Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No protection for traditional knowledge in Indonesia

IP Komodo likes to see IP news from Bali, (which is best read on the beach under an umbrella).  The Bali Daily newspaper reports local frustration at the difficulties in creating IPRs on the island of the gods. The Center of Intellectual Property Rights at Udayana University in a recent seminar reported that the country's implementation of IPRs is weak generally and support for community based IPRs like traditional knowledge is almost non-existent.  

Some 59% of silversmiths in the famous Celuk village don't even report copycats, a recent survey found. Partly this is because of the old belief that imitation is flattery. But the net result is that their IP is not protected. Past attempts to help have failed. A 2009 attempt to create a database of Bali traditional crafts failed due to inter-governmental wrangling. One craftsman in Celuk even produced his own database of hundreds of traditional silver designs. But all he could was send it to the local Gianyar government. 

The fact is that such arts are probably not protected by the usual IPR laws, unless they are recently created copyrights with an identified owner. Celuk craftsmen need greater help.

Indonesia is not even beginning to approach the problem of traditional knowledge in the same way that India or New Zealand are. Specific rights need to be created outside the usual IPR laws, to create such traditional knowledge based IPRs first. Only then can these new rights be monetized and after that protected from copying.  They should start with setting up a Celuk GI.
With Indonesia struggling to find the focus to protect even regular IPRs - see here - it seems unlikely traditional knowledge will get much protection soon.



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