Blog post by Florence Thepot, CREATe Associate and Lecturer in Competition and European Union Law, University of Glasgow
On 14 and 15th November 2016, I attended the international workshop on Cultural industries and digital platforms organised by the LabEx ICCA in Paris.
LabEx ICCA (University Paris 13 and University Paris 3) is an interdisciplinary research centre specialising in the creative economy. They focus on how changes such as digitisation are impacting various dimensions of the creative industry, including the emergence of new business models, methods of consumption etc.
The workshop was the second international workshop organised by the LabEx ICCA and took place at the Maison de la Recherche de l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, in Paris 5th arrondissement just near the Pantheon.
As a forum covering various aspects of the changes brought about by digitisation in the cultural industries, there were presentations about new business models, methods of consumption, cultural diversity, strategies used by public agencies, innovation in the cultural industry, funding and the role of users. One particular benefit was the diversity of angles and the interdisciplinary dimension of expertise displayed, ranging from economics and sociology to communication sciences and law. The size and scope of the workshop enabled very fruitful exchanges among 25 researchers from France, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany and the United Kingdom.
I presented a paper titled, ‘The role of digital platforms in the creative industry; Consumer Welfare v. Innovation?’, discussing the manner in which digital platforms affect the balance of interests between users and IP rights holders. With a focus on the music industry, the presentation reflected on the impact of market power and network effects, characterising digital platforms active in that sector on the trade-off between consumer welfare and innovation. The main claim is that both consumer welfare and innovation may be affected positively by market characteristics of digital platforms, if the focus is on longer-run innovation – defined as the creative process and cultural diversity. The conclusion also related to the Digital Single Market. It will be relevant to see how EU initiatives may promote innovation and consumer welfare, and if there is a necessary trade-off between both objectives.