The Creative Business:Celebrating World IP Day and Taking Your Ideas to Market
[ Music ] >> Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for the United States Copyright Offices World IP Day Event in 2021. Our second virtual World IP day event. We're going to have a great program today. And before we get started, I wanted to turn it over to the 14th registrar of Copy Rights, Shira Perlmutter.
To provide some opening remarks. Shira? >> Thank you, Katie. So, good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to the US Copyright Office's celebration of World IP Day. Each year we join the World Intellectual Property Organization and others all around the world to recognize the value that IP adds to our cultures and to society as a whole.
This year, World IP Day focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises. And their countless contributions to the creation and dissemination of intellectual property. This theme is particularly good. A particularly good fit for copyright many creative businesses are small in size.
Yet produce immense value both economically and artistically. In fact, artists are over three times more likely than other workers to be self-employed. And in recent years, companies with fewer than 500 workers, accounted for nearly half of all private-sector payrolls. These small and medium-sized enterprises foster creativity far beyond their own walls. In both the physical and the virtual space.
A single photographer may take thousands of copyright protected images, that shed light on subjects from current events to human relationships. Musicians, too, often work alone or with just a handful of colleagues. Composing and recording the songs that define eras and inspire us. Visual artists, filmmakers, writers, and app and game developers individually, also light sparks of creativity that enrich our lives.
Today, we will hear more about how some of these creators interact with copyright and contribute to society. I thank you for joining us today. And I invite you to enjoy our discussions with Hakim, Sunil, and Laura. So, let me now turn it over to Whitney Levandusky. >> Thank you so much, registrar. And I'd like to welcome our three panelists up to the screen.
Thank you so much to Hakim Draper, Sunil Lyengar, and Laura Zabel for joining us today to talk about our World IP Day theme taking your business to market. Before we begin, just to repeat a little bit of housekeeping. We love questions, we'll have some time about, we'll have about ten minutes at the end for questions. If you have one, please put it in the chat and then we can share it was a panelist. And then if you are interested in Closed Captioning. Please see the option to view Closed Captioning on the bottom tool bar.
And note that the Closed Captions are only available through the Zoom app. Okay. So, thank you again for joining us today. Our theme, taking your ideas to market is all about focusing on enterprising people who decide to take their creative talent and bring them to a wider public.
These entrepreneurial efforts make a large impact on the individual creator's lives, on communities, and on the larger U.S. Economy. Copyright provides a structure for artists to bring their creative expression to market and many businesses spring from a creator's ability to publish, sell, share, display, and perform their work publicly. At the same time, other small and medium enterprises use the copyrighted works of others to build their businesses and continue the cycle of copyright. We will be exploring the nature of small and medium sized businesses. Their experience over the past year and how we can help support them. So, to get us started off, Laura? Hi, thank you so much, Laura Zabel Springboard for the arts for joining us today.
And I was wondering if you could start us off? Can you describe to us what a small or medium sized business looks like? And how do these businesses benefit their community? >> Yeah, thanks so much Whitney, I'm super excited to be here. And Happy World IP day, everyone [laughter]. I think it's a really important question. That maybe sounds sort of simple but I think it's important to kind of ground us in, for many creative businesses, these are businesses run by a single artist or a group of artists that have really grown out of their own artistic or creative practice. And I find that often, when we talk about small and medium-sized businesses, for artists there's a whole other part of the spectrum, which I think most people would call micro businesses, or single person, or one or two person businesses. That are sometimes home-based.
Often kind of left out of the conversation around small business, of these micro enterprises. But, to the second part of your question I think even those very small, single person businesses have these sort of bigger ripple impact in their community. That they're pretty unique to artistic business, you know, most creative businesses are not businesses that are built to kind of scale and be acquired by a global corporation. Success for them is often really tied to their local economies.
So, think about growing a lot of small businesses that are built to stay local and the impact that has on the economy and the community around them. I think, additionally, businesses run by artists, creative businesses, create the kinds of places that people want to live and work. They create experiences, whether that's in shopping or being able to attend performances, or encounter art in your every day. In the downtown of where you live, on the main street, in neighborhoods. And those are really the kinds of things that create the kind of fabric in places where people want to stay and commit to work.
So, they have these impacts on things like talent attraction and retention, on meaning making, on social connection, on public health, on community development. And they impact the other businesses around them, right? Like those are the kinds of businesses that draw people to a cultural district, or to a business district. So, I think even though we might look at an individual creative business and say that's very small or the kind of, you know, balance sheet at the end of the year isn't the same as attracting, you know, a corporation that employs 500 people. They often have this really out-sized impact on the community around them. It gets at both the economics, but also really fundamental human impact.
Like the ways that we make meaning and build connection between communities and among neighbors that I think are really fundamental, particularly now after the last year. I think we learn how fundamental those pieces of our community are. >> Thanks, and so Hakim. Laura had talked about the importance of the sometimes, small and personal driven businesses to local communities. And how these businesses are able to connect to important place making and venues and be able to make sort of a community.
Now your business is per your expertise to help client's understand how intellectual property rights and revenue go together. For some of these micro or small entities, there may by one or just a collective or a small collaboration of people. Can you speak briefly about how it is important for them to understand copyright? >> Yes. Specifically I work in the music space. First, I want to just touch, Laura said something so important that the immeasurable impact of quality of life of parts overall in any general city is so important.
