Revised final edited reports

Before Copyright
A Multi Media Rights Clearance System for the Protection
of Intellectual Contributions in a Collaborative Networked
Multimedia Title Development Environment
Before Copyright Contents
Scope and Objectives
Consortium and Roles of Participants
Technology Developed and Work Carried Out
Dissemination of Results
Plans for Commercial Exploitation
Generic issues/Suggestions for Community Initiatives
BC Before Copyright
This document describes a pilot developed by CAM srl of Turin and EURITIS GROUPE
GEMPLUS of Marseille and validated by the INFO2000 Programme of the European
Commission (DG Information Society) in October 2000.
Scope and Objectives
To enhance development quality and time-to-market of new media content.
BC - Before Copyright aims at the protection of creative contributions in a collaborative
networked multimedia title development environment. Its goal is the construction of a
complete and reliable one-stop shop for all types of rights deals (with particular
emphasis on screenplays, linear and non-linear plots, dialogues, serial “bibles”,
character design, navigation charts and storyboards) related to development and
acquisition of new media content in the audio visual industry and electronic publishing,
to be licensed for on- and off-line indirect distribution.
The crucial phase of development-and-acquisition includes conception and structuring
of projects (“titles”), search for co-production partners, production of demos, search for
distributors, reviewing, localised trials, pre-production packaging. All these activities take
place before an ISBN or ISAN number is available and must be executed in a practical,
friendly, and secure manner.
The BC technology is composed of a set of exclusive tools for media content
development, including ethical-legal, collaborative, editorial, and transactional models
and procedures for media content developers, and a prototype for an original software
product (the BC Notary System), based on shared common assumptions between
professionals and experts from different countries.
The BC “Notary System”, specified, engineered, and tested during the project, is a
prototype software system for secured recording of transactions and contributions in a
collaborative networked multimedia title development environment (remote
brainstorming, rewriting, co-authoring, pitching and surveying).
The BC technology makes available a trusted environment for collaboration and rights
trade, where a plurality of actors in different countries can develop new content under
flexible option agreements, while enjoying full respect for each intellectual contribution.
In fact, the system records and retrieves in a secure way each contribution the principal
producer receives, testifying for each file uploaded.
Paternity (i.e. who is the author)
Anteriority (i.e. the date of upload)
Authenticity (i.e. that no changes were made after the upload)
Knowledge given (i.e. the identity of the persons who had knowledge)
Equally useful to producers and authors is the fact that the editorial procedures
supported by the system favour effective transnational co-production, high quality, faster
time-to-market – thanks to traceable services in the editorial, legal, marketing, and
financial areas. All flows take place online between/among authorised and certainly
recognisable users.
Consortium and Roles of Participants
The BC consortium is composed of two synergistic entities:
The co-ordinator, CAM (Italy) is a networked company composed of 25 medium- and
small-sized audio-visual producers and interactive content developers. Besides defining
user requirements, CAM has acted as client of the engineering action, organiser of user
awareness, and field-trial and dissemination agent.
The partner, EURITIS (France) which during the project life cycle was acquired by
Gemplus, is specialised in the Information Retrieval and IPR domains, and has acted as
provider of engineering and technical expertise.
These two actors have collaborated as national leaders in their respective countries for
the DeveloperNet Interreg II I-F project, a networked development agency of 30+
French and Italian content production companies, aimed at establishing the basic tools
for tele-collaboration, e-commerce, editorial and technical quality, and legal advice. The
DeveloperNet network, which received the Trophée des Téléactivités 2000 from France
Telecom in March 2000, has been realising the one-stop shop the BC Consortium has
aimed at through the implementation of the BC results.
Technology Developed and Work Carried Out
Tools: Ethical, Contractual, Editorial, Quality, Business procedures developed
during 11 workshops where experts, scholars, and professionals simulated the
network activity. These tools, which include model contracts, networked editorial
traceable procedures, and traceable business flows, are meant to favour – with
the best use of the system – the highest quality in development and total factor
Prototype for the BC “Notary System” software: specified, engineered, and tested
during the project. The system reflects the assumptions shared during the
expertise work groups. The system is currently under further development and
The BC technology has a potential impact on productivity across the economic world.
Fine-tuned for media content materials, the BC technology has already received
significant expression of interests for the application in the development of titles for
university presses, for inter-university collaboration in development of educational
materials. Its transferability to other fields – such as those of advertising, fashion, music,
journalism, and software – is expected because of the speeding up of total factor
productivity the BC technology implies.
The BC technology allows media business to reorganise their production process. It
brings together rights trade and management and horizontal services for its users, with
the result of generating increased product quality, convenience, customer service – as
well as cost savings. The services (editorial, quality, legal, and financial) introduce both
significant improvements in the title-development processes of each user company and
economies of scale in acquiring them. The development process itself, taking place in a
secure environment, allows a wider use of open options which are more cost-effective
than writing contracts and facilitate the aggregation of co-producers with additional
authors. The traceability of all contributions strengthens credibility with the financial
partners. The overall result of the BC technology gives thus way to a systematic
enhancement of the search for co-producers and international distributors before
production, while improving product quality, time savings, transparency on rights, and
general convenience.
The other rights market places, which arose during the BC pilot phase, do not deliver
any service for development; their only goal (with the exception of the German Script
House, (, acting as an intermediary between authors and
producers in an environment where IPR protection is unavailable) is that of establishing
first contacts between rights sellers and buyers. Thus they do not introduce any
improving measures for product quality, security, and work environment.
