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b © provides a trusted environment for collaboration and rights trading, allowing different individuals to work together to develop multimedia content flexibly and cost effectively, while protecting each intellectual contribution. European organisations ranging from film companies and sound studios to video producers and electronic publishers are now using the b © technology.
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What is b © ?

b © is a networked agency dedicated to multimedia content development for European co-productions. A complete, reliable one-stop shop for all types of rights transactions, it provides a secure environment for the development of titles in the audio-visual and electronic publishing industries. This enables producers based in different countries to develop new content under flexible option agreements, while enjoying full protection for their intellectual contributions.

Data Flow Diagram The system is designed to tackle the important issues that arise before allocation of an ISBN or ISAN, such as the search for partners, financing, packaging and marketing. The projects scope includes stories, screenplays, music, storyboards, dialogues, character design and talent and location scouting. b © covers writers agreements, development finance contracts, co-production arrangements, market testing and distribution agreements. Moreover, the protected environment
allows for wider use of open options, which are more cost-effective than writing contracts.

"Under investment in development is the major cause of weakness of European multimedia content in the global market," says project co-ordinator Claudio Papalia of Consortile Audiovisivo Multimedia (CAM). "On the whole, independent European content producers spend less than 5% of their budgets on title development, while the average US producer invests more than 10% of a much larger budget. b © is providing EU-based organisations with the opportunity to achieve multi-dimensional quality through trans-national networking and enlargement of creative groups on a multi-lingual basis."

How it Works

BC Information Screen The b © technology is based on original software, known as the Notary System, combined with a set of exclusive tools for multimedia content development. These comprise ethical-legal, collaborative, editorial and transactional models and procedures.

Titles are developed on a series of levels, using networked agency on-line services. For example, editorial advice can be provided at the embryo stage to give shape and structure to a project, allowing it to be put forward for co-production. At the next level, the work is taken from structured to potentially partnered project, using services such as brainstorming, marketing consultancy, script analysis and legal advice and so on to the next level and towards production.

An electronic signature, firmly restricted to recognised parties, allows access to the site. Producers, screenwriters, editors and other participants, such as marketing, financial or technical consultants may enter the platform as project collaborators.

BC Project Screen Participants browse a list of projects in which they are currently involved, access the project development environment and check current provisions of contracts. Information on other titles under development is also available.


An alternative form of access is as a prospective partner, such as a distributor, a broadcasters commissioning editor, or a venture capitalist - seeking to evaluate new proposals from independent producers. Under a strict non-disclosure agreement, prospective partners can verify editorial interest in possible co-production, browse information on a list of titles under development, make suggestions and start negotiations.

What has been Achieved?

BC Meeting
Throughout the project, b © has been developed in close co-operation with potential users. At an early stage, four special interest groups (SIG) were formed under the themes of ethical and legal, collaborative aspects, transactional aspects and quality evaluation, each group consisting of entrepreneurs, local specialists, a scientific director and a co-ordinator. Each SIG held a two-day workshop every four months, with the proceedings partially published electronically and in hard copy.

The work of these groups lead to the definition of the ethical criteria, the main model contracts, the editorial procedures, the quality policies, the business model and plan for a networked agency dedicated to development of multimedia content for European co-production and global release. In the whole, the groups issued the specifications that brought engineering to the b © technology.

"In my quality of Scientific Director of the Ethical-Legal Expertise Work Group of the b © Project, I had the opportunity to appreciate the main features of the b © technology, explains Professor Avv. Marco Ricolfi. " I believe that this technology introduces an equitable and transparent code for creative collaborations and clearance of rights before publication: the criteria and the methodology are consistent with the recent trends of intellectual property protection, as set out by the EU and by WIPO."

Thirty partners, ranging from film companies and sound studios to video producers and electronic publishers are now using the system to create content. The interest raised by the system currently involves producers from the five largest European countries. More than fifty producers and some hundreds of projects are expected to be serviced by the system before the end of 2001.

"Cinema, TV, music are largely collaborative areas where transnational co-production can allow independent labels to overcome financial weakness, says Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione, Head of Multimedia Research at Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni (CSELT) in Turin. "The b © approach, based on secure recording of contributions and flows of knowledge during the development phase of media content can represent a first step for enhancing creative collaborations in secure virtual environments, even before writing contracts are subscribed. The fact of enabling producers and authors to collaborate under wide options can also help to overcome traditional barriers, such as those imposed by the different applicable laws, e.g. droit dauteur and copyright."

Milia Animation The project has also publicised its activities widely via press conferences and radio interviews, as well as through participation in major industry events, such as the interactive content marketplace at MILIA, the Cannes, Venice and Turin film festivals and MIPCOM, the international film and programme market for television, video, cable and satellite.

"Yorkshire Media Production Agency (YMPA) is established to promote talent and content within the fields of film, television, and new media in the UK. Through contact at the Cannes Film Festival, we have been privileged in receiving advanced information on the development of the b © technology," explains YMPA Managing Director, Colin Pons. "At the end of the project, YMPA was allowed to operate the system for assessment purposes. We believe that the assumptions made in the generation of b © and the prototypes for a secure virtual IPR trade environment allowing cross boarder multi country collaboration are timely and potentially very productive. It is evident from the trials so far conducted that the implementation of b © software will accelerate the development of film, video and new media productions. We are grateful for being given the opportunity to test this software within a secure and trusted environment.

The systems content is now being expanded to encompass further creative talent, as well as producers and publishers, editors, legal consultants, distributors and broadcasters, rights agencies, collective rights organisations and financial institutions. The projects participants also plan to license the product to other sectors, such as advertising, fashion and software.

Participants

Co-ordinator, Consortile Audiovisivo Multimedia (CAM), represents 25 medium and small audio-visual producers and interactive content developers. Turin based CAM is leading the expert work groups and managing the pilot. The technology itself has been engineered by French trustware architect EURITIS. The company specialises in information retrieval, intellectual property rights and notarisation of electronic transactions and provides Internet and network security and workstation control.

Co-ordinator

Claudio Papalia
Consortile Audiovisivo Multimedia (CAM)
Corso Sommeiller 17
IT 10128 Torino
Email (email removed)

Partner

EURITIS SA, Marseille. France
Euritis Logo


Downloads

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 Last updated on 28-03-01

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