And I think it's often sort of undervalued a little bit. But I think it's one of the most important things. And so, as I work with clients in the music space, recording studios and producers and artists, all of that is monetized by groups of people. But it all stems from one creative mind or a group of creative minds.
And the ability for them to be able to thrive and build a business on that is about share revenue. It's about fractional distribution. And so, it always involves understanding where your rights are, where does your revenue come from. How does the revenue move in this space. And then specifically from the music side, it's so important to understand what a copyright is.
You know, I deal with a lot of novice people who are very excited to get into the space. And you know, there's sampling, and there's you know, interpolations where you take certain portions of a song and you use those lyrics in your song in an original way, but is still an interpolation, it requires a license. So, those interoperabilities and the importance of understanding how those layers work together to protect you in the end. I mean, in the beginning is very intimidating and confusing, but it's necessary. And so it's imperative to survival for any creator to understand the value of copyrights and how they're all tied together and how they do work to protect what original piece you are creating. >> And so you mentioned intimidating.
Which, I think it sometimes a common feeling. Especially for people that are just getting started out in the business. Do you have kind of like a lesson or something to share for people who are just starting in their businesses? >> Yeah, I mean I think that don't listen to so many people.
But like there's some definitive resources, your site for instance, that has very clear information as to what these copyrights are. And how you submit and apply for your own for your works and all those things. I think you have to find some people that you trust that can kind of mentor you. And, again, like Laura's organization does that. Where when you get into the weeds and you need to figure out how to take your, okay I finished my masterpiece now what do I do? And you're like, you don't run out and take it to market.
First, we protect it, we register it. We figure out all of the ways we're going to monetize it. We figure out you know.
So I think for anybody doing this stuff, you have to kind of just find some trusted resources. There's a lot of nonprofits out there. There is, again, your site is a great resource.
And you have to just kind of learn for yourself. And I tell everybody, I don't expect any of them to become an expert on copyrights. But I expect them, if you're building a business in a creative space to know where the money is going to come from and how it moves and how much they're obligated to pay to other people that are involved. I think it's very important to successfully, you know, existing in this space. And I think that the definition of success, once you get beyond that is, I know people who have been in bands making music for 30 years.
They make a very comfortable living and nobody's ever heard of them. And they tour once a year because they have a diehard fanbase all over the world. And they're so content. And they're so happy. And to them, they are the most successful band in the world. And it's awesome.
It's great to be able to see that, you know? >> Thank you. And then, Hakim did mention the services about Laura's organization provides. Laura, would you want to just spend a couple of seconds telling us what Springboard for the Arts is all about? >> Sure. So Springboard is based here in Minnesota.
Both in the urban area of the Twin Cities and in a rural community, called Fergus Falls. But we also provide resources and services across the whole country. And our focus is really on individual artists.
Artists of all disciplines and the ways in which artists are able to make a living, and a life. And the ways that artists are able to impact their communities and be involved across all parts of the things that communities need to be healthy. Specific to this conversation around IP and business skills and business building. I'll just put in a plug, we have a free online workbook called, The Work of Art, Business Skills for Artists.
It's a free download or you can order a hard copy. And that kind of goes through all the basic business building things. It's really meant for people to be able to use, you know, whatever pieces of it they're working on at the moment around their creative business. And there are some resources in there, specific to IP and other legal issues. Springboard also is part of a national network of organizations all across the country.
That engage lawyers and attorneys to support artists. Part of a volunteer lawyers for the arts network. So, we did that work in Minnesota. But we're also connected to organizations all across the country that do that work to connect individual artists with questions around their business.
You know, the vast majority of those questions are around IP with local attorneys who specialize in that work. Because often the answer, you know, to Hakim's point. The first place to start is with other artists in your network.
Mentors, folks who have done it before, Springboard's an organization run by artists and that's the perspective we come at it from. And often the second step is going to be that you need to talk to a local attorney. Somebody who really understands the issues in the context that you're working in and who can really give you some clear legal advice to make sure that you're protecting yourself in the way that you need to. >> Great, thank you. And Sunil so, we can spend some time establishing the personal and the local. I wonder if you could being us some big picture.
What does the creative economy mean to the United States? >> First of all, it's just great to be here with you and be alongside Hakim and Laura, great colleagues. I just wanted to note that, you know, the National Endowment for The Arts. Many of you, some of you may not know, is that it is an independent federal agency that supports the arts all across the United States. But we do have a research function. So, in that capacity, a few years ago we got together with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and The Department of Commerce.
And said, can we do anything to measure the cumulative value of this creative economy in the US? And, you know, if look around like there is no national definition, really, of the creative economy since it's been operationalized. Thankful to your office and other offices. I could mention the Patent Trademark Office and now the National Endowment for the Arts, I think are flashpoints for discussing in the federal government what is the creative economy. And how do we measure it? Thankfully with our partners at the Bureau of Economic Analysis. We were able to establish, create a tool, really, called the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account.
It sounds very grand. But what it is essentially, is it's a way to track the economic value of the arts industries. And to do that with totality and also to be able to get the level of granularity that allows you to understand what specific elements or subsectors contribute to the economy.
