Low awareness of copyright issues

National 3 minutes, 55 seconds


YOUNG Bruneian filmmakers are still not aware of protecting their work from getting copied, the sultanate’s first female feature film director said.

Siti Kamaluddin, director of Yasmine, said aspiring filmmakers should be aware of copyright protection before they can start gaining revenues in the global entertainment industry.

In an interview, she said it is encouraging to see the growing number of youth in filmmaking, but it is also important for them to know about the business in the industry.

“It’s okay to put something on YouTube because it’s good to promote yourself. But it is also important for young people to learn the mechanism in monetising their videos to gain revenues,” said Siti, who founded Origin Films Sdn Bhd in 2006.

“When I started, I used to produce a number of documentaries in Brunei and one of them is called Brunei’s Reflection which was only shown on planes,” she added.

Copyright protection could help filmmakers earn an income, and encourage young people to produce better documentaries especially in promoting Brunei to the world.

However, she noted that due to lack of knowledge, many young filmmakers chose to produce amateur videos instead of producing quality work.

Siti, who began her career in the entertainment industry as a television scriptwriter, urged aspiring filmmakers to learn not only the technicalities of filmmaking, but also ways to improve the quality of their work.

“Most young filmmakers, not only in Brunei, who do not go through film education, will not know about intellectual property rights,” she added.

Hjh Nor Hashimah Hj Md Taib, assistant solicitor-general and head of Attorney General’s Chambers’ (AGC) Intellectual Property (IP) Division, said no film copyright infringement cases had been filed in Brunei courts due to lack of awareness.

Copyright issues in Brunei are still in the infancy stage and AGC is in the process of amending the enforcement procedure under the Copyright Order to further strengthen enforcement in Brunei, she said.

The assistant solicitor-general advised youth to take steps to ensure their films are protected.

Copyright protection is automatic, and there is no formal procedure for registration in Brunei because the sultanate is a member of the Berne Convention - an international agreement to recognise the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries.

“Although copyright protection is automatic, application to copyright protection in court or law firm is not required, unlike other types of IP,” said Hjh Nor Hashimah, adding that registration to patent, trademarks and industrial design are required.

“Once the youth create their videos, they are automatically protected, but it is helpful for them to make some proof of their copyrighted materials,” she told The Brunei Times.

Youth can make statutory declaration to claim original work or show some proof that the work was created from the beginning, such as writing a diary or having witnesses, suggested Hjh Nor Hashimah.

She further advised youth to refrain from using other people’s materials when making videos.

“Make sure they use their own music as background music, otherwise they need to get permission from other copyrighted owners,” said Hjh Nor Hashimah.

The assistant solicitor-general encouraged filmmakers to be a member of the Collective Management Organisation (CMO) to get their works monitored for copyright infringement in other countries.

Collective management organisations are appointed by copyright owners to administer the licensing of rights, collection of royalties and enforcement of rights on their behalf.

The head of AGC IP Division also noted that copyright cases are difficult to prove in court.

“As an individual, it is a good starting point to write your names on the videos,” she said.

“However, the real issue here is the youth who are not aware of the disclaimer on the social media,” she said.

When people posted their creative works on social media such as Instagram, the ownership is silent, said Hjh Nor Hashimah.

She explained that once videos or photos have been posted on the Internet, the person who claims that their works are infringed has the burden of proof.

“If the youth feels that somebody has infringed their copyright through Instagram, they need to contact the service provider,” she added.

In terms of commercialising, Hjh Nor Hashimah advised youth to negotiate with production houses or recording studios whether they are willing to give up their full ownership.

Md Safwan Sabli, a member of ’bruneivinesvideos’ on Instagram, admitted that he does not know much about copyright protection.

Producing videos for entertainment purposes, the 25-year-old and his friends managed to gather more than 12,000 followers, but were clueless on how to market their talent.

“I know nothing about copyright laws. Most of the time, we just make videos for fun.”

The Brunei Times