Expert: Technological Changes Affect Music Business

Candra Darusman, the Petitioners’ witness, after delivering a testimony at the judicial review hearing of Law No. 28 of 2014 on Copyright, Monday (11/27/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — When the world changes due to technology, it is not impossible that the commerce system also changes for it, affecting the music business.

This statement was made by law professor of Universitas Indonesia Agus Sardjono as an expert presented by PT Aquarius Pustaka Musik, PT Aquarius Musikindo, and Melly Goeslaw. He delivered his testimony at a judicial review hearing of Law No. 28 of 2014 on Copyright that the Constitutional Court (MK) held on Monday, November 27, 2023 in the plenary courtroom.

“The changes in the commerce system also affected the music business. In the analog era, the music business was characterized by the trade of physical phonograms such as vinyl records, tape cassettes, and compact discs (CDs). As digital technology developed, the music business also kept up with technological advancements. Music is no longer analog, but has transformed into digital. In the past, music trade took place in physical marketplaces such as music stores or malls, but now it has shifted to digital commerce platforms,” Agus explained in response to Case No. 84/PUU-XXI/2023.

He believes the method of making music available to the public in the form of tape cassettes and CDs is different from the method of making digital music available. The emergence of various digital platforms for music trade is a necessity in today’s digital era. That is why the narrative of the places of trade of goods mentioned in Article 10 of the Copyright Law should be interpreted not only grammatically or textually, but also be expanded to include digital music trading places as known today. This includes UGC-based (user-generated content) platforms that are increasingly popular.

“By expanding the interpretation of the place of trade, the potential loss of copyright owners can be eliminated or reduced. This is in line with the purpose of the enforcement of the Copyright Law, which is to protect creators and rights owners,” Agus emphasized.

The Need for Interpretation

Meanwhile, legal philosophy lecturer of the Law Faculty of the University of Mataram Widodo Dwi Putro explained that during the 4.0 digital revolution, the law cannot be changed. Copyright infringement has moved from infringement of physical copies to digital ones. It followed technological advances, but the law remains unchanged and has not kept up with the development of society. From a philosophical perspective, there is discrepancy between the law and facts. The law may not be able to anticipate new emerging issues.

Widodo explained that to address major lacunae in Article 10 of the Copyright Law of 2014—which deviates from the meaning and purpose of Article 28C paragraph (1) and Article 28D paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution—the justices must make teleological interpretation of the meaning and purpose of copyright as guaranteed by the Constitution by expanding the meaning of the conventional phrase “managers of places of commerce” to “managers of digital technology-based places of commerce.” That way, digital service platforms based on UGC are also covered.

Furthermore, he stated that such an interpretation is a commitment to protect the citizens’ constitutional right to gain benefits from science, technology, and art in order to improve their quality of life as well as ensure fair legal certainty as guaranteed in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the witness presented by the Petitioner, musician Candra Darusman, explained the consequences of limiting places of commerce to physical entities. It has resulted in the loss of opportunities for copyright owners to obtain significant economic benefits or enjoy their economic rights. He illustrated it by showing income from the exploitation of reproduction rights and publication rights.

Also read:

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Songwriters Complain of Copyright Infringement on Digital Platforms

PT Aquarius Pustaka Musik, PT Aquarius Musikindo, and singer Melly Goeslaw challenge provisions on the prohibition imposed on managers of places of commerce against allowing the sale and/or duplication of goods resulting from infringement of copyright and/or relevant rights at the places they manage in Articles 10 and 114 of Law No. 28 of 2014 on Copyright. The Petition was registered with Case No. 84/PUU-XXI/2023. 

The Petitioners revealed a concrete case in which social media platforms broadcast songs or master recordings belonging to the Petitioners without their permission. However, the Copyright Law has not regulated the accountability of digital service providers, especially ones that have user-generated content (UGC)

The Petitioners sued one of platform providers over the prevalence of contents that violated the Petitioners’ copyright of their songs or masters, but it claimed that based on statutory regulations, platform providers are not liable for contents uploaded by users nor for taking down those contents upon objections by the copyright holders.

The Petitioner believes the Copyright Law has not regulated such things so Articles 10 and 114 of the Copyright Law are the chief harbor of prohibition against any place of commerce allowing services or duplication of contents that infringe on copyrights. However, those articles have not accommodated current phenomena such as UCG-based social media.

As such, in the petitum, the Petitioners request that the Court declare Articles 10 and 114 of the Copyright Law conditionally unconstitutional and not legally binding.

Author              : Utami Argawati
Editor                : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR                    : Tiara Agustina
Translator         : Najwa Afifah Lukman/Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Monday, November 27, 2023 | 16:32 WIB 87