And how many people they employ, for example. So, getting back to your question with the, you know what is the creative economy, here. Just to let you know, I mean, these arts industries as a whole make up about half of all the economic value generated by copyright intensive industries in the US. The World Intellectual Property Organization defines copyright intensive industries.
And that's one proxy of ways to understand how significant the arts are when it comes up against all kinds of other copyright intensive industries. We don't contain all of it within the arts, but a good deal. So. what does this amount to?
They're talking about $919 billion of added value to GDP, that's about 4.3% of total GDP. And within that we can talk about what industries make that up. Of course you're going to see, you know, motion pictures, you know, recording, the sound recording industry, publishing, performing arts, presenters, various industries including architecture, design, a whole range of them. And it's a sort of very expansive view of what the arts economy truly is. But some other tidbits there, you know, you want to know what that $919 billion, what does that total, close to a trillion, there.
Well, it's actually larger value-added than you find from proportionally from various other sectors of the US. You know it's larger than the amount contributed to the economy by say, agriculture, transportation, by tourism, a whole bunch of other industries, mining, extraction, a whole bunch of industries. And so, you know, there definitely does.
I think we have the value there of elevating why arts and cultures are core of the creative enterprise in the US. Through dollars alone, but we can also talk about a numerous other ways, of course, and I hope you will. >> Thank you. And so, you mentioned, you know some of the subsectors that you talked about, motion pictures, performing arts, publishing.
These are all, you know, we call to each of our minds wonderful, you know, pieces of creativity that we've all appreciated and loved. And I think that there's also no question that when we hear those terms as industries we also think about the impact and what people have experienced over the past year. And it's been a year of, you know, of upheaval, of certainty, and great change, for everyone in the creative community. And so, I'd like to spend some time considering the challenges and opportunities that everyone has faced.
So, Sunil, if I could just stay with you for a moment. How do we measure or notice the impact of the pandemic on the economy? >> Well, actually back in January, we released a little white paper that we did actually, through our partners at FEMA. Because this is an emergency to the economy, too.
When the pandemic, the ravages of the pandemic. Of course, hit artists and arts organizations among the hardest. You know, I know this is about small businesses. So, I'll just say there's a data source called The Small Business Pulse Survey, which the Census Bureau got out as soon as the pandemic occurred. Where on a weekly basis of tracking how small business were doing with various industry types. And we saw over and over again arts industries were hit the hardest.
Among the hardest and certainly up there with hospitality industry, for example. So that was a really useful metric to understand at least small businesses in the arts, how they were faring. But beyond that, and so with FEMA we put out this white paper and it tracked a lot of other data sources that we helped provide.
Including revenues of performing arts industries, performing arts organizations, nonprofits, in particular looking at how they fared. Understanding employment. I think that was the surest that is so true that artists are in fact entrepreneurs a part. Because I mean, they are highly likely to be self-employed or be doing multiple jobs.
And so when the gig economy as a whole was threatened by the pandemic. And I know we're not talking yet about sort of the health and well-being consequences that. But accumulative leading to that is so centric to this question, as well. But just in terms of economics. You know, understand the unemployment rates and how, for example, dancers, musicians, actors have much, much higher unemployment rates than other workers. Even, and that was going until, I think as late as the end of last year.
I think things are recovering a little bit. Like we're starting to see the unemployment rates get lower, even for those groups. But, you know, so many of them are self-employed and I think that's what's made it also hard to really measure in the way we would like to. Because there's limited information about some of these artists, and arts workers. But what we do know, those are some indicators I would offer. And, you know, a lot of that I've spoken about so far is about the performing arts sector.
And that's kind of intentional because certainly the arts sector was hit all across, you know, museums, galleries, every other sector, subsector. But no question that performing arts industries seemed to, you know, been hit the most. And, you know, you know there's a variety of reasons we know about, stay-at-home orders, sheltering, etcetera. But, you know, that also had a ripple effect. As was alluded to, to run the local economies in which they didn't have it.
And so that has to be taken into account. You know, people's likelihood to go out and experience other activities. Because they just came out from the performing arts event, you know, they want to go to lunch down the street. Or, you know, what other kinds of activities will I do in my neighborhood.
That's had a ripple effect. And that's a bit harder to measure. >> Thank you. And Hakim would you mind speaking a little bit to that? Can you highlight the business, kind of like the biggest way that musicians have been effected during the pandemic? >> Yeah. I think specifically in emerging artists in music, you know, it's been devastating. Because they are dependent on live performance.
They're dependent on connecting with new fans and, you know, moving the needle on their promotion. And they don't have the add dollars to compensate. So, there's no other outlet.
And you know, a lot of people have tried some live streaming stuff. And if you already had a decent fan base, you know, we've had some artists that were able to convert that into an app ecosystem. With, you know, pay-per-view, and all kinds of cool stuff.
But if you weren't are already established. If you didn't already do a couple tours. I think right now, you're still sitting in here going with what am I going to do? We've lost historic venues that to most people is just that dive bar around the corner.
But it was a stable stop for artists on the way. You had to, you know, you had to be able to pack that little 400-seat room in the middle of nowhere. And that room is gone. And so is all that history. And so, I think that the challenges are still revealing themselves on how artists are going to adapt.
You know, I think getting out and being able to play outdoors and some of the stuff that's been going on. It's been fine, but the money is not there. It's not the same revenue.
