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CALLS FOR JAPAN TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN MEASURES TO PROTECT CREATIVE CONTENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE MADE DURING MPA SEMINAR AT 28TH TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL October.26.2015

Report Finds Film & TV Industry In Japan Contributes Significant USD103.1 Billion To Economy & Supports 381,368 Jobs

On October 26, UNIJAPAN and Motion Picture Association (MPA), with support from the Embassy of the United States of America and the Federation of Japanese Films Industry (FJFI), partnered together to hold the annual MPA Seminar, the Tokyo International Film Festival’s forum for film industry business, policy and creativity discussion and debate.

Conducted as part of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival and held at Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, the event featured a dynamic debate about possible measures the industry could adopt to better protect creative content in Japan, and the launch of a new industry economic contribution report.

The MPA Seminar featured remarks from Akira Amari, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, renowned film director Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Robots, Gone Nutty, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, RIO, RIO 2), Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director, Asia‐Pacific Region MPA, Yasushi Shiina, Director General TIFF, Jessica Webster, Minister Counselor Economic and Science Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, Keisuke Isogai, Vice Secretary General, Secretariat of Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters, Cabinet Secretariat, and Tomohiro Tohyama, Attorney at law, Partner, TMI Associates.

Welcoming guests to the seminar, Mr. Shiina, said “We are proud to partner with the MPA again on this important seminar event, which this year focuses on the health and growth of the film and television industry in Japan.”

In a message delivered on behalf of Akira Amari, Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization, he suggested that the Japanese content industry has an opportunity to develop audiences locally and that Japanese cinema was a dynamic way to represent Japan around the world.

Jessica Webster, Minister Counselor, Economic and Science Affairs Embassy of the United States of America, said that cinema was a medium of “powerful diplomacy”, bringing us closer together in an entertaining and educational way. Japan, she continued, “…was a country that understands the importance of intellectual property and the need to establish measures that effectively protect film and television.”

Keisuke Isogai, Vice Secretary General, Secretariat of Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters, Cabinet Secretariat, thanked the MPA for supporting the organization’s content protection policies, noting the need to further strengthen measures to best protect Japanese content in Japan and internationally.

A lively panel discussion on Protecting Screen Content in the Digital Age, moderated by Tomohiro Tohyama, Attorney‐At‐Law, Partner, TMI Associates, saw an expert line up of speakers offer commentary on the global practice of blocking infringing websites for copyright.

Masaaki Saito, Chairman & CEO, Recording Industry Association of Japan, spoke of the huge investment in education that has been required to encourage an audience used to equating music content to free to now pay the true value of that content. “We need more than education,” he said. “We need more effective efforts including the possibility of blocking pirate websites, and any other measures that have been proven to work.”

Mike Weatherley, Vice President, Motion Picture Licensing Company (International) Ltd., who acted as UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Intellectual Property Advisor, provided a thorough illustration of the UK experience of court ordered site blocking: “The U.K. is a strong example of how court ordered site blocking can be introduced and made to work. Only those sites that are proven in court to contain overwhelmingly infringing copyrighted material are blocked. It has become the accepted norm and now we are reviewing the next steps to reduce piracy even further.”

Chris Marcich, President, International, of the MPA, said that the content industries went to some lengths to ensure that the media and public were made well aware of why the content industry wanted ISPs to block access to infringing websites, what would be blocked by the courts, and what would not be blocked. “We found that people responded well to these measures. No one protested. Wide education of the measures was helpful. After a number of sites were blocked, a study※ from Carnegie Mellon University found that the measure caused a 23% increase in usage of legal streaming services, so the ultimate goal of having people access more legal content is being met.”

Marc D. Fuoti, Founder & Managing Partner, Big Picture International, adding his viewpoint as a long time Japan-based commercial film and television executive, said that he saw a window of six to eight months where the industry could raise awareness about new site blocking measures for application in Japan. “We need to increase the consumption of screen content in Japan, so any measure that helps prevent infringement of creative content here would be an important initiative worthy of adoption.”

In his keynote speech, director Carlos Saldanha spoke about his journey as a filmmaker and his experiences of creating some of the biggest animated films in the last fifteen years. “These days there is a lot of great animation in the market, making it tough to find a day in the calendar to open a big animated film. Now we need consider not just other animation, but live action films as competition for audiences.” Though aware of the importance of marketing considerations in film production, Saldanha encouraged independent filmmakers to create with passion, and focus on the creative process. “How do I stay inspired? I look for work where I can leave the audiences visibly moved after seeing my films in the cinema.”

The event also saw the launch of a report titled “The Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Industry in Japan”. The industry contributed a significant USD103.1 billion (11,352.5 billion Yen) into the nation’s economy in 2014 despite facing a range of challenges according to a report prepared by Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. The sector also supported more than 381,368 full time jobs and generated almost USD8.676 billion (955.3 billion Yen) in tax revenues.

Presenting the key findings of the report, Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, MPA, said, “The film and TV industry in Japan has a proud history, renowned for its creativity and innovation around the world. The global digital transition has brought about significant change to the way films and television shows and produced, distributed and screened to audiences ? and this year’s economic contribution report reflects this dynamic evolution. It is a significant economic sector, providing quality jobs and contributing substantially to the economy and to local and international culture. It’s worth celebrating and worth protecting.”

Commenting on the findings, one of Japan’s most well known film industry veterans, Tom Yoda, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of GAGA Corporation, suggested that Japan’s unique support for DVD and Blu-ray product was explained by the society’s appreciation for packaging – a factor not replicated in the new digital market offerings. This he thought would continue to influence an ongoing viable market for video stores and provide revenue streams contributing to the overall film and television sector.

The report was launched with the support of Japan Satellite Broadcasting Association (JSBA), Foreign Film Importer – Distributors Association of Japan (FFIDAJ), Motion Picture Producers Associations of Japan, Inc. (MPPAJ), Japan Video Software Association (JVA), Japan Cable and Telecommunication Association (JCTA), The Association of Japanese Animation (AJA), Japan Association of Theatre Owners (JATO), and the Compact Disc & Video Rental Commerce Trade Association of Japan (CDV-J).

A copy of the “Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Industry in Japan” full report by Mitsubishi Research Institute, along with the one page summary, is available to view and download here

See images from the MPA seminar here

※ “The Effect of Piracy Website Blocking on Consumer Behavior”

第28回東京国際映画祭 共催企画 MPAセミナー を開催
*From left : Marc D. Fuoti / Masaaki Saito / Mike Ellis / Yasushi Shiina / Mike Weatherley / Jessica Webster / Carlos Saldanha / Chris Marcich / Tom Yoda / Keisuke Isogai / Tomohiro Tohyama