Victoria Espinel, U.S. 'IP Czar,' to Keynote World Copyright Summit
Victoria Espinel, U.S. 'IP Czar,' to Keynote World Copyright Summit

United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, often referred to as the "IP Czar" will be the keynote speaker for CISAC's World Copyright Summit taking place in Brussels next week (June 7-8).

The two-day summit organized by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), takes place June 7 and 8 in Belgium at the Square Brussels Meeting Center in Belgium. This year's conference is conceived around the theme of "Creating value in the digital economy: Create - Connect - Respect," which is, in part, a reference to the challenges CISAC faces in making sure the 3 million creators its societies represent are adequately compensated for their work.

Victoria Espinel would seem the perfect person to speak to these challenges. Within her first two years in this newly-created position ( she was appointed by President Barack Obama in September 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December), Espinel outlined aggressive tactics for combating copyright tactics including prison time for intellectual property crimes.

In a set of recommendations announced in March, Espinel called for legislation requiring tougher sentences for organized groups that deal in counterfeit goods or commit other intellectual property-related crimes. In an acknowledgement to the music industry, Espinel also included a recommendation asking for legislation that would pay a performance royalty to recording and music artists for radio play. This would mean the longstanding American law, which does not allow artists to collect royalties via radio, would be overturned and allow for earnings from both domestic and foreign play.

Also in her March list, Espinel recommended making illegal streaming of content over the Internet a felony in "appropriate circumstances." As well, recommends giving law enforcement the authority to seek court orders to conduct wiretaps with trademark and copyright offenses.

Several U.S. industries have voiced their support of Espinel, in particular entertainment and pharmaceutical, as they have pressured congress to pass tougher laws against copyright infringement.

Other speakers slated for this year's World Copyright Summit include CISAC President (and former Bee Gee) Robin Gibb, visual artist and Vice-President of CISAC Hervé Di Rosa, Frank Stella, painter and sculptor and Chair of CISAC's International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic and Photographic Arts (CIAGP), Jean-Michel Jarre, author, composer and performer, Eddie Schwartz President of the Songwriters Association of Canada Eddie Schwartz, President of Croatia and musical composer Ivo Josipovic.