In the early days for emerging artists, you depend on every penny you can get out of every opportunity. And I think that hasn't come back yet. And I think there's a lot of people that are, you know, really kind of terrified, as to when is that, how is that going to come back? When is it going to come back? And you know, I think that as response I think that a lot of artists that I work with or that we are connected with, have gotten more creative. Outside of just creating music. They've gotten with their collective teams and said well what else do we do? Let's do other stuff. Podcasts, and YouTube channels, and you know, building just having to slow build momentum wherever they can.
And I think that's, I mean for me, I tell every artist that we talk to is that you have to look uniquely into your ecosystem. And go, okay what other creative outlets can you come up with that, you know, aren't just you performing your song over and over in front of an Instagram live? Which is not very entertaining. And so, you know, that's the challenge for everybody right now. You have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to put yourself out there in different ways.
Touring is just putting yourself out there [inaudible]. It's finding new and creative ways to put yourself out there and connect with people. >> Thanks. And thanks for sharing that, you know, having to sort of uniquely look into your own ecosystem. And then pushing out of the usual comfort zone.
And so, Laura, having creative people push themselves out of their usual comfort zones to get their products to market. Has that changed the nature of the questions that you've been seeing? Or the support that's been sought by members of the community? And could you give us a couple of examples? >> Yeah. Absolutely. I mean just echoing what Sunil and Hakim have highlighted, I think the, you know, environment for artists in the last year is something that, you know, people never could have anticipated.
The sort of catastrophic nature in the way that it has touched pretty much all artists at all stages of their career in some ways. I mean you think about certainly performing artists and I think that's easy for a lot of people to imagine. But it also, you know, you think about visual artists or craft artists who make the majority of their living selling work directly at fairs in the summer, or at festivals.
And you think about the number of artists who teach in schools, or work in elder care facilities or who have second jobs. You know, in the hospitality industry. And it just sort of, at all levels had a really big impact. And like others have said, I think it only took a few minutes for artists to put their creativity to that moment.
And to really think about how to work within those constraints. You know, what was possible and also what their communities needed over the last year, which has been tremendous in terms of our need for ongoing social connection, and meaning making, and processing of grief. And the, you know, sort of doubling of the crisis with the uprising in reckoning around racial justice.
So yeah, that's changed pretty much all the questions. I think, you know, I'm sure a lot of folks listening can imagine that there's been a huge push for folks to move their work online. Across all disciplines and of course some artistic disciplines are more inclined towards that than others.
And some things work better online than others. But it also opens up a whole set of new IP questions for folks. Where, you know, there was one set of questions when you were doing is live and in person. But now, if that performance is online or images of your work are online in a different way, and can be taken and used.
I think that's a whole new set of questions. We've also seen a lot of artists really leaning into their creativity around more analog ways of showing their work. Or getting the work out there. We supported about 80 projects across the state of Minnesota that were projects specifically designed to address issues of social isolation. And I was really moved by how many of those projects weren't kind of Internet-based projects. You know, they were people making zines that were mailed from person to person.
And really creating these tangible experiences. I think in a moment where people want to be able to touch and hold something that that brings them together, builds a connection. Even across the distance. And then maybe the last thing I'll mention in terms of specific issues that I think really highlights how the context changes intellectual-property questions. You know, I'm talking to you today from Minneapolis and we've been at the center of a lot that's happened over the last year. And a lot of crisis, and a lot of pain, and trauma in our community.
And one of the most hopeful and beautiful things, I think that has happened is the number of artists who have stepped to the moment, you know, painting boards and murals on businesses that are boarded up. Or who have been damaged you know really participating as leaders in movement work around social change. And there were IP questions even there.
So, for example, last summer in the uprising, after George Floyd's murder, there was an explosion of murals all across the city. Mostly on boards on small businesses. And then, you know, a few weeks later there was a huge push towards someone should collect these to document this moment in history. And it brings up a lot of questions about who owns that? The artist who painted it, the person who bought the plywood, the business who has the board on it.
And I don't think any of that conversation was really driven by like who has the ability to monetize this work, but whose work, whose story is that to claim? Who gets to keep that work? Who gets to tell that story in the long term? I think those are really thorny questions that I think illuminate how important IP is. Even outside of the ways that it's connected to how people make a living, or monetize their work. But it has real impacts on our ability to tell a community narrative. Or for a community to own its own narrative sometimes, too.
And an artists' participation in that. >> Thank you. And Sumil, I noticed you unmuted yourself. Did you have some follow up thoughts? >> Well, I just thought it's interesting, we did this report, again, released again, earlier this year called the art of reopening. Where we tried to understand what business practices organizations were using who were in fact reengaging with live audiences, in person audiences, in their facilities during the pandemic.
Because if you recall, last summer, you know there were some of you opening here and there. And then it kind of shut down again. We wanted to know what they learned from that experience. And a lot of what Laura was saying rings true about the issues around copyright. We didn't treat that very much in the report, but there is this you know, maybe it's kind of a paradox in that, you know, even though a lot of arts organizations right now have been pushed to do more virtual engagement.
And on the one hand, that's opened up a lot of opportunities to get, you know, and if you will global market share, right? They can get outside their own communities and get other people from all around. People who wouldn't come into the door of their facilities, potentially. So, that seems kind of, you know, possibly holds out promise. But it's not, it can be deceptively simple to think that that's the going to be a panacea clearly and there's a lot of issues in terms of the fixed costs.
