In a bid to protect authors, composers and performers of local artists a special team has been set up to conduct investigations specifically looking at the issue of copyright infringements.
Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan says local artists have been losing out to pirates which is why a team has been tasked to deal with local cases to bring those who are continuously breaching the Copyright Act to justice.
“We now have a team that have undergone training and have the capacity to deal with cases of copyright infringements and we will work closely with the Fiji Performing Right Association to protect local artists from losing their hard earned money”.
The team will be based at the Criminal Investigations Department and is one of the major steps being taken by the head of the Force to ensure the illegal use of materials is put to a stop.
On the same note the Acting Commissioner of Police is calling on members of the Association to assist Police in as far as investigations are concerned.
“What we require from the Association is to ensure they have all their members registered and comply with the requirements of the legislation for the ease investigation under the Copyright Act”.
To do this members of the Association are required to provide evidence such as being the original creator of a musical work, is an arranger of non-copyright works amongst others.
Copyright is the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work.
Copyright infringement is the illegal use of works in copyright, violating the copyright holder’s “exclusive rights”, which frequently refers to the copying of “intellectual property” without written permission from the copyright holder.
“Those who continue to make, distribute, sell, produce or display the work of local artists which is in clear breach of the Copyright Act will be brought to justice”.
“The law is clear and our team has been trained and has the capacity to investigate and collate sufficient evidence to be able to contest the breaches before the court of law”.
Those found guilty of dealing with infringing objects under Section 121 of the Copyright Act 1999 could face an imprisonment term of up to 12 months and a fine of $5,000 for every infringing copy.
For repeat offenders those found guilty could face a fine of up to $100,000 or face an imprisonment term of up to 2 years.
The Acting Commissioner says the Force is serious about clamping down on the issue of piracy against local artists sending out a stern warning to those who are involved in the illegal activity.
“We are working in close consultation with the DPP’s office who has stated their willingness to support us in our efforts to curb piracy”.
“Let’s support our local artists and take pride in the fact that we have an abundance of raw talent who for so many decades have been loyal to entertaining us and refrain from supporting the copying and sale of pirated materials”.