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  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

Country Focus: Indonesia

Indonesia's Creative Sector: Challenges and Progress in Intellectual Property 

Indonesia's Thriving Creative Economy:

As a member of the G20, Indonesia proudly hosts a dynamic creative sector supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. This ministry plays a crucial role in shaping policy and promoting the diverse facets of Indonesia's 17 creative sectors. However, despite these efforts, the country faces ongoing challenges in copyright and piracy. 

Copyright Law and Digital Platform Regulation 

The existing copyright law, established in 2014, is due for an update to better align with current needs and provide enhanced protection for rights owners. Stakeholders are calling for revisions in various areas, such as exceptions, limitations, and the extension of copyright terms.

Adding to the complexity, digital platforms fall under the regulatory purview of the Ministry of Communications (overseen by the Ministry of Law's IP office), supplemented by rules on electronic communications from the Ministry of Communications and even a third set of regulations from the Ministry of Trade. They all cover copyright in some way, creating a multi-layered regulatory environment. 

Piracy and Enforcement Hurdles 

Piracy remains a significant issue, with notorious syndicates like "Indoxxii" which interestingly derives its name from a large theatrical group, operating with relative ease. The importation of illicit streaming devices, primarily from China, further complicates the landscape.

Moreover, Indonesia's position on the USTR Special 301 Priority Watch List underscores the challenges in IP enforcement. Slow processes and tactics like domain hopping hinder the IP department's efforts to block illegal sites, which quickly resurrect themselves to circumvent the blocks. Furthermore, the low number of IP-related police cases and allegations of legal system corruption exacerbate these challenges. 

Community Responses and Legal Actions 

In response to these enforcement difficulties, rights owners have increasingly resorted to self-help measures, such as issuing warning letters to IP violators. The fear of an unpredictable legal system often prompts compliance. However, there is a silver lining, as civil lawsuits for software infringement have seen some success, with the Supreme Court upholding damages against unauthorised business software use. 

Government Initiatives for Improvement 

The government recognises these issues and is actively working towards better solutions. One key initiative is the development of a licensing system for Collective Management Organizations (CMOs). This system aims to streamline royalty collection and resolve previous licensing conflicts, ultimately supporting the rights and earnings of creators. 

Indonesia's journey in enhancing its IP regime is a testament to its commitment to protecting and nurturing its creative sectors. While challenges remain, the steps being taken signal a positive direction for the future of intellectual property in Indonesia. 

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