And, you know, the higher costs that there were incurred to make that happen. A lot of these arts organizations aren't necessarily set up to kind of have a hybrid, kind of model in the future, where a lot of the work is online and a lot of their stuff is in person. So, it's a question of how much they can sustain that kind of, you know, online engagement and also monetize it. As we said. But the sort of, maybe mini paradox here is that even as people, or maybe having more outreach in terms of virtual, they've really doubled down in many ways of what they do in the local communities.
And the way that was described. Because, you know, part of it's a function of people not being able to, you know, you can't attract tourists as much anymore, for example. So, let's focus on our community members. But that's also made many arts leaders, I don't want to use the word accountable, but more responsive maybe to what the needs are of their communities. And understanding these issues of equity and inclusion, at a much deeper level.
Because they now, you know, people who made, communities where these arts organizations may have been. May not have been accustomed to engaging with those organizations. And now this kind of forced, you know, allow these arts organizations to work more actively in their local communities.
To build audiences long-term, and patrons, and partners. So, there's this kind of two problem kind of thing going on with virtual engagement on the one hand. Where it's not so much about local audiences and the much more specific community level kind of engagement. We think both are necessary now. >> Thank you.
And then Hakim did you have any final thoughts for us? >> Well, I was actually, when Laura brought up the pieces that were done on the, you know, plywood. It is just, it goes back to the importance of understanding these copyright laws. We deal with some issues in the same space for tattoo artists who owns the tattoo? The copyrights of the tattoo. The guys whose body its on? Or the guy who actually created the design and put it on.
Is it a work for hire? Is he buying the copyright? So, we've been in regards to look at, like when you start to think about these murals-- >> Okay. Looks like Hakim, we've got a little bit of a cut out. >> Of outreach of what we do, where we spend so much time going into, you know. communities where frankly they're not even coming to your website. Because that's the last thing on their mind. And, you know, going to where these creators are, you know, developing and having these conversations and being able to get ahead of it.
Because a very interesting thing happened over the summer. I had an artist who I was working with and he wanted, he had a buddy whose window was smashed up on his business and he wanted to go to a nice big piece on there. And I said you should buy the plywood.
You should tell him what you want to do. And you should buy the plywood so when he's ready to take it down, you can take it home. And just be upfront about that. And then the guy wound up buying it from him when he reopened the store incorporate it into the new design and all the this so.
But like I know, it's impossible to even think about things like that when you're in the moment. And when you're really in the creative space. And I started as a music producer and, you know, engineer, and songwriter. So, when you're in the space of creation, it is virtually impossible to step outside of it. But I think that in your process, overall, everyone needs to find a moment to step outside of it and go, okay what am I not think of? To Laura's point, you know, I don't let any artist do anything without seeking out some kind of entertainment attorney and getting their advice.
Most entertainment attorneys that are worth their salt will talk to you for free if you've got something real going on. Just to earn your business. So, you know, and even if it's a few hundred dollars, I mean, what's you future worth to you? What if it's the biggest, best thing you've ever done? And it goes viral and takes off and generates hundreds of millions of dollars? It's worth it.
It's a worthwhile investment. So, I just think it's fascinating. I think it's complex and, you know, more outreach. More on the ground, and more looking at interesting scenarios like this where that is almost impossible to answer right now. They hired some company to do the board up. They didn't even buy the wood.
So, the company comes with the wood for the board up. And now, this guy puts a nice mural on it, does the business who hired the company, who then paid for the wood own it? Does that guy who did the mural own it? Does the company in the middle own it? Who owns that copyright? I think it's actually more complex than we even recognize right now. If we really got into the weeds on it. So, I think figuring out ways to build into early development for artist. Some aspect of consideration to these things in their process is imperative to success in creators.
>> Thank you, Hakim. So, I feel like we have spent a lot of time really exploring and unfolding how in mesh we are all, with small businesses and creatives. And, you know, people in the larger community.
And connections between how the two kind of work together, and exist together. And I just would like to round out the last few minutes of our conversation, talking about, just kind of celebrating the importance of these businesses. And highlighting some support that is available to them. As well as, you know, just maybe discussing how we support them. Right? So, how do we make sure that this ecosystem, no matter what happens, comes next, right? Because it feels like we're at a reflection point. No matter what comes next, how do we make sure that these small and medium businesses thrive? And so, I think.
I guess maybe Sunil, I just touch base with you really briefly because I think that we've gotten to that how art works model in our discussion, naturally. I think that we've talked a lot about this ecosystem. But could you briefly just codify it for us? And how the NEA has, sort of, formed a way of visualizing. >> Sure. Well, we have a report. This is now, I guess, close to ten years old.
But it's kind of had successive work on it. And it's a guided our research agenda among other things. Which is a way, we sort of visualized, a kind of theory of change about the arts. So, there's systems now. I know that seems really baffling, like what does that have to do with art, you know? So, diverse and heterogeneous. But, you know, if you look at creativity at the core of the arts and if you can imagine concentric circles.
And I can share this thought, I've been bombarding your audience members with stuff in the chat. Resources. But I can send that report. And it's kind of like a diagram. But then it's like, you know, kind of describes like the core is creativity in creative industries, in creative workers. And how it expands to broader participants in that community, that ecosystem.
