Romanians discuss copyright with U.S. experts

More than 60 journalists, government officials, industry representatives and students participated in a discussion of copyright issues at a conference June 11-12 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, co-sponsored by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research and the Department of Journalism at Babes-Bolyai University.

The discussions centered on the history and current status of copyright law in the U.S., the status of copyright legislation and enforcement in Romania, international copyright agreements and the economic implications of copyright protection.

Keynote presenters at the conference were Prof. Kent Middleton, a legal expert on the faculty of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, Prof. Ray Patterson of the University of Georgia School of Law, Prof. Victor Ursa of the Faculty of Law at Babes-Bolyai University, and Ms. Terri Southwick, a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in copyright policy.

Additional presentations were given by: Prof. James Fletcher of the Grady College at the University of Georgia; Sidney Pike, formerly with CNN in Atlanta; Prof. Emil Boc of the Faculty of Political Science at Babes-Bolyai University; Prof. Maxim Danciu of the Department of Journalism at Babes-Bolyai University; Radu Clondescu, director of the Union of Composers and Musicologists of Romania and the Association for Copyrights; Laurentiu Oprea and Marius Dobrescu of the Romanian Office for Copyrights; Professors Dezso Benedek and Mihai Spariosu, faculty members in Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia, and Doru Pop of the Department of Journalism at Babes-Bolyai University.

The Cox Center jointly sponsored the program with the Journalism Department in Cluj-Napoca to provide seminar participants an opportunity to share insights on copyright and discuss the consequences of copyright legislation for emerging economies such as that of Romania.

The four keynote speakers provided their opening presentations on the first day of the conference and then joined other presenters in special theme sessions as the conference progressed. Those sessions dealt with the economic implications of copyright, copyright implications for the media and publishing companies, current legal issues in copyright, copyright law and the computer business, and intellectual property issues in public relations and advertising.

Prior to the conference, the American team of legal experts visited with journalists at Radio-TV Cluj and with representatives of the Cluj-Napoca Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

Following the two-day conference in Cluj-Napoca, the U.S. experts traveled to Sibiu, where they met with journalism educators and working journalists at the journalism program of the Lucian Blaga University.

Prof. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, and Prof. Tudor Vlad, director of the Department of Journalism at Babes-Bolyai University, discussed future collaborative projects before and after the conference.

Prof. Becker and Prof. Middleton traveled to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, following the copyright conference to meet with representatives of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication Studies at Bucharest University. Professors Becker and Middleton also visited the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest and the BBC Journalism School there. Professors Becker and Middleton also visited the Open Society Foundation Romania to learn of program activities in the media area.

"The conference in Cluj-Napoca and the meetings elsewhere in Romania were very helpful to me and to the Center," Dr. Becker said. "I'm very pleased we were able to collaborate with Prof. Vlad and look forward to working with him and other journalism leaders in Romania in the future."