Intellectual Property (IP) is a valuable asset for content owners and distributors alike. However, confusing rules and regulations governing this aspect of animation in the country have been difficult to comprehend. FICCI Frames 2008, through its session on ‘Animation IP Creation, Protection and Life Cycle’, tried to give some clarity on the topic with experts and practitioners sharing the dais to understand its intricacies.
With India seeing an emerging trend of original content creation in animation and gaming in the last few years, IP protection is an imperative for all original content owners as new avenues of exploitation get defined everyday.
Moderating the panel discussion, Ashish Kulkarni, CEO, Anirights Infomedia Pvt Ltd, tried to make this session interactive by taking the audience’s point of view at regular intervals. Opening the panel, he noted the various problems faced by individuals and studios in their quest for IP creation, protection and management. Bringing a legal perspective, Gowree Gokhale of Nishit Desai & Co, pointed out that several content owners failed to look at some intricate points like the ownership timeframe, thereby falling into a legal tussle at times.
Sharing a content creator and owner’s perspective, Smita Maroo, VP, Animation, Shemaroo, talked about how the company had managed to distinguish its character ‘Bal Ganesh’ from the popular god, Ganesh. Stressing on the points to be taken into consideration while making an IP, she said, “The format of the property has to be clearly identified, and most importantly, there should be unique differentiators while involving public domain IPs.”
Biren Ghose, CEO, Kahani World, too, was of the opinion that IP protection was vital as there was a huge value for it even after some years of its creation. Talking from a gaming company’s perspective, Sunil Thankamushy, Spark Unlimited Inc, USA, noted that small animation studios had greater chances of generating fresh IPs as bigger companies tended to stagnate on a particular IP that had become a success for them. “In the gaming industry, there is a tug of war between the publisher and the developer for retaining the IP, but ideally the credit should be shared.” With a Ph.D under his belt on IP, Dr Ajay Batra talked about the necessity of IP management in the country and pointed out the lax laws regulating it in the country. He also called for a collaborative framework in the country for this task.
While Suresh Seetharaman, President, Virgin Comics, stressed on the need to create “original IPs” for successful IP rights, Pankaj Kumar, Chairman, Geodesic, shared his views on using IPs on different mediums, which they worked out post the acquisition of Chandamama.