Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu has expressed concern over Papua New Guinea’s lack of a formal copyright system for the past 21 years. He voiced his support for the country’s skilled songwriters, musicians, recording labels, and performers, pushing for copyright acknowledgement and equitable remuneration. Masiu noted that many artists have been compelled to seek assistance from international copyright entities like the Australasian Performing Rights Association Limited (APRA).
Masui emphasized artists’ dedication to safeguarding their intellectual property rights through partnerships with organizations like APRA. He pointed out that advances in technology, particularly the internet and mobile devices, have radically altered the landscape of the music industry.
He stated that such shifts present new possibilities and hurdles, making it essential to take an active stance on copyright protection and advocacy. Masui also observed that technological innovations have modernized how copyright revenues are managed. He cited that content streaming services such as Spotify and iTunes have integrated copyright distribution mechanisms that function similarly to mini APRAs.
He suggested that this development could mean streaming platforms become rivals to traditional copyright organizations like APRA, offering alternative revenue streams for copyright holders.
Masiu stressed the need for the government to reevaluate its existing copyright and neighboring rights policies. He mentioned that strides were made in this direction when the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act was passed in 2002, post-independence.
He said the act provides critical protections to copyright owners, recognizing their economic and moral rights. Masiu intends to discuss these issues with the Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Additionally, he urged the Intellectual Property Office of Papua New Guinea to take a closer look at the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act of 2000. He emphasized that a proposed amendment to the act, along with draft regulations, is an essential step in updating the nation’s copyright laws to better meet the requirements of artists and creators, thereby offering them comprehensive legal safeguards.