Government supports move to copyright local artists’ work

Local musicians will soon have their won copyright

By ANA VI

NUKU’ALOFA-May 19: 6.18pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Local musicians – composers and artists alike – are working with Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Commerce, to ensure there is a copyright law to protect their interests.

Meetings have been held between the Ministry of Labour and Commeerce and an interim committee of the Tonga Performing Rights Association on the issue.

The idea is to ensure that all local artists are able to have their songs and productions copyright so that those who copy the products are liable to pay penalties.

A committee meeting on Wednesday, the fifth so far, discussed ways on how more local composers can register their work with the association.

While finance is an issue for the new committee, the plan is to have the association registered as a Non Government Organization (NGO).

Music has proven to be a big money earner for many artists overseas because they have Copyright Laws in their countries that protects them.

Artists in different age-groups have made successful recordings and productions, and earned millions from their work.

The general feeling is that the work the committee is doing now is important.

The committee is trying to make local artists here in Tonga take interest in their work, have rights for what belongs to them and make them aware of the advantage in joining the committee.

Members believe that the income artists earn will also help the local economy.

“The purpose for enforcing copyright here in Tonga is to make Tonga’s local artists move to a better and more professional standards like overseas and also to make them have rights for their goods,” association President Falesiu Taiseni said.

“It is important that local artists should join because they will be able to earn a living from their songs and not just wasting time and energy on making songs and getting nothing from it.”

The committee has adopted a constitution to protect the right of those who will register.

That will be registered with the Ministry of Labour and Commerce as well.

“I am thankful for the committee and the Ministry of Labour for just a big help they are doing, I am looking forward for the copyright of our songs so that us local artists will finally earn living from our talents, ” composer and recording artist Simione Ongosia said.

“I am encouraging you all who got the same talent to come out and let us support each other as artists to make our talents move up to a better level and standard like America and other countries,” he added.

The interim committee is looking at recruiting more local artists to also attend their next meeting in June, which will also be held at the Ministry of Labour and Commerce head office in Fasi.

Artists who have been attending the meetings include the interim committee of President Falesiu Taiseni, Secretary Lavender Fusitu’a, Technical adviser Sione Hufanga, Simione Ongosia, Sosefo Mailangi, Jouker Soakai, Viliami Vilikoula, Jay and Falati Papani.