The implementation of the BC technology contributes to improve the Information
Society. BC can manifest two orders of positive impact on society. By facilitating
European co-production and by improving content development, it is useful for the
production of higher quality content. If we consider the human resources that take part
in development, we also see that their way of working improves results thanks to a more
transparent and equitable environment.
The BC technology - coupled with the legal, editorial, quality, and commercial services
activated during the pilot phase – has a potential for offering an unequalled environment
to authors and producers from all countries. The networked SMEs who promoted the
BC project are currently engaged, with other companies from four major European
countries, in the further development of this technology. A new European consortium,
CREA Net, inherited the BC knowledge and is currently engaged in its enhancement
and dissemination.
Difficulty in obtaining venture capital on SME media content industry – resolved
through programmed transformation of company structure and use of the BC
technology as an asset.
Difficulty in acculturation among SMEs – resolved by intensive awareness and
simulation seminars held during project life cycle and programmed afterwards.
Difficulty in managing a shared-cost project – helped by additional effort in
practising consortium collaboration in terms of client/supplier relationship.
Technical problems due to late arrival of machines for the DeveloperNet testbed –
led to more intensive effort during last months of the project life-cycle.
Dissemination of Results
At the start of the project, we had just bi-national relationships. Now we are working
with Italian, French, Spanish, British, German, and Canadian producers and authors.
We have also opened negotiations in Eastern Europe.
BC was present at all the most important media markets and festivals of the last two
years. Hundreds of professionals from all around the world got in touch with the project
and some of its content.
However, when we perceived that our dissemination activities were contributing
precious information and criteria to competitors, we decided to be more selective in our
communication strategy and are now working at the establishment of a corporation able
to offer the first service of this kind in Europe and Canada.
Plans for Commercial Exploitation
Exploitation of the BC technology is based on two priorities: the direct industrial use of
the BC technology to generate an international content development agency; and the
licensing of said technology to other industrial users.
The BC project was realised from a proposal made thirty months ago, which in its turn
was based on a theme expounded upon five years ago, on the creation of a networked
agency, based on Internet protocol and dedicated to content development for European
* Claudio Papalia, Agenzia a Rete per lo Sviluppo di Nuovi Titoli, an essay published in
the quarterly MultiMedia, Edizioni Sonda, Torino, n° 23, March 1996
The core of the project consists of a bundle of networked software + tools for the
development of media content, operating on the IP. The business model proposed is
that of business-to-business among producers, co-producers, broadcasters and
distributors from different countries. The geographic extension of the network, initially binational, has now a prospect of soon becoming pan-European. The financial structure of
the network is expected to evolve, from the shared-cost project led by a consortium
limited company, toward a European corporation with a share of venture capital and
finally aimed at going public.
The general trend registered during the last thirty months, and particularly in the more
recent period, confirms the exploitation presuppositions of the project. ‘Media content’ is
a phrase that currently includes film, TV programmes, electronic books, some Internet
sites, digital discs, etc. Just a couple of years ago both those from the cinema industry
and the interactive content production used to feel as if they were working in two
different worlds; now the BC unifying approach is ripe for wide acceptance.
At the start of the BC project, the overall trend for e-commerce seemed to privilege the
business-to-consumer initiatives. Business-to-business e-commerce to link buyers and
content developers along the supply chain without transforming each producer into a
distributor was, and is, the BC model based on fees and royalties. Electronic b-to-b now
finds a more adequate terrain for being understood and financed. Its advantages in
terms of reduction in the cost of information input, procurement, distribution of services
– and in terms of improved transparency and efficiency in the management of the
supply chain – are much more proven now than two years ago.
Agreement between CAM and EURITIS/GEMPLUS about the exploitation of the BC
The agreement foresees “to equitably share the intellectual property of all the results of
the BC project.” Specifically, “it is agreed that each partner, when commercially
exploiting the results of the project in a single mode, will mention the contribution of the
second partner,” and that “both partners agree to continue to bring the results of the BC
project as a common background to the CREA Net project,” an RTD project recently
started under the IST programme of the EU.
The exploitation strategy of the BC technology is thus based on the combination of:
Commercial exploitation from the end of the project life cycle
Further technology development in a new RTD project.
Operational lines proposed at the end of the pilot project (Autumn 2000)
The BC exploitation strategy is based on the synergy generated by changes of
organisational structure and IT investments.
By Autumn 2001
User contracts 1st and 2nd generation (first generation being the current testbed,
and second generation the imminent inclusion of the prospective partners gathered
during the pilot cycle)
Venture Capital, Company evolution (Corporate company, common stock issued
to investors)
Users expansion, EU and Canada
Licensing to other sectors
Transfer to RTD, in parallel (CREA Net project, IST Programe of the EU)
By summer 2002
Further Users expansion, 3rd generation + RTD partners (increase of the
network value in line with the square of the number of users)
Start of joint exploitation (BC + CREA Net results)
New Venture capital, New Company evolution
Licensing to other sectors
By spring 2003
Going public
Generic issues/Suggestions for Community Initiatives
Many B2B virtual rights shops arose in these months, particularly in the US
(,,, – this last one had
a brief existence in 2000). Though at the moment they do not offer some of the cuttingedge services that BC features, they received prompter investments. If shared-cost
procedures were changed in such a way that a direct investment policy, with more
substantial collaboration and fewer “deliverables”, would be implemented, European
competitiveness in innovation would emerge strengthened. The capital aid should follow
three essential criteria: timeliness, control from inside the Board, a client/supplier type
relationship between coordinator and partners. We hope that the EC will allow
alternative forms of aid to innovation.
March 2001
Claudio Papalia
Supervisor of the BC project on behalf of the Coordinator, CAM s.r.l. of Turin