
for goods or services which are identical or similar to those in respect of
which the trademark is registered where such use would result in a
likelihood of confusion’ (16).
Therefore, the standards set out in TRIPS for the differing branches of
intellectual property provide a strong foundation for a global standard so
that all members can benefit- on paper at least. The issue at hand is, can
and is TRIPS as good as it sounds in practice, on a global scale? After all, a
music composer and performer will only be willing to share their
entertainment and offering, if they truly believe that their music will be
equally respected in other countries in a practical sense, not just on paper.
The only way to determine this is to look at the second enforcement section
of TRIPS, which details how the above standards are put into practice by
each signatory member.
With the TRIPS Agreement, all members agree on the standards and
the enforcement details, set out in Part III, and then adapt their domestic
law to comply with these agreed Intellectual Property Rights as per Article
41. These enforcement procedures include how breaches and legal
disagreements are to be carried out, punishment through civil and criminal
proceedings as well as remedies, to enforce the given rights. The Agreement
also details that these remedies and punishments must be fair, effective,
efficient and equitable (17), where both sides and their evidence can be heard
and a final decision is therefore made upon, with reasoning in writing (18). The
following Articles 42 to 49 expand upon these remedies and punishments,
but it is interesting to note that the TRIPS Agreement only outlines the goals
of the mechanism of intellectual property, and each member can decide how
they wish to enact it (19). The inclusion and consistency of these minimum
enforcement requirements begins to build the creator’s confidence in the
system, as they can appreciate the general level of rights that are imposed in
Copyright is the field specifically relating to the music industry, and
the enforcement section details the common breaches in this field:
infringement of general copyright law, such as illegally copying lyrics and
riffs or claiming the work is incorrectly owned by another party, and
piracy (20), which is the more common breach, involving illegal file sharing and
duplication, which violates the reproduction right. As Intellectual property
and copyright protection is justified on the root principle of granting
monopolistic-like protection, a necessary-evil, over an inventive contribution
so that the industry can benefit from the advantages it gives, it only
functions if the producer believes that their work will actually be protected
in practice, rather than simply claiming it is secure under TRIPS, and
associated law. In modern times, with the explosion of the internet and peerto-
peer file sharing, music, movie and software piracy has become a major
factor, crippling all these industries globally (21). As these breach-worthy
practices have unfortunately become commonplace, music creators fight an
ever growing uphill battle protecting their music as copyright laws are
difficult to enforce in certain situations. Therefore, it’s important to analyse
how effective TRIPS is in ensuring copyright is enforced in the music
industry through its action in practice.
In 2004, the organisation known as IFPI, the International Federation
of the Phonographic Industry, who represent the recording industry on a
global scale, with over 1400 members in around 65 countries (22) spoke up
critically against the TRIPS Agreement for the Agreement’s tenth anniversary
of establishment. The argument stated that that although ‘The TRIPS
Agreement has helped to acknowledge the value of the estimated $1 trillion
contribution that entertainment-based copyright industries make to the
world economy (23)”, copyright piracy was heavily on the incline, and most
TRIPS members only supported copyright enforcement on paper, rather than
in practice- a fact that appeared to be a wide spread belief at the time (24). IFPI
made it clear that this accelerating increase in piracy on a global scale was
costing the industry millions of Euros, thousands of jobs and destroying the
culture of the industry (20).
The major faults of TRIPS that were outlined in
this critical evaluation were serious issues that undermined the whole
agreement- for example, it was stated that the punishments set out were too
miniscule in comparison to the scale of the breach, and that the
enforcement in most countries was ineffective and inefficient to prevent or
even deter such large scales of music piracy. This music industry specific
complaint demonstrated how much stricter the TRIPS Agreement needed to
be in order to be as effective in enforcing intellectual property protection as
was originally aimed for. This spurred the WTO to act and aim for better
compliance from the TRIPS Agreement’s member countries.
As music piracy was therefore accepted as the largest and constantly
increasing threat to the global music industry, TRIPS Agreement members
had to better protect music copyright in their own countries, and take more
effective action to facilitate the deterrence of such illegal operations. The
period between the complaint made by IFPI in 2004 and today has seen
more successful implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in music industries
all over the world.
