I would just like to follow-up with the other day’s blog on protecting traditional cultural expressions with copyright protection news from the Cook Islands.
Last week creative individuals from all over the Cook Islands gathered in an effort to learn more about protecting their artistry. The first-ever National Workshop on Copyright and Related Rights was held at the Ministry of Cultural Development. Its goal was to enlighten Cook Islands people as to what is involved in copyright, its relevance and importance.
Sonny Williams, Secretary of Cultural Development, states that while there is a Copyright Act in the Cook Islands, there is a need for good systems to actually implement it. He says,
“The need for this workshop is that a lot of the composers who are seeing their work plagiarized or copycatted overseas. here’s nothing worse than creating something and seeing someone else make a lot more than you, or seeing someone take your work and turn it into something else.”
he Ministry now aims to give local musicians the tools necessary to protect their material.
Dr. Jon Jonassen, a well-known composer and copyright advocate, says he has been working on copyright issues in the Cook Islands for over forty years. He believes that many people have the perception that the Cook Islands is small and does not have a need for copyright laws. He states,
“It’s not the size of the population that matters, it’s the size and potential of the music. Our music is extremely popular around the Pacific, so our market is not too small to be protected properly.”
Mountainous interior- Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Jonassen is urging the government to recognize the economic benefit of properly protecting the copyright of music that comes out of the islands.
The workshop was organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Cultural Development and the Government of Australia.