Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Copyright in Fiji

from w
An interesting point has been raised about the use of certain Fijian words that are used for marketing purposes - clothing, tourism projects, etc. Should permission be sought to use a certain name that has particular meaning to the Fijian people. Okay, there's Mana Island for a start. The word 'mana' is full of implications - religious connotations for Pacific Islanders so what's that got to do with a tourist resort eh! I really wonder though if you need a decree (law) about it as there seems to be far too many trivialities in decrees. Maybe a polite request is all that is needed and an explanation to the designers of clothes of the meaning of the new label. It's also an opportunity for Fiji actually to promote Fijian values - perhaps. The reference to the next Bose Vanua - is interesting. I wonder when?

From the Fiji Sun today:


The use of iTaukei words and names by merchandisers for branding of their products will be protected under a new law on traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.

The iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture under the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is waiting Cabinet’s decision on the model law.

This draft legislation is to safeguard traditional knowledge and expressions of culture from abuse and commercialisation without consent from traditional owners.

When enacted, the new legislation will ensure that owners and custodians are recognised and that their rights and interests are safeguarded.

Speaking during the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Labasa yesterday, iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture officer, Keasi Vatanitawake said the objective of the new law was to preserve iTaukei protocol, culture, language and identity.

Ms Vatanitawake said businesses were making money by selling branded items and products that provinces were known for, or identified with.

She said some of the names used and iTaukei words were of traditional values to the iTaukeis.

However, majority cases, the traditional owners have not been consulted or compensated for the use of their rightful identity.

They include the sale of iTaukei-branded clothes and cultural artifacts that are marketed daily and exposed to copyright.

And example relayed to the council members was the sales of bula-shirts with brand name, Aisokula. Ai Sokula is the clan to which the current Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu belongs to. Ratu Naiqama, the paramount chief of Cakaudrove is a member of the Ai Sokula clan.

Ms Vatanitawake said the objective of the new law was to safeguard and oversee that owners and custodians are recognised and were not exploited for commercial gain. She said some form of compensation should be given accordingly for the use of their identity.

Council member, Samuela Nakete applauded the initiative saying that it was an issue that needed to be discussed by their chiefs during the next Bose Vanua meeting.

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