People, 1. -  3. October 1998
Hanne Thorboll
Abstract: Music in the age of the inter-net: cultural and economic opportunities.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) represents the international recording industry, comprising more than 1300 record producers and distributors world-wide. IFPI is part of a cultural sector of economic activity in Europe which depends on copyright protection - it is a sector accounting for about 5% of the EU's total gross domestic product.

The music business is utterly dependent on copyright legislation. Without the appropriate laws to protect our rights, all the creativity in the world, all the very best music we can find and record, will earn us nothing. The recorded music business has an annual global retail turnover of approximately 36 billion ecus. 60% of this is European, by virtue of ownership and artists.

Currently the means by which it delivers recorded music to the consumer is through the sale of CDs and tapes. However, the volume of electronic delivery, to date limited largely to conventional broadcast, is increasing at an accelerating rate. Recording, reproduction and delivery technology has reached a point where it is possible to offer the consumer electronically-delivered product in huge quantities and with the same quality as the record company's own master recording.

An obvious means of future delivery will be music on demand - we will have on-screen electronic guides from which we can make our selection and get billed on a periodic basis. There will be systems which, for example, will enable the consumer to download product in seconds onto recordable media in his or her home and finish up with a perfect copy.

The recording industry has played a major part in driving technology over the past thirty years. It can continue to do so, because electronic delivery is something we should welcome. It should enable us to deliver a wider variety of music, more quickly and more conveniently, to the consumer.

However, the reason why the music business is hesitant about the electronic market is that it is genuinely worried that its only asset - its repertoire - may be put in peril if it embraces new technology when the protection it needs is missing.

The key point about the new electronic delivery systems is that they will largely achieve the same result as, and substitute for, the sale of CDs and tapes. They will become our primary income sources, and we therefore need to have control over them.

Governments are looking to find solutions for a framework for copyright protection in the information society in order to implement the WIPO treaties concluded in December 1996. The EU has produced a draft Directive on Copyright which is an essential piece of legislation but which is inadequate in many respects. It is vital to the future of the music industry in Europe that the Directive is improved in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Without appropriate protection, cultural programming will simply not be created in Europe. That will jeopardise not only the growth of the information society in Europe, but also all the jobs and economic benefits that Europe's cultural industries generate.

Hanne Marie THORBØLL


19, Boulevard des Quatre Journées, 1210 Brussels



Date of Birth:

20 June 1965

1985-1991: Master of Laws Degree at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, (Cand.jur. Degree).
1991-1992: Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) at King's College, London, (University of London).
1992-1994: Ministry of Industries (Danish Patent Office, Legal Department), Copenhagen, Denmark. Responsible for the international aspects of intellectual property rights in relation to the European Patent Office, The World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Trade Organisation.
1994-1997: European Commission, Directorate General I, Brussels, Belgium. Responsible for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries, including negotiation of bilateral trade agreements with third countries, implementation of the WTO/TRIPs Agreement world-wide as well as the on-going work and negotiations of IPR Conventions in the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
1997-to date: European Affairs Executive, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Brussels, Belgium. Responsible for relations with the European institutions in relation to issues of importance for the music industry (copyright, cultural policy, trade, market access, VAT, packaging etc).

Institution: The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) represents the international recording industry, comprising more than 1300 record producers and distributors world-wide.
IFPI Deutschland
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