The National, Friday 25th November 2011
CONTEMPORARY Papua New Guinean musicians, writers and artists will not benefit from their work if the country is not prepared to enforce copyright laws.
Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture director-general Marianna Ellingson told a stakeholders’ consultation on copyright enforcement and implementation in Port Moresby: “The copyright law of PNG was passed in the year 2000. Since then, the country has taken steps into pushing its copyright regime to be at par with those of other countries and transforming itself into a model for the region.
“Our country has so far enjoyed a higher success rate of copyright enforcement over that of its neighbours from the time it was passed.
“However, recent illegal business activities which impinge on the copyright of Papua New Guineans have now posed a serious problem to our country.
“Copyright owners now face the problem of piracy in a variety of forms, including both physical and electronic,” Ellingson said.
“Enforcement has been a major issue and although there have been numerous efforts in creating awareness for copyright, it would seem that criminals have taken our copyright law lightly.
“The damage has been economic, psychological and emotional as creators see their work being exploited by others with no benefit going back to them,” she said.
“People are constantly looking out and somebody’s backyard will be displaying PNG art work overseas.
“Names like Martin Morobubuna, Daniel Waswas and others must be protected.
“The works of an upcoming contemporary artist Jeffery Feeger, who is gaining respect, must be protected as people will be out to steal their works of art.
“Our designs could easily be taken to China or any other place and be duplicated and resold, and the people who suffer will be our simple artists.
“It’s the same with music and writing.
She said concerned parties along with a select number of Government departments were now working together to stop this and proposals had been put forward on how best to tackle the problem plaguing the country.
Ellingson said an enforcement body in the form of Copyright Taskforce was now being formed to help resolve copyright issues in the country.