From intellectuals to artists and humanists, West Papua Province is home to rich cultural diversity and artistic expression. Much of this culture can be traced back to ancestral knowledge, passed down from generation to generation. These traditions are alive and well in Papua’s dance, music, fairy tales, traditional clothing and various handicrafts, including noken (woven bags), batik and other woven fabrics.
The rapid growth of technological development in Indonesia has allowed artists and craftsmen in West Papua to promote and publish their work in a wider market. However, there are growing concerns that this work could be appropriated or plagiarised. For this reason, such work needs to be protected through official certification that grants Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to the creators of cultural works.
IPR can protect the rights of Indigenous artists, while also raising welfare standards and improving economic conditions in their communities. According to Regulation no. 7 of 1994 Concerning Ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement, IPR certification is a recognition of intellectual property rights in relation to cultural and creative output; while ostensibly concerned with the rights of the individual, this regulation is also related to and inseparable from the wider context of human rights.
IPR are exclusive rights granted to a person – or group of people – for their copyrighted work; materials eligible for IPR certification can be anything resulting from human intellectual ability. Essentially, this gives creators the exclusive right to enjoy the financial rewards of their creativity.
The Registration Process for Intellectual Property Rights
In Indonesia, IPR (known locally as hak kekayaan intelektual, or by the acronymous portmanteau ‘HAKI’) fall under the jurisdiction of the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DJKI) of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in each province. In West Papua, this is handled by the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of West Papua which is located at Jalan l. Trikora Arfai 2 Logpon, Anday, Manokwari, Manokwari Regency, West Papua.
As a development partner in West Papua, Samdhana is working with the Regional Research and Development Agency (BALITBANGDA) of West Papua Province to support the process of registering copyrights for artists and craftsmen in West Papua with the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DJKI) Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
This supportive process began in November 2021, with a series of menoken discussions. These dialogues involved West Papuan artists and humanists, as well as various parties involved in the copyright registration process. Despite being held during the Covid-19 pandemic, the discussions were the setting of enthusiastic participation from start to finish.
Following on from those initial discussions, Samdhana continued to oversee the IPR registration process with a number of artists and craftsmen in West Papua. From 13 -14 April 2022, Samdhana worked alongside the Regional Research and Development Agency (BALITBANGDA) of West Papua Province to facilitate coaching clinics, assistance and registration of IPR for the works of Papuan craftsmen, artists and culturalists. This work was carried out in both an online and offline format.
During the two-day facilitation activity, a total of six participants submitted their creations to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia. Among them, Meriyones Fami registered woven motifs and batik patterns, David Womsiwor submitted batik images, Oktovianus Malagifik registered an original song and Febriyanti Wally registered a trademark. Samdhana subsequently provided assistance to each of these IPR applicants, via supervision of document completion and ongoing communication, in order to ensure the registration requirements were completed in full.
Furthermore, in early 2023 Samdhana also worked closely with BALITBANGDA West Papua to facilitate community IPR applications among culturalists and entrepreneurs. This activity was held over two days, from 2–3 February at the Kampung Noken Studio, KM. 13 City of Sorong West Papua Province. During this process, Meriyones Fami, Zubaidah Rumagesan, Yuliance Ulim, Meiyun Gifelem and Pulanda all registered their respective trademarks, while Otovianus Malagifik and Maros Osok each registered a song. Motifs were registered for IPR by Anigreth Malibela, Frans Yadantrar and David Womsiwor, while Febriani Waly also registered an industrial design.
In attendance at the event were representatives from the Klasaman Village Government and West Papua BRIDA, along with 30 participants comprising members of the Sorong Noken House Studio, Mamta Jayapura Studio, business actors and activists for the protection of customs and culture. It is hoped that the activity will encourage more and more West Papuan creators and craftsmen to apply for IPR, in order to protect the cultural and customary assets of Indigenous Papuans.
An End Product: Delivering Positive Results
On 20 February 2023, the long wait for IPR certification finally paid off. Six artists who registered their works in April 2022 received a brand certificate from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights through the Regional Office of West Papua Province at the Ball Room Hotel Mansinam Beach, Manokwari, West Papua. Each certificate was received following completion of their application, which was officially verified and declared by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
The six recipients of IPR certification are David Womsiwor (batik motifs and images representing the Biak tribe), Meriyones Fami (woven motifs and batik patterns representing the Moi tribe), Febriyani Wally (trademark of Kain Kuok Moi), Florida Reba (trademark for ‘Papua Designs’), and Oktovianus Malagifik (for traditional folktales and the song ‘Pau Maladum’).
Having received official certification, each brand owner can take advantage of their registered trademark. They now have exclusive rights to display, sell and monetise their work, thereby helping to preserve West Papuan artistic tradition and protect its peoples from piracy, theft and misuse of their cultural heritage by irresponsible parties.
Samdhana actively welcomes IPR certification and will continue working to forge collaborative links between the Regional Research and Innovation Agency (BRIDA) of West Papua Province and the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of West Papua Province.
Samdhana will upscale and expand this cooperation, not only for individual IPR but also communal IPR in relation to Indigenous communities. The latter will encompass a variety of traditional cultural expression, traditional knowledge, genetic resources and geographic considerations.
IPR certification enables Indigenous assets and heritage to be protected by law, so they can be put to the best use possible for the welfare of Indigenous Peoples. Having helped to facilitate major steps forward for Indigenous Peoples in this area, Samdhana will continue working to ensure progress continues moving in a positive direction.