One of the binding commitments under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is the extension of the copyright term to 70 years after the death of the author. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a research on the potential impact of the extension of copyright term on the music industry in Malaysia. As Malaysia is a user and net importer of intellectual property, it is feared that extending the copyright term will likely impede incentives for the creation of new contents, increase the cost of licensing/royalties, diminish the choice and creativity of film and music industry and increase royalty payments abroad. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the commercial lifespan of copyright works is long enough.
Using a qualitative research method, in-depth interviews were carried out with key industry players between June and September 2015 to collect relevant information from the industry. The information obtained was analysed to gauge the market standing of the local music industry and how the proposed extension would bolster their financial and market power. The paper does not intend to explore the legal implications from the retrospective extension of copyright term and data on illegal use and piracy. The findings of the research will be purely drawn from the non-structured interviews and information gathered from respondents.
The paper concludes that there is not enough evidence to support the notion that the copyright extension will be economically advantageous to the local music industry.
The feedback from the interviews, although cannot be generalised to be considered as representing the whole music industry in Malaysia, can nevertheless be taken as preliminary conclusions and an eye-opener to the quest for concrete support in the debate for the extension of the copyright term in Malaysia. The paper also does no explore the legal implications from the retrospective extension of copyright and data on illegal use and piracy.
In conclusion, more studies need to be conducted to understand the dynamics and needs of the music market in Malaysia for the extension of the copyright term to be really beneficial to them. As this study is only conducted using a qualitative research method, using open-ended and in-depth interview techniques on a small group of respondents, there may be a need to embark on empirical research with proper execution of survey instruments to a larger group of respondents.
The music industry is chosen as the case study because it may develop into a potential export interest. The music industry as a small component of the larger “creative industry” has been identified as one of the new economic drivers under the Tenth Malaysia Plan.
The paper was first presented at the ATRIP Congress 2015 at Cape Town on 27th September 2015. The paper has not been published. No studies have been done on the possible implications of copyright extension term on the music industry in Malaysia before.
The authors acknowledge the generous support from the Ministry of Education for making this research possible.
Abdul Ghani Azmi, I.M. and Alavi, R. (2017), "In search for support for the extension of copyright term under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: A preliminary study of the Malaysian music industry", Journal of International Trade Law and Policy, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 34-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/JITLP-10-2016-0025
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