Samoa tackles intellectual property rights
A business workshop winds up today in Apia aimed at improving knowledge around Intellectual Property law in the creative sector.
Samoa's creative sector has been meeting in Apia this week to improve knowledge around trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property.
It is the last of a series of four meetings sponsored by the Samoa government, the European Union, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Dominic Godfrey has the story.
The Intellectual Property Rights' workshop aims to strengthen creative sector businesses by improving knowledge around laws that will help protect them from unauthorised use of their work. Samoa's Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture's deputy CEO of Culture, Papali'i Peone Fuimaono-Solomona, says this latest workshop aims to fill knowledge gaps previously identified within the sector.
PAPALI'I PEONE FUIMAONO-SOLOMONA: "What we found at the first workshop, is that everybody is doing their own little thing, working on their own and having no knowledge of the services that are available locally and the legislations that are available to protect their work."
Papali'i says the workshops started in 2014, with two more in 2015, and the knowledge gained from each workshop has incrementally helped set a national strategy.
PAPALI'I PEONE FUIMAONO-SOLOMONA: "The first one was the national development workshop, getting everybody together... the second one was the capacity building workshop, mainly just to cluster everybody and see where the issues were... the third one was on entrepreneurship, trying to work together with those that have exported their products and those that have yet to do that."
The Pacific Community's Intellectual Property specialist, Pita Niubalavu, says the programme aims to provide general awareness of the rights available to those in Samoa's creative industries.
PITA NIUBALAVU: "How Intellectual Property can actually assist in their business, and how they can use Intellectual Property, for example, trademark as a business tool."
Mr Niubalavu says any trademarked product will work on both domestic and export markets.
PITA NIUBALAVU: Once they have a name to themselves, which is through their trademark, it will be able to assist them in terms of pushing their product into the international market."
He says Samoa has a lot of unique cultural products in terms of artefacts, fashion, health drinks, performing arts and musicians. Mr Niubalavu says this diverse group was represented at the workshop and it faces common challenges.
PITA NIUBALAVU: "Yeah, the challenges they raised is actually how the government is actually looking at the industry, as a sector. They want some recognition first of all from the government in terms of how cultural industries can actually assist in terms of the economy as a whole."
He says the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture presented a figure to the workshop for the 2013 year which amounted to over 7-point-8-million US dollars.
PITA NIUBALAVU: "They've shown an exciting figure on the contribution of the cultural sector, to the economy in 2013, which is valued at, I believe, around 20-million or above that."
Papali'i Peone Fuimaono-Solomona says the next milestone is to present the National Culture Policy due in June this year.
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