For the first post of 2018 I looked to some encouraging news that recently came from Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Daily Post ran an article regarding copyright issues throughout the country. Copyright owners such as musicians, artists, photographers, chiefs, writers, and composers that are facing issues of copyright infringement of their original work gave their final opportunity to voice their concerns and share their views on how to safeguard their works on the draft bill of the Vanuatu Copyrights Management Society at the Chiefs Nakamal.
The Bill of the Vanuatu Copyrights Management Society is an Act to provide for the establishment, operation and regulation of the Vanuatu Copyright Management Society and for other related matters. The Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO) facilitated the second round of consultations where musicians and artists attended, unfortunately the turnout was not as expected.
Nevertheless, consultations on establishing a Copyright Management Society aimed to collect as much as possible views and opinions of copyright holders prior to tabling the bill in the parliament. Senior IP Officer, Sam Railau explains what copyright is. “Copyright is a component of the Intellectual Property. It applies to artistic works, audio-visual works, and dramatic works. It gives the exclusive right to the owner to print, publish, record and so forth,” he said. “Once an artist, a writer or a musician creates his/her work, it is automatically considered a right-able work which means this owner or creator of the work will have to follow the process to register with VIPO.”
Mr. Railau further explained that the copyright in a work comprises of both economic rights and moral rights in relation to the work. Under the economic rights, the copyright owner has the authority to allow his/her works to be reproduced. Moral rights are the rights of the copyright creators’ decision whether or not to publish their names in their works. The creator may object to any reproduction of his/her works if used without his/her consent.
One of the main visions of applying the Vanuatu Copyrights Management Society is to administer the economic rights of the copyright owners. Railau said, “This will become a one-stop-shop where all these copyright owners can benefit from by issuing licenses to radio stations or wherever their works are being used and they will be getting their royalties from them.”
Railau added that international artists will also become beneficiaries of this law. VIPO reiterated on the importance of having views of all copyright holders and therefore, appealed for everyone to be part of the final consultation.