Books for everyone -- the copyright law needs reviewing

Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A planned revision of Indonesia's copyright law must center on making educational materials more readily available for teachers and students.

This was the focus of a discussion Monday between the Directorate General of Copyrights at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the Indonesian Consumer Foundation (YLKI), the Indonesian Book Publishers Association (IKAPI) and educators.

The meeting was held ahead of the International Copyright Day on April 26 and Indonesian Education Day on May 2.

The piracy rate in Indonesia is one of the highest in the world because the country "is trapped between costly original works and low consumption power", said YLKI expert Indah Suksmaningsih.

The existing 2002 law does not easily allow the utilization of exceptions already contained in the various international conventions on copyrights.

"Our law focuses too much on copyright in art and not enough on educational materials," Indah said.

"The law currently gives owners total exclusivity in copyright," she said.

The YLKI wants to see legalized the reproduction of copyrighted works for personal use, teaching purposes, by libraries, for the blind and by the press.

They have already created suggested amendments to the current law.

The foundation also wants legalized the reproduction and publication of copyrighted photos for news agencies and educational purposes, provided the photos are harmless.

The foundation believes the law should allow the exemption of "copyright security measures" on certain works -- again, provided the material is for educational purposes, she said.

"There's no single piece of work (that has been created) without referencing previously published material.

"So for the sake of education, copyright owners should be much more flexible."

Ansori Sinungan, director of copyrights, industrial design and trade secrets at the Directorate General of Copyrights, said the existing law already regulated and forced copyright owners to make their works accessible for translation and reproduction.

"This is do-able through the so-called Copyrights Board, which still doesn't exist," Ansori said.

"My office is collecting material for a planned revision of the copyright law this year, which, if completed, will be the fifth revision.

Awod Said, head of the legal and copyrights department with IKAPI, said asking the government to purchase books under copyright -- to decrease the price -- would liquidate the publishing industry.

His association has proposed creating a "reproduction rights organization", including writers, publishers and photocopiers, to help cut the price of books.

"Photocopiers can then charge consumers (a higher price), with the dividends to go to writers and publishers as a royalty," Awod said.

"The amount is of course negotiable and should be justifiable, but this way photocopying materials will be legal and our copyright will be protected."
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated