Copyright workshop conducted for music artists

The Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) has conducted a sensitization workshop on copyright and related rights, with special emphasis on its management and enforcement aspects to the music artists. Music composers, singers and bands attended the workshop.

Copyright is a right accorded to creators for their original creation in the literary and artistic domain. The rights are accorded in the form of economic and moral rights. Therefore, anyone desiring to use or exploit the copyrighted works must seek prior approval of the rights holder.

They focused on the enforcement and management of the rights, which comprises of two important pillars of copyright law. Although the copyright protection subsists automatically upon creation of the work, to derive economic benefit from the creation, the creators must efficiently manage their works.

However, managing the rights at an individual level is mere impossible, given the wide range of users at a given time. Also, the advent of Internet and digital landscape, underpinning today’s market, has made it even more complicated.

In such situations, managing the rights through certain specialized organizations known as Collective Management Organization (CMO) provides a feasible solution.

Senior IP officer, DoIP, Ugyen Tenzin, said that CMO acquire rights/mandates from the right holders, they negotiate and issue licenses with the users, collect royalty and distribute it back to the creators. The function of the CMO is equal to money in money out, he said.

“When rights are managed by CMO, the creators can concentrate on what they do the best, the creation of new works. That way, it adds to the enrichment of knowledge in the society and cultural development,” he added.

DoIP stressed on the requirement of setting up first CMO in the country, thereby ensuring remuneration for the creators, and institute efficient copyright enforcement system in the country to establish pirate-free market.

Meanwhile, a popular mainstream singer, Ugyen Panday, said, “We were not aware of what the copyright is, and it is something new to us. There are situations where we realize that we are not paid properly, and in my 14 years of singing career, there have been many incidents of copyright issues among ourselves.”

The music artists did not know how and where to report such violations, he said, adding that they usually forgot about the infringement or felt bitter about it.

“Now we know our rights as an artist, and what can be done if any such incidences arise in future.  If we do not know our rights, we would land nowhere even if we approach an organization to complain. This workshop is timely and gave us the hope to keep doing what we actually want, but with protection,” he added.

Director General of DoIP, Kinley T. Wangchuk shared that copyright area is very important and interesting, at times. He said that they have seen how important the entertainment, music, films, books, software and arts is for the general wellbeing of a person, and entertainment of the community during lockdowns.

“Those who are into musical professions are privileged and have a large potential to contribute towards country’s GDP. We can see how important cultural industries are, music industry in particular, as it gives identity to our culture,” he added.

Knowing the importance, he said that the department is there to assist, help and promote to the extent possible. For the past year, the cultural and entertainment industries were hugely affected, but they are hoping to get back to some sort of normalcy soon, he said.

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