And sort of, what the inputs are. And what sort of outcomes are associated with that central [inaudible]. And it sort of, it allows you to see the relationships of these different actors in this ecosystem in a way that may allow you to think about very deliberately, if you're an organization or a policy making organization, particularly. How you support various aspects in that ecosystem. So you know, I guess one of the things I just want to point out that we are actually in the process and we hope maybe in a couple of months to release a report about artists who use technology as a creative medium. Because that's a segment, if you will, of this ecosystem that we have not really done a terrific job of tracking.
I think among cultural funders. You know, knowing about, you know, all the ways in which, you know, we already know how arts organizations, many of them use technology for their backroom operations, for administrative purposes, even for distributing their creative work. But how are people using technology to make art? And we did a series of roundtable meetings and sort of town hall meetings if you will. Over the last year or two.
And even in pre-pandemic, and then follow that up with, you know, other work, literature reviews, etcetera. And this report is probably going to come out in a couple of months. But it's also been supported by the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation regarding specifically this question. So, it includes recommendations for how we can try to support this class of workers better. And sort of really elevate them as part of this full-arts ecosystem.
Because a lot of times, you know, artists are the chimeric hybrid figures. They have all these kinds of other sometimes multiple sectors we talked about how they are likely self-employed. We lose sight sometimes with those who are dependent on technology in the creation process.
And that raises this whole set of other issues around copyright as well as, training and resources needed for those kinds of artists. So, we'll be releasing that report in the coming months. So, I just wanted to flag that. >> Thank you very much. And so, Laura we had a little bit of a discussion about the ecosystem and recognizing their own place.
You know, Springboard, part of their mission is that they are for artists and by artists. How can artists and creators help each other succeed? >> Yeah. I think so like you said, Springboard is an organization run by and for artists. Everyone on our 17-person staff is a practicing artist themselves. And that value of, you know, helping within our own community, and building the ecosystem for artists within our own community is really important to us. I think one of the challenges for individual artists, that's really been illuminated over the last year that certainly existed before, but I think a lot of people understand it now.
Is that the ecosystem for individual artists such that it exists, is really localized. And there isn't really a national system for individual artists. It is a matter of each artists in your own place sort of cobbling together other artists that you trust.
Maybe there are small business organizations in your community that understand the needs of creative businesses. And you can work with them. Maybe it's a local community developer. It might be your public library. It might be resources you download online.
It might be relationships you have in your own neighborhood or in your own community. And they're, you know, we saw that especially a year ago when, you know, the kind of system for emergency relief for artists who were really falling through the gaps. Especially at the beginning, of other relief efforts depended, initially, on what became a network of hundreds of small, local groups of artists and arts organizations running their own emergency relief funds.
And that's work that we were able to help support in a lot of different ways. But just by sharing what we've done here in Minnesota. And kind of sharing the tools in the process for that. So, I think in terms of what artists need, there are very clear policy changes that need to happen to close some of those gaps. And I'm, if I have optimism right now, it's that I think a lot more people recognize what those system gaps are. And they're the same system gaps that exist for a lot of other small businesses and other gig workers and self-employed folks around healthcare, around access to unemployment, around other kinds of safety nets, and around the kinds of legal and contract protections that need to exist.
That make it so that, you know, a year ago when the bottom fell out and things were getting canceled. We saw organizations, venues, sometimes trying to claw back commissions, and payments that they had already made to artists, who had signed contracts that didn't protect them from from that. That didn't require those commissioners to provide any kind of support or any kind of runway or anything of safety net when they cancel the contracts. So, there's a lot that needs to change in the ecosystem and a lot that needs to be built out.
I think there are also, like I said some reasons for optimism. I think a whole heck of a lot more people recognize those gaps than they did a year ago. And I think there's a certain spirit right now of openness to some better experimentation of how we support creative workers and small businesses. Here in St. Paul, in Minnesota we just launched a new guaranteed income pilot in partnership with the City of St. Paul and the National Network of Mayors for Guaranteed Income
that will focus on artists and creative workers in our neighborhood in St. Paul. And that pilot is really meant to be a research opportunity for us to better document and demonstrates the impact of supporting creativity in a neighborhood. And in the ways of that impact the rest of the community and the rest of the economy, in the hopes that artists can be more at that table around the kind of economic system changes that need to happen for the benefit of a lot of people. Not just artists for sure.
But I think artists should be a part of the system-wide conversations and policy change conversations that I think are emergent right now. And really ripe for making that change, maybe more quickly than we could have, had the last year happened. >> I agree. Thank you so much. And one of the things that you had mentioned was the challenge and opportunities of long-term contracts and thinking about contracts.
And Hakim, what do you think is the biggest copyright issue that creators should think about when they're signing? >> Oh, when you're signing the contract? I tell artists all the time that I don't believe in the bad deal. I believe there are bad offers and there are bad decisions. So, you know, look just, you have to think these things through. You have to assume this is your shot to create your next opportunity and that's it. And you really have to think through and I think that before signing any contract I really do, like getting proper legal advice from someone who can really represent your interests. I think the other side of this, and in this space, especially in the early stages emerging stages a lot of people will offer you up a lot of advice.
