Wed, 30 Apr 2003

'SMEs need to be told about intellectual property rights'

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In a bid to curb rampant piracy of intellectual property rights in the country, the government will focus on raising small and medium enterprise (SMEs) administrators' awareness on the issue.

Andy Noorsaman Sommeng, the information technology director at the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, said that most SMEs were not aware of the issue as most consumers were not concerned about intellectual property rights.

"They think intellectual property rights is unimportant as they do not understand its significance. It happens in almost all parts of the world," he said during a seminar on Tuesday.

Some SMEs are often involved unintentionally in the piracy of intellectual property rights here and they are not aware of the legal repercussions for violating the law.

Utama Kajo of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) gave one example where many manufacturers of leather apparel in East Java had copied foreign designs and trademarks for their own products in an attempt to capture as much of the market as possible.

"Don't expect SMEs to adhere to intellectual property rights regulations during these hard times," he said, adding that the government had also failed to support the SMEs.

Andy said that his office would provide accessible information for SMEs and simple methods to facilitate property rights registration in a bid to ease the pressure on SMEs.

Indonesia has several regulations on property rights, including Law No. 19/2002 on copyrights, Law No. 14/2001 on patents and Law No. 15/2000 on trademarks.

However, the implementation of these laws has not been effective and the United States has kept Indonesia on its list of most-watched countries for property rights violations since 2000.

The directorate said that this failure was the due to lack of coordination among law enforcers. Early this year, the government formed a task force comprising officials from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the National Police, the Customs and Excise Office, the Prosecutor's Office, and the courts, but they had yet to produce any results.

Relevant authorities at the central and regency levels have frequently raided shops, kiosks and stalls selling pirated copies of CDs, VCDs, books and computer software, but they are still widely available on the market.

Pirated VCDs, CDs and cassettes accounted for Rp 951.26 billion in losses to the government's potential revenue in 2001, the directorate announced.