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Creative industries in Mexico: business opportunity through intellectual property

  • 29 June 2011
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According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), creative industries are those industries based on the exploitation of intellectual property (primarily through copyright). For some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, creative industries are an economic sector in the national development strategy. Their results are outstanding: a few sectors grow at such a rate. The matter of creative industries is now beginning to carry more weight in Mexico.

Defining creative industries is not easy, since several countries show in their definition their interests and prospects for supporting the sector. But the definitions have in common that they indicate industries that are based on the creativity and skills of individuals (talent). They are distinguished by their great potential for business and employment through development of intellectual property. For the United Kingdom, which in its definition also includes a list of industries to say with certainty what type of businesses are being discussed (advertising, architecture, artwork, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, software, video games, radio and television, among others), has been since 1997 a development model to follow. Its results have been outstanding.

The WIPO, through a division which it created in 2006 to support business development in creative industries, recognises the importance of these two aspects: on the one hand, its economic importance; on the other, cultural diversity is involved with the circulation of symbolic goods.

According to the latest edition of the “Creative Economy” report issued by the United Nations (UN) in November 2010, creative industries are maintained from 2003-2008 an average growth rate of 14%, while other economic sectors were already showing a downward trend, and some countries indicated the possibility of a crisis. Only in the European Union, about 636 million euros of profit are generated annually, according to the same UN report .

From 2003 to 2008, the economic contribution of creative industries in some countries like the UK was around 8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the same document. Studies in Mexico by economist Ernesto Piedras, point to a similar average (a contribution of between 6.5% and 8% to national GDP). However, the economic contribution in terms of social benefit is much lower, since a large part of the value of creative industries in Mexico stays in the so-called shadow economy or piracy, an issue that the country must address if it wants to develop this sector.

Mexicos position to stimulate the creative sector at the level of economic development strategy has been very passive. However, some signs of interest in organisations that encourage the development of innovation are beginning to be seen. Pro México, for example, under the Ministry of the Economy, is already working on a strategy for driving business creativity, in which cinema, video games, e-learning projects, digital animation and multimedia are the most important areas. Pro México, together with other organizations, the project “Creative Digital City” will be a good reading exercise on creating digital content companies to measure their export potential. The question of creative industries was also included for the first time in Congress 2011 roundtables on Innovation and Sustainability of the Mexican Association of Directors of Applied Research and Technological Development.

While other countries are strategically seeking to concentrate ever more talent in certain cities to attract artists and creative people to benefit its own economy, Mexico is still deciding whether or not to enter into the global development dynamic in creative industries. And although the country has not officially defined its position on the promotion, nor does it recognise the sector, it has the infrastructure and enough talent, even with an interesting geographical position, next to the United States, to remain a country which adopts technology early. Therefore, in an optimistic view, this is a good chance for Mexico to decide once and for all to exploit its creativity and talent.

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Creative industries in Mexico: business opportunity through intellectual propertyCreative industries in Mexico: business opportunity through intellectual property