And you have to look at sort of where they're a stakeholder. What is their interest? And you know is their interest in getting your content for their platform, or their deal, or their company? Or is their interest looking out for your best interest and the best interest of your IP? And so I think just you know, being you know a lawyer is the key thing. Don't sign anything without getting proper legal advice from somebody who understands the space. Not your uncle who does DUI cases. Somebody who understands copyright IP and the space that you are operating in. It's imperative.
It's really the only way, it's the only way to potentially you know protect yourself. I think one other interesting thing, I'm part of an ongoing debate that we've been having on whether AI generated music or art of any kind, copyright can be owned at all. And I don't know that anyone has an answer for that. But it's something when you look at the sort of future and technology, especially you know creators using technology. If you're a programmer and you create an AI program that then generates music, well, that AI program, if it's true AI.
It's independent of you. You've just set it free and now, it does it's own thing creates. So, can a computer own a copyright? Who gets to own that copyright. I think that this spaced is so fascinating to me and I love it, but it think that we have to be more forward thinking about, I mean not just right now where we are with technology, but look at how fast things are moving, and in this space. With, especially with creation.
Even when you look everybody utilizing predetermined loop packages. Well, you start using enough of that content, there's no clear copyrighted at all, ever. And you know so I think people just have to really be forward thinking about this stuff and look not just where we are, but where we're headed. Where we're now starting to have a lot of machine learning engines. And a lot of things that help, that assist us in creation.
And I think that you know, there's a really fine line that creators need to understand that you know, that the work has to be created by them in order for them to be able to own it. And you know, if not there's arguments that can be made. And those arguments, they may not be won or lost, but they could just tie your stuff up forever. >> Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. Each of you have sort of wrapped this up with a future looking, and taking a look at the challenges and sort of the opportunities that are coming in policymaking, in community building.
And in technology. So I'm going to pause just for a second so that we could have our guest from the US Patent and Trademark Office Miriam DeChant. Thank you so much for joining us, Miriam. She's here to tell us about other world IP celebrations. >> Thank you so much, Whitney.
It's good to see you and it's good to see all of my fellow panelists as well. Thank you for letting me tag in. so my name is Miriam DeChant, I direct our Global IP Academy at the US Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, which is a Department of Commerce agency that's America's innovation agency developing and promoting reliable, predictable, and high-quality intellectual property systems here and abroad with our colleagues at the Copyright Office. So, I think Holland is going to put up some slides for me. And then I'll just go through them for a couple minutes and pass it back to all of you.
Thanks so much. So like I mentioned, of course the US Patent and Trademark Office also has resources for small businesses and we thought it would be an excellent idea to both participate in the Copyright Office's public event on World IP Day and also to invite the Copyright Office to collaborate with us on our event, which will be later today at 3. So, with that, next slide please. I'll just tell you a little bit more about us and how we can help. Let's skip this one.
Next slide. Just, I'm sure you went over this. But I just want to highlight just as you wrap up the program. T here are four main types of intellectual property in the United States.
Although of course you'll hear about different types as well. Patents which protect new and inventive ideas. Trademarks, which identify the origins of goods or services. And of course copyrights as well as trademarks, which is any information valuable and kept confidential. So next slide please.
The USPTO has resources to help you with the first two. Next slide, and those are the ones I'll be going through just right now. So first when filing application for a patent to protect an idea that has [inaudible] or a trademark to protect the brand that you own.
The first line of defense is the USPTO assistance centers. These are available all day, every day, weekdays. And by our website as well, USPTO.gov. Next slide.
I also want to make you aware of our micro entity status designation. I just want to highlighted this right, right now because it does provide a 75% discount on most patent fees. And additionally it's important to know about an option to have a low cost submission to establish or filing date, which is provisional patent application. Which depending on your entity size can be discounted even further. When you're a micro entity, you're basically a small business under 500 employees.
Just like the SBA says, and you haven't been named as inventor on more than four previously filed applications. So this is the designation that might be really helpful for any of you if you have works that have a utility to them that puts them outside of copyright protection. Next slide. So, if you want to file a patent application on your own, go back one, thanks. You should just be aware that of course this process is complex. So, just like Hakim was saying, it's always best to engage with an attorney, who can give you the best legal advice which the government cannot give you.
But if that's out of your payment abilities, just be aware, next slide please, that there are options to support you. That the USPTO has and that the USPTO engages with outside. So when you're filing prose or by yourself, you can have support that is going to give you some education on outreach, some guidance. One-on-one assistance, but again not taking the place of an IP attorney. Next assistant with trademark application processes, we're proud that we've recently redone this trademarks basics page, which I really direct especially all of you to since you will probably want to protect the brand that you're carrying as well as all of the copyrighted content. It will take you through application, exam, publication, and registration.
All of the essentials, direct you to educational programming that we have going on for free on a regular basis. And just so you know not everyone is required to have an attorney when filing for the PTO for trademark. But consider whether or not you should for the same reasons addressed earlier.
Next. This is the homepage, the is the hub. This is the inventors and entrepreneurs' hub. It's recently been redone. Check it out, it's just uspto.gov/inventors. It's going to get your started, help you understand how to apply, what resources are available, all the ones I'm talking about today. And help you after you apply through the process, which is somewhat more extensive in someways than filing for a copyright in terms of follow-up, maintenance, and then protect yourself against some fraud issues.