Australia is a member of TRIPS, enacting its contribution through the
Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The Australian Government’s
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade proudly states that the estimated
value of Australia’s Intellectual Property is AU$30 million, and continues to
say “Australia protects those interests, notably in its work within the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) to promote the effective and balanced
implementation and development of the WTO's Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (25).” Therefore, one way to
investigate if TRIPS is effective in enforcing copyright over the music
industry and copyright is to evaluate how a member deals with a notable
Peer to Peer file sharing over the internet was mentioned above: a
noteworthy relevant and intellectual property enforcement case revolving
around unauthorised music distribution is the large Australian and
International case involving the program, Kazaa (26). Kazaa was a free, music
sharing piece of software, available globally and well known to the public,
that several large music labels took to Australian court for facilitating
breaches of their music copyrights through unauthorised sharing and
distribution of musical works. The members of the public simply
downloaded the program, which was a very small file, and then could search
for music and download it in minutes from other users around the world
who had uploaded the files. This is a breach of copyright as it infringes the
distribution economic right of the artist who has exclusive right to do so in
order to gain from their work. Having their music freely shared on the
internet between users of many different countries hurts the artist as it
allows users to have the music without compensating the artist for it. The
music labels claimed “Not only do [kazaa’s parent company, Sharman
Networks] know that their 100 million users are infringing the applicants’
sound recording copyright, they proclaim it loudly to anyone who cares to
listen… It is a badge of honour for the respondents. They paint themselves as
the defenders of the interests of fans of music (27).”
If this statement quoted by these music labels is in fact, a reflection of the actual truth, then court
intervention would be necessary as, besides the actual copyright
enforcement, this public boasting of copyright infringement alone would be a
large blow to the credibility and image of the copyright laws and TRIPS; as
discussed above, the real incentive to create intellectual property can, in
fact, be how realistic the producer believes that their work will actually be
protected in practice, and therefore, if a developed country such as Australia
cannot uphold TRIPS, then TRIPS would be considered ineffective.
As a result, this is a rather unique case, as illegal music file sharing
resulting in copyright breach, at such a large public and global scale
facilitated by a freeware program, is obviously very difficult to ‘pin down’ in a
legal court, due to such a large amount of people being involved- hence why
it was one of the first of its kind. Mid 2006 saw the end of this legal case, to
which Kazaa’s company, Sharman Networks, agreed to compensate the
music industry with approximately $151 million Australian dollars, on top
of agreeing to change their business model to negotiate copyright contracts
with music labels and actively filter out illegal file sharing (28). This is a huge
win for the music industry and proves that, even on this scale, copyright
can be enforced by the courts successfully. This type of enforcement
demonstrates the commitment of a member of TRIPS in enacting the main
principles of protecting the intellectual property, when there was a case of
wide spread copyright piracy. As Kazaa was availably globally, as contained
most main stream songs, it is a global issue, and so by Australia’s legal
system acting to stop this piracy, it sets a precedence and encouragement to
do the same in other countries, to uphold TRIPS.
A similar, and very recent example of taking legal action against
copyright piracy in a different TRIPS Agreement member country is the
LimeWire case in the United States of America (29). LimeWire, an American
company, is an equivalent program to Kazaa: users could download the free
program, and then illegally copy and share files between each other without
rightful payment to the owner. In 2006, Mitch Bainwol, the Chairman of the
Recording Industry Association of America, which represented a collection of
American music labels, took LimeWire to court on breach of copyright, set
down by the TRIPS Agreement, and reflected in the American intellectual
property laws. Like the case above, enforcing copyright through legal action
involving such a complicated situation with thousands upon thousands of
users globally, is a very complex task, however in 2010, the U.S District
Court in New York finally reached a verdict, finding LimeWire and its CEO
accountable for inducing copyright infringement. As this case is very recent,
all parties are currently in discussion over the next course of action,
however, it again is a positive step in enforcing intellectual property
protection from a member of the TRIPS Agreement. This not only
demonstrates that members are now actively enforcing the Agreement to
other member countries and at the same time, giving the creators the
confidence to believe in the legal system, but demonstrates that the TRIPS
Agreement is globally becoming more effective and recognised.
Piracy is not the only offence that can relate to breaching copyright
protection set out by the TRIPS Agreement- there is also the expropriation of
protected, unique music by other creators. An example of this is the recent
Australian copyright infringement case between Larrikin Music and the pop
music group Men At Work, in Australia. Larrikin Music took music labels
EMI and Sony on behalf of the band, to court under what Larrikin claimed
was a breach of copyright for a musical riff used in the Men At Work song,
‘Down Under’ that was allegedly taken from the copyrighted song
‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’. The court found (30), after reciting the
evidence, that this case was indeed a breach of copyright on the original
song, and awarded Larrikin damages for the offence, in terms of claiming up
to 60% of all profits received for the “Down Under” song (31).
Whether you agree or disagree with the verdict, it is a clear example in
Australia of how copyright is enforceable under law set out to comply with
the TRIPS Agreement in the domestic court system and it is cases like these
that set precedence for future breaches as well as set an example for other
On top of this, the European Commission has commenced an antipiracy
initiative for the music industry, which lists out the ten member
countries that require major assistance and improvement in compliance
with intellectual protection rights and the TRIPS Agreement (32). Some of these
countries include Brazil, Mexico, China, Russia, Thailand, etc, and the
European Commission aims to improve the intellectual property
enforcement in these countries. After all, it is by assisting these countries
that all members benefit, and the positive outcomes and goals of the TRIPS
Agreement are fully experienced.
