Copyright owners such as musicians, artists, photographers, chiefs, writers, and composers that are facing issues of copyright infringement of their original work have been given their final opportunity to voice their concerns, share their views on how to safeguard their works at the final consultation on the draft bill of the Vanuatu Copyrights Management Society on today 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.

On November 27, the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO) facilitated the second round of consultations where musicians and artists attended, unfortunately the turnout was not as expected.

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 this month.

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.

“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.

“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 reitareted on the importance of having views of all copyright holders and therefore, appealed for everyone to be part of the final consultation.

In 2012, Vanuatu signed the World Intellectual Property Organisation treaty (WIPO) under which member states agreed to pay each other’s publication, broadcast and production fees and performance rights.

The office of Vanuatu Intellectual Property is also administrating Intellectual Property Laws which covers patents, trademarks and designs.