Fights at the World Copyright Summit

Gibb hopes to put human face back on music biz

Copyright drama!

Sounds like a contradiction in terms, yes, but the second annual World Copyright Summit, held in Washington last week, demonstrated just how emotional talkin’ copyright can be.

In several instances, it was almost shoutin’ :

Mitch Bainwol, prexy of the RIAA, lambasted Benjamin Ivins of the National Assn. of Broadcasters for peddling a “garbage” resolution in Congress against a performance royalty.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Assn., blasted National Music Publishers Assn. topper David Israelite for making “cute, clever and intellectually dishonest analogies” that equate illegal downloading with real property theft.

Israelite returned the compliment by accusing Shapiro of “hypocrisy.”

Then there was Zahavah Levine, chief counsel for YouTube, loudly heaping “Shame-on-you’s” on another panelist for misrepresenting her position.

Copyright debates tend to conjure images of policy wonks citing statistics and statutes to support arcane positions. Not the case at the summit, which is just the way Robin Gibb wanted it.

Gibb — that’s right, of the BeeGees — is prexy of the Intl. Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, which sponsored the summit. The whole point of the two-day affair, Gibb told Variety, was “to put a human face back on the music industry, which has become faceless in the last 20 or 30 years.

“I come from an era when there was more of a human element in the industry,” Gibb went on. “I’d like to get that back.”

It doesn’t get a lot more human than people fighting in public.