Seven Principles for Adapting to the New Digital World

  • world economic forumprinciples developed through World Economic Forum call for global collaboration to address the borderless nature of digital media
  • Internet users report relatively low awareness of laws regulating the use of digital content
  • Over 100 experts from media and technology industry, government, civil society and thought leaders, including innovators and artists, contributed to the principles
  • More information about the Norms and Values in Digital Media: Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Digital Age, visit:
  • The 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is taking place from 22 to 25 January

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21 January 2014 – The World Economic Forum launches today new principles to address intellectual property issues in the digital context.

The Norms and Values in Digital Media: Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Digital Age present a shared set of goals to help adapt business practices and policy-making to changing norms and values in a hyperconnected world. The principles are part of a World Economic Forum initiative, supported by McKinsey & Company, which examines digital issues related to privacy, freedom of expression and intellectual property.

“The way we create, consume and share content and information has changed dramatically in the digital era,” said Diana El-Azar, Senior Director of Media, Entertainment and Information Industries at the World Economic Forum. “The principles lay out a vision for the way we want our online culture to evolve.”

Developed by over 100 experts in workshops and interviews in 2013, the Principles for the Creative and Information Economy in the Digital Age encourage governments, policy-makers, the private sector, civil society groups and individuals to:

  • Foster and reward creativity
  • Build an ecosystem for innovation
  • Expand access to content
  • Inform users about ownership and rights
  • Give creators and rights owners control and choice
  • Enable people to be creators
  • Strengthen global collaboration

“Collaboration is needed on a global level as well as a local level to effectively build a system of laws and business practices that will enable the creative and information economy to flourish in the digital age,” said Mari Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia.

The principles represent values and goals shared across industries and geographies. However, differences on reaching agreement on appropriate policies and business practices among different stakeholders involved in creating, delivering and consuming content remain.

According to a 2013 World Economic Forum/comScore Consumer Survey, about 33% of Internet users in the United Kingdom and 63% of Internet users in Indonesia between ages 18 and 34 report using digital content from professional and non-professional sources to create their own content. Users also report relatively low awareness of laws related to the use of digital content, with only 25% of users in the UK reporting that they are aware of any laws that they need to follow related to videos on YouTube.

The Forum has selected the UK and Indonesia to test the principles and to address conflicting views. In the UK, the challenge lies in distributing content as widely as possible in ways that consumers find compelling, and coming to an agreement on how policy can and should support the creative and information economy in the digital age. In fast-growing countries such as Indonesia, achieving the goals laid out in the principles will require new collaboration between the many government ministries involved in the space to design an appropriate framework.

“There is a complex coordination challenge here; it is a global issue with a lot of players and conflicting economic incentives,” said Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom. “To move forward, there often needs to be a neutral party holding the ring.”