Culture is future » Financing and economic models

09.21.2011

DEBATES 2011 - Intellectual property - The Marigny Theater by Nicolas Dussart

Nicolas Dussart is Deputy Director General,  Théâtre Marigny.   

Can you describe your profession and in what way questions concerning intellectual property influence your institution?

Backed by its Director, Pierre Lescure, the Théâtre Marigny has been engaged in an open and ambitious policy in the past few months.  The quality of the programme, the diversity of formats and genres, events, circulation of the public, and modern installations have turned this historical place into a platform for exchanges, creations and emotions that are at the forefront of cultural innovation.

With the emergence of new practices and cultural expectations linked to the development of technologies, the challenges of intellectual property have become crucial.  At first glance, one might believe that the constraints imposed by a performance, with its “fleeting” temporality and the necessarily “living” presence of actors, could preserve the theatrical space of the contemporary debate on copyright.  But the opposite is true.  More than ever, the theatre must adapt itself to new modes of consumption.  What is a theatre in the age of the net?  The Théâtre Marigny has deliberately chosen the future: captation and retransmission, publications and smartphone applications, digital “channel” for debates with artists and the audience… These innovations obviously require an effort to adapt and pay particular attention to the mechanisms of intellectual property.

What in your opinion are the 2-3-4 current challenges of intellectual property?

Whether it is of an industrial, literary or artistic nature, intellectual property has been, and continues to be, the subject of a passionate debate.  It now shares the same balances as dramatic art: unity of time, unity of space and unity of action.

Unity of time: intellectual property must reconcile history – the incentive to create is an old one – and modernity.  At the leading edge of innovation, it experiences the most fundamental interrogations due to the dissemination of cultural property on the digital network. 

The second challenge, unity of space: the dematerialization and reproducibility of works and their circulation now implies a harmonization of international legislation.  If its legal and economic interpretation is not always the subject of consensus, depending on the countries, what can be said of the very principle of intellectual property?  Is it a universal value?

And finally, unity of action: defining appropriate technological and legal solutions entails new ways of working together.  Users, creators, public and private partners, software publishers and cultural institutions must reinvent their modes of collaboration.

What links together artists and labels, or institutions and labels, or creators and labels?

Art, culture and labels are no longer as incompatible as the former ideal of an artist freed from material contingencies. 

Today, the cultural institution has in reality become a “label”: it is through its identity, the originality of its position and its offer, that it can be recognized by the public and supported by its partners.  Today, the Marigny “label” exists; it is a reference of an outward-looking attitude, excellence, beauty and innovation.

But over and above the notion of “label”, it is through the convergence of values, the sharing of desires and the world that the audience, artistes, companies, art patrons, and places dedicated to performances or exhibitions can bring about win-win models of creation.   Worlds that yesterday appeared to be largely incompatible can at present dream and construct bridges, while forms of collaboration have multiplied thanks, in particular, to the contribution of technologies and their ripple effects. The Théâtre Marigny has made a commitment in the name of reconciliation between the cultural world and labels through new prospects for creation that respect the legitimacy and identity of all concerned.