Music Business’ Struggle to Protect Intellectual Property Examined at RIT, Sept. 19

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BMG’s Michael Smellie featured during Forman Honored Speaker Series

Protecting intellectual property remains a top concern of senior executives in the international business arena. No industry may be more vulnerable in that area than the music business—witnessed through the recent crackdown on the popular practice of “file sharing.”

An upcoming lecture at Rochester Institute of Technology offers an inside look at the industry’s dilemma. Michael Smellie, chief operating officer of BMG, is the featured presenter for the next installment of the Forman Honored Speaker Series, sponsored by the Center for International Business in RIT’s College of Business.

“The Management and Protection of Intellectual Property in International Markets” will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science auditorium on RIT’s Henrietta campus.

In recent years, the Recording Industry Association of America has taken a series of legal steps to target people who illegally share songs on the Internet. The RIAA estimates that the industry loses $4.2 billion each year to worldwide music piracy, which includes online file sharing.

“It’s a provocative issue, and the potential implications for both the industry and its consumers are enormous,” explains David Reid, Benjamin Forman Chair in International Business and director of the COB’s Center for International Business.

BMG, one of the world’s top five music companies, represents many top-selling artists like Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney, The Dave Matthews Band and Justin Timberlake. In his role, Smellie drives the international company from his office above Time Square in New York City, overseeing departments such as finance, legal and business affairs, and strategic development.

During the RIT lecture, Smellie will explore the current state of the music industry, copyright protection issues, and the strategies being used to combat music piracy.