March 12, 2014

Creativity Needs No Language

By Ashley Mergen

The streets of Austin, Texas are always a-buzz with all sorts of visitors, but here at South by Southwest (SXSW) music, movie, and interactive festival, for every “howdy” there’s also a “ni hao,” “ciao,” “talley ho,” or the like.

Austin is currently playing host to one of the biggest gatherings of creative professionals in the world, attracting talent from seemingly every corner of the globe. Even self-described “embassies of music” are popping up around town, proving that the arts can be national treasures as well as exports.

Between taking in the parking lot jam sessions and spirited panel discussions, we’ve had the chance to talk one-on-one with international creators and innovators about the realities behind business in these industries.

Spaniard Carlos Marques-Marcet is riding high at SXSW, having directed one of the most anticipated films of the festival, Long Distance. But for this first-time feature film director, the low-quality streams and online piracy serves as a great detriment to consumers and the movie-going experience.

And Canadian Mike MacNaughton provides another face behind those affected by counterfeiting and piracy. Although his creative ad agency doesn’t rely on IP directly, his customers do, and he’s very aware that IP theft they face could in turn ultimately affect his own company’s business and employment opportunities.

Scanning the convention floor or walking down the crowded sidewalks of Austin, time-and-time again we learn that IP rights are on the mind of creators, who along with business owners from around the world have livelihoods that depend on IP. While language barriers may make the conversation around IP sometimes tenuous, no language is needed to understand the power of the arts.

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