One only has to look at the success and economic gain that all parties
receive as reward for their contribution in the music industry, whether it be
the consumer, the writer, performer, etc, to know that the TRIPS Agreement
is an effective and efficient system, aimed to benefit the whole music
industry: the creator is content in producing music as they are offered
exclusive rights to be able to gain from their creation on a global scale, the
distributors receive their gain from packaging and selling the music, the
consumer can purchase this music at the fair price featured all throughout
the market, and the culture of the industry continues to flourish in its cyclic
function as all parties have the potential to benefit. The issue is that the
TRIPS Agreement must be held in strong regard in all its member countries
in order to be of any value. Although it was originally based on previous
conventions and technological understanding at the time it was established
in the eighties and nineties, it continues to be a strong global agreement,
leading the path to successful protection of valuable intellectual property
throughout the world. No system is ever perfect, especially with such a large
scale of countries each with their own motives and legal system, however it
is through the critical analysis and constant vigilant efforts by leading
member nations that the whole rationale behind the TRIPS Agreement is
achieved, and thus continue to be effective in the future.
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(17) Article 41.2 of the TRIPS Agreement
(18) Article 41.3 of the TRIPS Agreement
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2006, Routledge Cavendish
(20) Footnote 14(b) of the TRIPS Agreement- ‘Pirated Copyright goods’.
(21) Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI). What is music piracy. <http://www.mipi.com.au/What-is-musicpiracy.html>. Accessed 18 April 2010.
(22) IFPI. IFPI’s Mission. <http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_about/index.html> Accessed 24 April 2010.
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http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20040623.html> Accessed 24 April 2010.
(24) Constant, R. Presentation at the SYMPOSIUM ON THE “THE CHALLENGES OF GLOBALISATION: THE
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<http://www.cnet.com.au/australian-court-case-tackles-illegal-p2p-file-sharing-240002889.htm>. Accessed 5
(27) Cnet Australia. Australian court case tackles illegal P2P file sharing. December 2004.
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Sciences, Australian National University.
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(3) Universal v ACCC (2003) FCAFC 193
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What are we watching on TV these days? Have we stopped to think?
I heard a radio interview this morning with a lady named Abby Lee from the reality TV show Dance Moms. They began with a little introduction which featured an audio clip of the show with Abby screaming at the young dancers and their mothers- and I'm talking REALLY screaming. It was something along the lines of telling the child to leave her dance studio because she couldn't remember a step, and then yelling at the mother as she defended her daughter.
Don't get the wrong impression- I am far from a stick in the mud and I don't like ranting about things that I am sure others get entertainment out of, but I am an observational person, and I was just personally starting to witness a trend in TV content that I wanted to point out.
It is no secret that reality TV remains on the rise, and while this may be tapering out a little from its birth several years ago, it is now still a prominent segment in all television channels' repertoires. However, it seems to me that the original reality TV shows in previous years are starting to not be enough to slake the thirst of reality TV show consumers anymore. Shows like Dance Moms, where the central theme is based on extremely controversial areas and the conflict that naturally ensues is now becoming the new norm.
While I am sure no one in TV land admits it, the reality TV shows that are successful now are the ones that follow ridiculously amped amounts of conflict. Take the highly popular Keeping Up With The Kardashians show for example- the show thrives when newer episodes contain family feuds, marriage break ups, sibling rivalry and awkward conversations. Even the talent shows, like The Voice, have moved from the focus on the actual talent, toward more of the failures, the sob stories, the misfits and the questionable performances at the original auditions phase of the show. Those segments always attract high numbers of watchers and social media buzz, with audience members all too eager to observe the humiliation these hopefuls put themselves through for fifteen minutes of fame.
What do we have now on TV?
It is almost like "normal" reality TV shows (and I say normal with HUGE quotation marks) are not enough anymore, with all channels running around in hysterics for ratings. If they want large audience numbers, they have to up the reality television ante by plying contestants with copious amounts of alcohol to get them to lower their inhibitions and pitting them against each other. Then, it's left to the magic of the editors to make the scene look even worse that it is, and combine that with pushy Producers, and we have a recipe for an enthralling catastrophe.
For example, there is a new show just released in America called Killer Karaoke, which takes the reality talent show category to an all new height (sometimes literally): the young hopefuls are given the opportunity to sing to prove their talent, while facing their worst fear. One girl recently had to sing whilst being dipped into a pit of snakes, and was told that if she really wanted to 'make it', the show must go on regardless of the serpent interruptions.
So, again, I pose my question: Are we becoming increasingly addicted to reality TV conflict? Are we so desensitised now by "normal" TV, that we crave shows where there are guaranteed plummeting pitfalls, fiery friction and aggressive arguments?
As a writer, I am sad to see less and less emphasis on script writing, with this surge of unscripted TV, but if these are the shows getting the ratings now, TV channels have no choice but to find more and more ways to put people in extremely awkward positions to satisfy their audience's taste for blood.
Is it our fault as an audience, or is it the networks, or is it a self-perpetuating cycle, snowballing out of control? What do you think?