You'll also learn about some start up resources. If you have a business and you're sort of in sort of mid stage of your business and you're looking into various funding ways to leverage your intellectual property that require larger business plans in thinking about your strategy. Next page. Thanks. So this is the second most important page at pto.gov, which is find help in your area. Yes, PTO has a number of regional offices covering regions as well as a lot of headquarters resources that will cover virtually or by the phone, areas including patent and trademark resource centers in your area that are in public libraries.
Patent pro bono programs that can help connect you with a registered attorney, who can represent you before the PTO, free of charge. And then, a large number of legal clinics within universities that assign students under the guidance of faculty to represent you before PTO. So if you go to this site, you can click on the state that you live in and it will just take you to your regional office and all the resources that are right there.
But just don't forget that plenty of these resources and educational programs are available at a national level, and you can see those any time . So, next slide, just go ahead to events. And I'll just say next slide. That today at 3, we'll be hosting the Copyright Office with Katie Rowland, along with Mary [inaudible] our Chief Policy Officer on a panel about USPTO and Copyright Office resources for small business. And before that we will be hearing from the World Intellectual Property Organization, as well as the head of PTO and small businesses themselves as they, you know, make it through this whole process.
So thanks very much for that opportunity. I'll just encourage you to reach out to any of your US government representatives if you have questions about intellectual properties, and the way that the US system works. I think we're all proud of it and we want to be accessible to you in all of your creative and innovating. So, thanks so much, Whitney.
>> Thanks, Miriam. Thanks so much for joining us. So we have two precious minutes left and with all of these opportunities that were from up in this moment of change for our creative community, I just would just like to get your final thoughts about what can creative business owners do to influence this change and participate in this change? >> I'll jump in, you just said it.
You have to participate if you're going to influence the change. If you know, from the moment the Music Modernization Act passed we've been very proactive in trying to be participating in it from a community standpoint and try to make sure that people can understand the different changes that are going to come, as far as that goes. And now to the MLC and making sure that outreach is getting beyond the traditional outlets. Because again, you have to get into the communities where this stuff is really starting and you know by the time kids are discovered, specifically in the music space. Like by the time you're "discovered," you have probably a bunch of tracks out. You started to get hundreds of thousands of plays.
And you don't have a bmi or ascap and you have no idea about the MLC. And so you know, just people have to be proactive. They have to participate, you know, if you're going to influence this in any way, you have to be able to provide informed feedback on what things you need changed locally, or what needs to made easier for other people like you. And I think you don't get to do that unless you participate actively in the whole process. >> Thank you, Hakim.
>> I guess I would offer the National Endowments for the Arts, you know we have a lot to do and we're hopeful to you know kind of expand the number of people in organizations can participate not only in the creative enterprise nationwide, but can really reap the benefits of that. And really make sure there's more equitable participation if you will, in the creative economy or the arts part of it through our grant making. So, the historic legislation that was to offer COVID relief. We were fortunate to get about $135 million that we're going to be rapidly turning around into grants for those arts organizations that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. But also to support the artists and arts workers that come in to do that work.
So that's where our kind of mission is kind of where we're really focused right now in the short-term. And in doing so in a very equitable way. And that's partly in response to the president's challenge to government through a couple of executive orders he's put out, particularly around equity and under served populations. So you know, it's extending the benefits of the creative economy and bringing people into the workforce for that economy for example arts education that I think we can do our best to ensure that the benefits are distributed.
>> Thank you Sunil. >> Yeah, I mean I think I mean the last year has demonstrated the many, many ways that our systems in our economy don't work for a lot of people. Not only artists. So for me, part of the what's needed, or how artists can help in this moment is to figure out locally, especially how we work in solidarity with other folks who are working on those gaps. I think the things that impact artists in this moment around our economy, around equity, around intellectual property, they're not necessarily unique to artists, and we're not going to solve them on our own. We need to be in the work with other folks who are also helping to imagine new ways that our economy can actually work for more people at a local level.
Particularly, I think about this question of the gig economy and folks who are often working without a safety net, whose labor is undervalued. And who are often exploited and extracted from. And that's artists, and creators, but it's also a lot of other people too who are working in that economy. And so I think, there is a moment and an opportunity for us to be in partnership with those other movements with other people who are really trying to figure out how to rebuild something that works better. Not just go back to normal, than what we had before and to see that as a gaol.
But to really see this as an opportunity to make real change. And that's not going to happen overnight. We have to the work in the systems that we have while we work to dismantle the systems and build something new. But I think that's the work, I think, if we really want to build meaningful change that really changes how we value culture, and creativity, and meaning making, and human connection in a different way that exists. In a way that people can make a living and feed their families, but that doesn't sort of define value only by its ability to return economically. >> Thank you, Laura.
So that is our time today. And I just want to hank Hakim, Laura and Sunil for bringing their expertise to provide us with a rich portrait of community and ecosystems. To understand how creators, small businesses and all of us are connect together.
So I want to thank everybody for attending today. And I hope that coming away from this presentation if you are a small business or a creator that you feel that some more resources at hand and some more answers and support. And if you are a fan of creative arts,t hat you feel inspired to turn to your community, and to find your creators and to discover all the unique and wonderful ways that we express our inspiration and creativity. So thank you so much again, everybody for joining us and happy World IP Day.