Wide-ranging FICOD debut earns points


MADRID -- As the first edition of Spain's International Forum for Digital Content wrapped Thursday, the general sentiment among attendees was that an important first step had been taken toward the creation of a platform for Spanish-language digital content.

"With this conference, the Spanish government is looking to foment the development of the digital content sector and make FICOD the international point of reference for the industry," Spain's Secretary of Telecommunication Francisco Ros said.

Attendees were treated to a wide-ranging agenda that saw former Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque, general manager of Deimos Imaging, defend the satellite imaging project E-Globe as a European alternative to Google Earth, and Pattenstudio founder James Patten demonstrate how a table can become a computer interface.

Discussions centered on the convergence of windows, the challenges for the audiovisual market, the music industry on the Web, videogames, programming, financing and advertising.

"It was a nice first try by the government to put emphasis on a sector that needs attention," said Jorge Mata, chairman of Berggi and participant in a panel on financing and exporting models.

The panel on user measurements proved particularly lively, with audience members questioning the accuracy of the information provided advertisers, and panelists conceding that there is room to improve while cautioning against over-emphasizing the faults to create a lack of credibility.

"The tools to measure, measure very well," Spain's Nielsen Online chief Gustavo Nunez said. "There are measurements that are as efficient as with other windows."

Intellectual property rights were the subject of a two-day sidebar to the FICOD, which boasted some of the international rights community's top players including OMPI assistant general manager of author and connection rights, Michael Keplinger, OCDE's science and technology chief Douglas Lippoldt and the European Commission's Klara Kanska and Tilman Luder.

Using the premise of "less is more," the EC's Luder said his unit of internal market and services was in the "evaluation mode" of looking to reduce existing legislation on intellectual property rights. Luder laid out the intricacies of how copyright law hampers search engines and analyzed how U.S. and European courts have differed on the uses of thumbnail links.   

"The big battlefield now is not exceptions and limitations, it is the scope of the legislation," Luder said.

Another panel comprised of rights holders took a different tack as the group grappled with how to protect their financial interests.

Spanish movie director Bigas Luna proposed telecom operators share their profits with content creators.

"We're in the hands of feudal lords who charge us for using their land to plant potatoes, but they also charge others to enter into our property and steal our potatoes," Luna said, arguing that the first operator to pay fairly for content will be the one who takes the whole pie.