Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Law protecting Aboriginal arts passes first reading

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature yesterday gave its initial approval to a draft law promising better protection of the intellectual property rights of traditional Aboriginal arts.

The legislature's Home and Nations Committee passed the statute governing the protection of traditional religious rituals, music, dances, songs, sculpture, crochet, totems and other traditional arts.

"While the Copyrights Law [著作權法] only protects the creative works of an individual, the statute would protect the collective intellectual rights of traditional Aboriginal arts," Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Minister Icyang Parod said.

An Aboriginal tribe or Aboriginal community may apply for ownership of the intellectual right of a traditional art, the statute said.

If the origin of the traditional art cannot be clearly defined, "more than one community or tribe may share intellectual property right ownership," the statute said.

A panel of experts will review the applications, it said.

Anyone convicted of violating Aboriginal intellectual property rights may be fined between NT$50,000 (US$1,500) and NT$500,000. If the "violation is intentional and the act is severe, the fine may be increased to NT$6 million," the statute said.

The statute still has to go through a second and third reading before it becomes legally binding, said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉), who presided over the meeting yesterday.

"With the long legislative queue, I'm not so optimistic that the third reading can be completed before this legislative session ends," he said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet yesterday passed a draft law governing Aboriginal land and marine areas and will submit it for legislative review, a CIP news release said.

The draft bill seeks to restore the collective right to handle land and marine areas within their traditional domain to the nation's Aborigines, the news release said.

The Cabinet also passed draft amendments to the Organic Statute of the Council of Indigenous Peoples (行政院原住民族委員會組織條例) to establish an office specializing in handling issues related to Aboriginal traditional domains and the survey of natural resources within those domains.

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