International format creation advocacy organization The Format Recognition and Protection Agency (FRAPA) has vowed to take a tougher stand on intellectual property theft in its most recent newsletter to its membership.
According to Phil Gurin, FRAPA co-chair, founder of the Gurin Company and author of the message to membership, times have changed significantly since the agency formed in 2000. Gurin said the organization was founded to settle disputes between parties regarding intellectual property ownership with FRAPA, featuring format industry pioneers from around the world, often acting as a mediator. While that provided a low-cost alternative to legal battles, now, with the explosion of the format business and the significant sums involved, corporate entities are more prone to take matters to court.
Gurin added that while FRAPA isn’t a legal body and is “only as powerful as our ability to educate and persuade,” the agency is now set to “take a bold leap forward” and use its influence, international relationships and analysis tools to effectively call out instances of IP theft.
“Guided always by research, analysis, questioning and dispassionate neutrality, FRAPA declares that when we see a wrong, anywhere in the world, we will point it out,” Gurin wrote. “We will use every means at our disposal, through our newsletter, through our membership, through our relationships in the media, to point out unfair business practices, cry foul when we spot a rip off, and publicly shame those we determine guilty of intellectual property theft.”
“We can’t legally enforce our judgments; we can shout from the highest peak,” he added. “But above all, we can no longer stand quiet when the world is asking for there to be some neutral organization standing strong as champion for the creators of original content.”
In 2018, FRAPA developed its Declaration of Cooperation, a 10-point document currently available in 15 languages designed to unite all stakeholders in the industry behind the idea that honest collaboration is key to a healthy creative community. In 2019, the agency crafted the FRAPA Infringement Guide, created in response to calls from format professionals for assistance with handling suspected IP infringement, whether by a producer, broadcaster or platform.