Copyright laws in Papua New Guinea need to be seen to be implemented to protect local entrepreneurs from copycats. Owner of Jade business in Madang, Liu Pala, said responsible government departments need to work together to ensure laws are executed. Pala was a victim of counterfeit products after his designs were copied by retailers of Asian origin and resold in shops not only in Madang but across the country.
Liu Pala and his wife are owners of Jade’s business, specialising in the designing and selling of provincial shirts. Last Wednesday, Pala had decided to cease operation after he saw that his designs were copied by some other Asian retailer and were produced in large quantities and resold.
The Asian shops got the copies of the designs ahead of us and ordered the singlets and started selling them, that’s the ‘Sepik Powerim’ and ‘Chimbu ya.’
Pala said there is a need for more awareness to educate small to medium entrepreneurs on how to go about protecting their work from copycats; adding that a number of government departments he approached for help lacked knowledge on copyright laws and were not able to assist him.
“Many of the government departments we approached for assistance, some don’t know what we were talking about. We asked the offices here (in Madang) and they all said to go to Port Moresby. I think this issue is not only affecting us the designers, but also the musicians.”
Pala further stated that due to the lack of insight, he lost close to K300 000 to counterfeit products, expressing disappointment that if existing laws were implemented, small to medium entrepreneurs would be equipped with valuable information to protect their work from such situations.
“If only there were laws in place or laws that were implemented, I don’t think something like this wil happen.”
Meanwhile, Pala’s Jade business had decided to stop designing and selling provincial singlets as many of his designs have been copied en-masse by Asian retailers.
Pala was not able to take legal proceedings against the Asian retailers as he did not have the means to, thus, they have decided to stop productions in an effort to contain the situation of having the Asian retailers stealing their new design ideas.
By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang