Constitutional Court to Decide on Broadening Copyright Law Interpretation to Cover Digital Platforms

Indonesia’s law on copyright, the Law no. 28 of 2014 concerning Copyright is becoming the object of yet another judicial review at the Constitutional Court, after the failure of one major music label’s lawsuit last year to revoke Articles 18 and 25 of the law related to reversionary rights. This time the judicial review lawsuit is filed by another local major music label, Aquarius Musikindo, aiming at Articles 10 and 114 of the Copyright Law.

Article 10 of the Law 28/2014 forbids owners of shopping establishments from allowing sales and/or reproduction of copyright or related rights infringing goods within the establishment. Article 114 complements Article 10 with criminal sanctions, which are provided in the form of maximum IDR 100 million (approximately USD 6,500). Different from last year’s judicial review where the plaintiffs demanded for revocation of the disputed articles 18 and 25, in their lawsuit Aquarius instead requested the court to broaden interpretation of the Articles 10 and 114 so as to include digital service platforms where user generated contents (UGC) are uploaded.

If allowed by the court, prohibition under Article 10 as well as the respective criminal sanctions under Article 114 would also apply to UGC-based digital services platform, which would no longer be allowed to give way to sales, transmission, and/or reproduction of infringing digital products within the platform.

One of witnessed brought by the Aquarius, Yudis Dwikorana, composer of several hit songs  for big names in Indonesia’s pop music scene especially in the 90s, in his oral statement before the court on November 11, 2023, claimed that he suffers from significant drop of royalty income as compared to what he usually received during the days of cassettes and CDs. According to Yudis, his revenue from May 2020 to May 2021 for almost three million views on YouTube amounted to only IDR 972.792,00 (approximately USD 63). He also complained also against bulks of his works that have been uploaded illegally in various digital platforms, which contributes significantly to his drop of royalty revenue.

Similar claim and complaint was also expressed by Hari Tjahjono, composer of  an extremely popular family song titled “Harta Berharga (Valuable Treasure)”. The song was used as soundtrack of a local tv series called “Keluarga Cemara (Cemara’s Family)”, which tells heartwarming stories about a humble yet very happy family with three kids. The song gains its popularity due to public admiration to the series, which itself had been remade into movies.

Before the court, Hari demanded more responsibilities from digital platform providers that he claimed as “those who opened the doors for his works being uploaded to the internet regardless of his consent as the creator”.

The proceeding at the Constitutional Court is still ongoing at the time this article is written.


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