Mr. John Willy Rudolp, the Chairman of Norcode and Mr. Saemund Fiskvik, board member of Norcode, gave a general lecture to stakeholders on Copyright and Collective Management Societies, in the National Art Gallery on the 14th of March 2010. It was a very comprehensive lecture, covering guiding principles, concepts, rights, economic benefit and implementation models.
The two gentlemen also held a directing meeting with stakeholder associations on the 15th of March 2010, during which, they put forward suggestions and commented on the draft legislation on Copyright, which is now with the Attorney General’s Office.
Norcode, a Norwegian based organization, has been giving assistance in establishing a Collective Management Society and Copyright Industry in the Maldives. Norcode was established 26 October 2007, by five collective management organizations: BONO, Gramo, Kopinor, Norwaco and TONO, with the objective to carry out international development work in the copyright field.
It was regrettable to note that most representatives of different associations, has had no prior access to the draft legislation that is going to be put forward to the Parliament. There are two contribution reasons for this. One, a standardized contact database has not been maintained and updated by the Government. Two, it is possible that, most of the associations present were formed quite recently. However, during the initial drafting, some select focus groups were consulted.
Very recently, UNDP has published a questionnaire aimed at the arts community, to facilitate compilation of such a database.
A high degree of uncertainty and unawareness still exists within the arts community. It is believed that a lot more education and awareness programs are needed to educate on the benefits of protecting the intellectual rights, along with the transitions that has to take place, in how business is done, here in the Maldives.
The draft legislation is not thought to have much room for further changes, as it has to adhere to the minimal standards of the TRIPS convention. However, Mr. Fiskvik, did note that, performers and writers may be disadvantaged, if implemented as it is. Therefore, there still is time and room to make the draft legislation better.
The events were organized by Intellectual Property (IP) Office, at the Ministry of Economic Development, headed by Mr. Ahmed Mumthaz, who has been actively involved in creating awareness on intellectual rights and involved in its implementation process.