Day one of the inaugural CISAC Copyright Summit has wrapped, after an afternoon session dominated by a stand-off between delegates and controversial Creative Commons founder Prof. Lawrence Lessig.

Creative Commons issues copyright licenses that allow authors to clear their work for free in some or all circumstances, a practice seen by many in the industry as contradictory to the principles of copyright. Lessig is also the author of the book "Free Culture."

During a debate entitled "The Value of Copyright in the 21st Century. Should It Be Free for All... Really", Lessig repeatedly clashed with Brett Cottle, chair of CISAC's board of directors and CEO of the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA).

While attacking those who commercially exploit user-generated content (UGC) as indulging in "share-cropping for the digital age," Lessig also told a packed conference hall that Creative Commons licenses are aimed at those who had no interest in making money from their creativity.

"There's an explosion of UGC that never wants to be part of the commercial economy," he said. "If we're arguing, it's only because you think the only model for copyright is the commercial one."

Cottle hit back: "The problem is you give credence to the general anti-copyright argument, particularly in developing countries. Don't treat the authors like the record labels or the entertainment companies. Hollywood's Jurassic and we're the mammals."

An announcement that there was not enough time for questions from the audience was greeted with uproar. When organizers allowed the session to over-run, several delegates criticized Lessig from the floor, although U.K. singer-songwriter Billy Bragg spoke out in favor of an "opt out" clause for payment for use of some copyrighted material.

Lessig's parting shot was to concede: "The copyright system is perfect... for people who have all the money in the world to pay lawyers."

Elsewhere at the summit, speakers were keen to prove the value of copyright. Speaking on the "IP & Copyright -- Can Rights Owners Get Some R.E.S.P.E.C.T" panel -- moderated by Billboard/THR EU correspondent Leo Cendrowicz -- WIPO deputy director general Michael Keplinger said the copyright industry now represents over 11% of GDP in the United States.

"Copyright is vitally important to our economy today," he stated.

On the same panel, delegates agreed that threatening end-users was probably not the answer to piracy.

"We are starting to learn our lessons and to send messages without threatening people," said Ted Shapiro, deputy managing director, VP & general counsel, Europe, for the Motion Picture Association.

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento and British Music Rights chief executive Emma Pike stressed the importance of informing young consumers about the damage illegal downloads cause to creators, with ASCAP now targeting 10-14-year-olds.

"When the kids are in college, it's too late," said LoFrumento, adding he expected 2.2 million school kids to have seen ASCAP's anti-piracy 'Donny the Downloader' video by the end of 2007."

Meanwhile, on the "Author's Societies - Building a New Model" panel, delegates struggled to reach consensus on the best way forward in the digital age, particularly on the question of cross-border collections.

"The rigidity of the licensing system is the reason the European download market is yet to take off," claimed Roger Faxon, chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing.

Nonetheless, the debate proved inconclusive, prompting Peter Jenner, chair of the International Music Managers Forum to declare: "If I had my way, I'd lock all the collecting societies in a room in Brussels until they came up with a solution."

CISAC says it represents 217 copyright societies in 114 countries and 2.5 million creators and publishers in music, drama, literature, audiovisual, photography and the visual arts.

The summit concludes tomorrow when debates include "The Value of Content in the 21st Century," and a keynote address by the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb.

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