Irawan Karseno takes arts in command
The old adage “sharing is caring” is popular among social media users and online community members. It is based on the principle that when someone shares something beneficial on social media or an online community, then he or she is basically showing respect and care for other users. In exchange, people who like to share on social media and online community platforms often receive rewards in the form of reputation points or their authority level. Kaskus, the largest online forum in the nation, for example, developed a reputation-based system that rewards users who share good information. The more reputation points, the more authority the users gain with other users. Social media and internet savvy Indonesians also like to share artistic work on social media and online platforms. Some do it to get attention from the artists by telling them how good their work is, some to boost their social status among their virtual online friends and some may do it for the simple reason that they can.
While on most occasions artists can appreciate their work being showcased on online platforms, in some rare cases, creative industry players might deem it to be offensive and potentially cause losses to them.
For example, filmmaker Hanung Bramantyo found that footage of his latest film Rudy Habibie had been shared on social media.
“Most of the users who shared short-length footage were naïve teenagers. They didn’t know that what they did could be considered piracy and they could be criminally charged. Once I told them that, they immediately apologized and deleted their shares,” Hanung said.
“I can believe their claim that they were naïve and innocent. However, there were some who shared a considerable amount of footage of the film. One YouTube user even shared the whole two-hour film.”
Hanung said the full-length footage of the film was clearly recorded in a cinema and it truly surprised him that neither the cinema authorities nor the audience members stopped the recording process.
“The cinema authorities and other members of the audience in the cinema should have been able to spot the guy who recorded the film using his smartphone and stop him from doing it, but this did not happen. This shows that we still need to educate the public more about the importance of respecting others’ artistic work and copyright,” he said.
A decade ago, when social media
was not as popular as it is today, pirated products were mostly shared through the distribution and selling of DVDs, VCDs and CDs.
Among Indonesian pirates back then was an unwritten code of honor that they would never sell pirated versions of “Karya Anak Bangsa” (Indonesian-made artistic work) as a symbol that they did not want to make illegal profits out of their fellow countrymen.
When social media emerged as a new sharing platform, however, more and more Indonesian artistic work has been digitally uploaded and shared. Those who do this often think that since they are not making money from their sharing activity, and because social media is freely accessible, then they are simply showing their virtue and appreciation toward the community.
EDUCATING THE PUBLIC
Ari Juliano Gema from the anti-piracy division of the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) said the agency tried continuously to educate the public that digitally sharing movies, music or other forms of copyrighted work through free social media accounts was as illegal as selling them for profit.
“If you share something without the consent or the permission of its copyright holders, you have conducted piracy and you can be criminally charged. So, we always try to educate the audience to never share movies or other forms of artwork that they are enjoying even if they do not enjoy any financial profit from doing so,” said Bekraf’s intellectual property rights regulation and facilitation deputy.
“People need to know that social media sharing of important artwork content, such as an important scene of a film, can damage the industry in the long run. If you spoil an important scene, then other people who have not watched the film might lose interest in watching it and when more and more people do this, the industry and its players will suffer.”
Other than its educational efforts, Ari added that the agency had also cooperated with law enforcers to close online platforms that digitally shared Indonesian artwork illegally.
“We recently closed down 22 websites that offer free downloads of Indonesian films,” he said.
Ari also said the agency would remind theaters and entertainment venues that they could also be criminally charged if they continued to ignore the agency’s request for more diligent monitoring of their audience.
“Technically speaking, theaters and venues with their CCTVs have the capacity to stop any member of the audience who tries to make illegal recordings. If a theater or venue is proven to be negligent in such activities, then they might be held legally accountable as well,” he said.
Separately, film and creative industry analyst Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu from Cinema Poetica film criticism and studies website said that while public education on copyright and intellectual property rights was an important step in the battle against the piracy industry, Indonesia still had a long way to go.
“Our creative industry is still lacking in terms of infrastructure. In addition to this, it is very hard to measure anything concrete from this kind of industry,” he said.
In other countries, the UK and US, for example, artists have been able to develop innovative and creative ways to curb piracy of their products.
English alternative band Radiohead once released a new album for free on their official website. When a listener had downloaded and listened to the album, then he or she could return to the band’s website to make a payment in whatever amount that they deemed the album worthy of.
It was a great innovation from Radiohead and was considered revolutionary for the music industry. Adapting this kind of innovation in Indonesia, Adrian said, would be very difficult for now.
“Radiohead could do what they did because the infrastructure there was very complete. They could easily measure the number of downloads, purchases and so on. In Indonesia, however, without the capability to concretely measure results, then creative industry players will find it very hard to adopt a similar innovation,” he said.
RIGHTS OF WAY: Bekraf’s Ari Juliano Gema, MD Pictures’ CEO Manoj Punjabi, former president BJ Habibie, director Hanung Bramantyo and actor Reza Rahadian at a press conference for the new film Rudy Habibie. Courtesy of MD Pictures