English | Dzongkha Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Copyright registry established

Jan 28, 2012

For the first time, people can register their work with the copyright registry established under the Intellectual Property Division (IPD). It is a voluntary deposit and registration system where the right holders of the copyright and related rights works get to establish prima facie proof of authorship or ownership of their work. Those who want to register can apply to the IPD beginning next month.

The Director of IPD, Sonam Wangchuk, said that people can still enjoy the copyright even without registering or depositing the work with the IPD. “The purpose of this is, firstly, to provide the owners of the copyright with the prima facie evidence to show that they are the owners of the work. Secondly, to have a kind of repository of works with the division so that public can search and look into what are the literary and artistic works that is being created”.

The IPD will publish the notification in its website about the work to be registered. If there is no objection within one month, the copyright holder will be issued a certificate of registration. But it doesn’t guarantee against infringement. And this is the problem many copyrights owners are facing these days.

According to the General Secretary of the Motion Picture Association of Bhutan, Sherub Gyeltshen, the biggest violation that is happening is on the films. He added that pirated movies are readily available in the market.

The extent of copyright violation is huge. There are over 200 pirated Bhutanese films seized in the past from Wangduephodrang. The General Secretary said the judiciary, police and the Department of Revenue and Customs are the three enforcement agencies. But, he said, nothing has been achieved even when there is Copyright Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2001.

“We do not again expect special checking purely for pirated films and songs. While you do search tobacco, drugs and other illegal stuff why can’t you even do a small favour by even checking, seizing illegal CDs and DVDs that have been bought,” said the General Secretary.

And it is worse when the songs and movies are shared on computers and mobile phones. The impact is clear. A walk into the market and one will see less or no people buying Bhutanese films and songs.

An award winning music composer, Yeshi, shares the same sentiment.  “In the past there were many music albums because it was profitable. But now not many people are producing music albums. And movie makers also do not release albums,” he said.

The Act says any infringement of a right protected under this Act, if committed willfully, or by gross negligence, and for profit-making purposes, shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of up to one year or by a fine of up to Nu. 10,00,000 or by both.

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