Deserved recognition for IP entrepreneurs in Abu Dahbi

It is a couple of months since it was published but it is well worth checking out the article Cashing-in-on-ideas published in the UAE’s Gulf News on 19th May.

Worth checking out if you have an interest in the creative industries in the UAE and are looking for signs of the rumoured green shoots in the desert and to then consider if there is sufficient ground water to sustain creative output.

The article sets out the UAE’s real and well funded interest in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in business, recognising the vitality of innovation to developing new business structures and market opportunities and the positive impact this can have on the economy. Two of the Abu Dhabi companies highlighted as recent beneficiaries are the music publisher and services company PopArabia and Trucial States, the film and television production company, both based and started through investment initiatives with twofour54.

I have known and had the pleasure to work with PopArabia’s founder Hussain ‘Spek’ Yoosuf for over three years, while I was at the UK music rights organisation PRS for Music. It is great to see the progress he has made in establishing the UAE’s first fully fledged music services company, representing many of the worlds biggest international publisher catalogues. He is a genuine entrepreneur and has worked hard and with vision in a difficult landscape for music companies and intellectual property (IP) owners, so this is a merited and well deserved public recognition.

In the article, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development is referenced on how innovation is vital to the economy and for setting out how the UAE offers assistance, advice, support and training to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

This is exactly what entrepreneurs and business will be glad to hear but in relation to music and media the ‘support’ needs to extend to the the implementation of the UAE Copyright Act so that the intellectual property rights that both companies own and represent will be recognised and respected by the businesses which use their rights and content.

The longevity of success that both PopArabia and Trucial States will be looking for is inextricably linked to the creators who create the great music and film and animation they own and represent and rely on for revenue. Until creators rights are better recognised, respected and valued then the realisation that this is a viable profession offering a secure environment and proper reward (royalties are the salary of creators) is not developed and this will undermine the level of creativity being generated locally and impact on the interests of the UAE government to develop local content to reflect the wellbeing of it’s society and culture.

Both companies will struggle to realise their full potential and to be able to value the investments they have made, while the potential investment of international media businesses could well be compromised as they consider the lack of supporting industry structures which help respect and value the use of their intellectual property.

This announcement of the emergence of PopArabia and Trucial States reflects well and now renewed attempts to develop the ecosystem of intellectual property rights ownership and management in the UAE need to begin. For the time being it is a brave place to be and a very difficult one to prosper in.

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