Friday, May 11, 2018

Local movies and piracy in Indonesia

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It is often said that governments work to improve IP when their own industries suffer. The Indonesian film industry was widely reported this week as complaining about losses of IDR 1.5 trillion (over $100 million) due to content and DVD piracy. It conducted research across the country and found that most Indonesians download illegal films online or buy pirated DVDs.  

The biggest reason, the research indicated was that most people had no idea that watching movies that way was illegal in the first place.  Not many genuine movies are available in DVD format any more, but pirate DVDs made in Indonesia are widely available.  Newer online services like Netflix, Iflix and Hulu have only just started and are only available where bandwidth is high in cities. They are still more expensive than DVDs too. Peer to peer downloading is also a problem due to the availability of pirated content on sites.  This was ultimately a bigger cost to the movie companies because illegal downloads in cities take customers away from cinemas.

Another major reason is poor access to movie theatres. "People are drawn to pirated content because it’s cheap, and for those in remote areas it's the only way to watch films," the researchers stated. There are a little over a thousand movie theatres in the country with many of those in the capital Jakarta.

Indonesian movie association Aprofi regularly reports illegal streaming and download sites. The Justice and Human Rights Ministry works with the Ministry of Communications and Informatics to shut them down. Aprofi reported over 300 sites in 2017. While many are taken down it is time consuming and in practice, doesn't always happen.

The solutions are more nuanced than just sporadic blocking of a few sites once a complaint is made. It is necessary to target multiple streams, mirror sites, to co-opt IPS assistance and take a far more aggressive approach at stopping the access to illegal content.  Clearly blocking 300 so sites a year is not getting the industry anywhere. Apart from improving the legal remedies, there must also be accessible genuine movie channels, (so thousands more movie theatres – and jobs!), cheaper and more easily accessible genuine online content as well as more anti piracy education.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

SE Asia Inc's IP ownership remains limited

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A report in the Asia Times based on recent WIPO research on innovation in SE Asia underlines how much countries still need to do. to drive up industrial IP creation.  A 40% rise in patent applications over the last 3 years is not bringing with it the research and innovation that it implies.

Here is how the main SE Asian economies ranked in the top IP filers:

Singapore (29), Vietnam (31), Thailand (33), Malaysia (39), the Philippines (47), Indonesia (53). 

When you drill into the detail you find that Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are biased towards trademarks, not patents. Indonesia lags at 112th in the world in patents.

When mapped against world class companies, it also becomes obvious that few SE Asian companies are major IP owners. Some leading brands from the region are Indonesia's largest bank BCA, the Shangri La and Banyan Tree hotel groups from Singapore and the Thai Union seafood group.

On the technology side patents are dominated by relatively basic technologies like agricultural, chemistry and medical science and very little IT and biotech.

IP is only a proxy for innovation; but what is clear is the region is not yet producing enough.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Design law amendments in Indonesia

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The next IP law due for reform in this round (the copyright law was amended in 2014, then patents and Trademarks in 2016) in Indonesia is the designs law. An IPR of increasing significance and one that is popular with domestic applicants in the region, designs are often overlooked as a means of protection. ASEAN’s AEC is keen on pushing through the Hague system in major markets in the region to reduce cost for applicants.  

The draft designs law (along with some other draft laws relating to business/industry) were due to be presented to Parliament and completed in 2017. However more work is needed and likely the law will be enacted in late 2018. One interesting change proposed is an unregistered design right. Also draft article 30 speaks of international filings - presumably intended to accommodate Indonesia joining the Hague Agreement in the future. Or rejoining, as technically Indonesia joined as a Dutch colony before independence, but that of course was not recognized as valid after independence.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Naruto was just monkeying around in court

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Naruto the Indonesian monkey has failed in his appeal to prove copyright in the famous monkey selfies. See here for the history.

Of course he did; the question at issue was whether an animal could be a legal person therefore entitled to own copyright. Despite other attempts so far no one has proven animals have personal rights.

A US Federal Appeals court found that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an American animal rights organization (PETA) who backed his case had used Naruto “as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals.” PETA sued photographer, David Slater, on Naruto’s behalf. The court concluded “We have no idea whether animals or objects wish to own copyrights or open bank accounts to hold their royalties from sales of pictures.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

World IP Day

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Happy World IP Day today, Thursday 26th! There is a flurry of news, meetings, events and promotion which will continue in the coming day or two.

The WIPO Director Francis Gurry is on a tour in SE Asia. He was in Thailand for meetings with the IPD and then travelled upcountry to Chiang Mai where he visited GI producers including Yok Dok Brocade silk. Meanwhile the Prime Ministers of Singapore and Vietnam met and confirmed their collaboration on innovation and IP to promote economic growth. Philippines IP Director General Josephine Santiago issued a statement to promote IP among Filipino inventors and creative workers. 

All showing that the pursuit of knowledge economy in the region is alive and well. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Making IP financing work in Indonesia

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Jumping on the bandwagon of forward thinking IP plans, the Indonesian Creative Economy Agency is trying to set up a financing system for IP.  The aim is to enable banks to use IP as collateral for loans in the creative industries (focused on copyright especially).  Their attempts so far has stumbled at the point of valuation, there being a lack of IP valuers in Indonesia, and a lack of databases of rights.

The latter shouldn't be a problem for of course as there is a copyright office database which could be used. Malaysian bank Maybank has expressed interest in the system. The challenge is not the more traditional creative business sectors like F&B and crafts, but musicians and graphic artists. The Agency is working with the Indonesian Society of Appraisers on the valuation and royalty calculation side. Indonesia believes its overall creative sector is worth USD73 billion nationally.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

ASEAN EU IP cooperation

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The EU has launched the EUR5.5- million ARISE+IPR program designed to work on capacity building in IP matters in SE Asia. The EU IP Office base din Alicante will partner with ASEAN member countries to develop their IPR systems. This project is a successor to the longstandiang ECAP project.
The main focus will be working with ASEAN IP Offices in each country with a view to improving IP Office functions. In addition they will work on achieving the ASEAN Economic Community's (AEC) IP goals. While some level of regional cooperation already exists, now the AEC has an IPR Action Plan 2016-2025 (see here), to develop IP capabilities in the region. The EU ARISE+IPR project will focus on IP creation and commercialization, GI protection and generally promotion of IP in the region in support of AEC's IP goals.

This project launch comes in the middle of the negotiation of the EI Indonesia Free Trade agremeent which includes a number of draft IPR provisions.

Friday, March 30, 2018

ASEAN / Korean IP cooperation

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ASEAN, the 10 member economic bloc in SE Asia has a working group on IP. It is chaired at present by Dr Freddy Harris, who is also Director-General of the Directorate General of Intellectual Property in Indonesia.
This week all the region's IP  offices signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with South Korea.  The intent is to provide a framework for cooperation. They want to promote IP in each other's jurisdictions and create a mechanism for bilateral exchange and cooperation.
This is yet another example of bilateral cooperation in the Asian region. Korea is a major investor in the region as well as a heavy user of SE Asian IP systems. For example it is consistently around the 6th largest filer of Trademarks patents and designs in Indonesia.