Martin Mills took the stage at MIDEM to accept the Billboard Industry Icon Award and, naturally, give a fascinating speech to a room filled with the world’s most powerful music executives.

Some selected quotes:

I want to address the lack of support that governments, politicians and bureaucrats worldwide show to the creative industries. Many pay lip service to the value and importance of the creative economy, but most fail to match that with their actions. Creative industries are built upon strong and defendable intellectual property rights, and without that they will inevitable wither and fail.

Rights owners, especially the biggest ones, have certainly made mistakes in their licensing practices. They still do. And I do believe that Universal’s EMI acquisition is designed primarily to give them an unhealthy degree of dominance in such areas vis-a-vis their competitors. I believe their predatory behavior is ill-befitting a market leader. But I don’t believe that the present day music industry is a reluctant licensor.

Tech companies should be the partners of rights companies, not their masters.

Read the full speech at Billboard.biz.

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