Brunei music hits right note

By Danial Norjidi, BB 19 July 2010

The music scene in Brunei may just have taken its first steps towards becoming a full-fledged industry, as licensing and copyright protection laws are set to be implemented with the establishment of Brunei Authors & Composers Association (BeAT) Berhad, who held their first general meeting yesterday.

The meeting, which was held at RBRC Sports Club, was aimed at introducing exactly what BeAT Berhad is all about, and included an explanation on membership criteria, organisational structure and what BeAT Berhad can do to help composers.

In attendance at the meeting were BeAT Berhad Directors Fathan Haji Anuar (better known as Hans Anuar) of PhuturePhase Productions, Mohd Shahrizan Masri of Z Lek Productions, Adi Rani Illmy Abd Rahman of Projectunes Productions, Ak Muhammad Syarif Pg Hj Baharudin from Attunes Productions and Ak Abdul Azeem Pg Darulehsan of Carone Records.

Over 70 musicians, lyricists and composers, which Mr Hans Anuar found to be “a very good turnout”, also attended.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Mr Hans Anuar said, “After the official launch, we’ll be negotiating with all those sister societies all over the world to set up a licensing department, so basically this is where all can come for licensing.

“For example, should a state broadcaster want to use songs for a variety singing show, then they will have to submit their licence. We’ll be collecting royalties on behalf of the artistes.

“We have support from Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC),” he said. “They have been a driving force for us to set up this association.”

Asked how this stands to benefit Brunei, he said, “In most countries, once someone uses this music, once they realise the collection is going out of Brunei, it will help local music to grow in terms of how it will encourage more playability of local music, so the royalties collected will stay in Brunei. The best example is the Philippines, where radio has shifted from 70 per cent foreign music and 30 per cent local music to 70 per cent local, 30 per cent foreign. That’s our aim, and there will also be a growth from music.”

He said that the licensing was to benefit composers and authors. “Anybody who listens is a user, and they have to be licensed to play music. This is to benefit composers.”

Asked how the composers and authors are reacting to all this, Hans said, “They are happy with the idea, judging from the response. It’s something new and exciting for them. They didn’t know that they had these rights.”

“State broadcasters are aware of it, because they have been to seminars and these things have been mentioned over and over, because we have the support of the AGC, so they are required by law to comply. If you still play the music without the license, then legal action will be taken.”

He said that the first stage for licensing would be with state broadcasters (such as RTB and Kristal), and then eventually hotels, malls, and commercial operators would have to get a licence and annual fee.

The official launching of BeAT Berhad will be on August 5, at the Season’s Restaurant, Centrepoint, Gadong at 2.30pm.

According to information provided by the BeAT, the organisation was “created to protect and promote the copyright interests of composers, authors (and their heir) and publishers of musical works and their related lyrics.

“BeAT Berhad is a non-profit public company which administers the public performance, broadcast, diffusion and reproduction rights in music and musically associated literary works on behalf of its members,” it read. “BeAT Berhad deals specifically with music copyright and the usage of musical works.”

The association was incorporated on January 23, 2010, with the purpose of providing it with a means of compensation for usage of its creative material by other parties. This was accomplished through the setting up of a registry of musical works for composers and lyrics whereby their works would be protected by the association.

It was also revealed that “the society is to establish a licensing department to ensure that members are duly compensated, in the form of royalties, for use of their material”.

“By enforcement, the members would also be protected from any unauthorised usage of their materials and be subjected to due rewards. In addition to the control and ownership of music written and published locally, BeAT Berhad will enter into reciprocal agreements with other affiliated societies worldwide.”

According to the information, this would mean that BeAT Berhad administers the words of composers, lyricists and publishers worldwide, representing almost all copyright musical works in the world.

The meeting was also held with the intention of building up membership and to finally make composers and authors (lyricists) aware of their rights.

An invited speaker, Mr Ang Kwee Tiang, Regional Director of the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC), Singapore, spoke about exactly why BeAT Berhad was there, about the rights that composers and authors have when it comes to their work and the three stages of membership.

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