A guide to pre-KR Music, Film, and other content usage for the Benefit of Local and Foreign Producers

Mediamakers who have an interest in utilizing pre-KR IP [Intellectual Property], including music, archival film clips, etc in their film, video, multimedia, or other production, please read on…this information comes on the heels of the informative and extensive IP Forum on General Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights in Cambodia held at Pannasastra University on August 7, 2008, in Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA.

Further information was gained via direct meetings between Camerado and representatives of the copyright registrar’s office, including the Director of the Copyright Department at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. Several issues were discussed related to IP [Intellectual Property] rights and usage including Pre-KR Cambodian music usage in productions, public performance of motion pictures*, application procedures for licensing content, and more.

[*Camerado’s taken some heat on this issue in the Phnom Penh art scene, due to our active stance promoting proper public performance of movies here…we do this because we want to see an actual first run movie house come to town. Glad the Ministry itself is finally publicly supporting this position!]

IN SUMMARY, the status of pre-KR
content rights ownership is as follows:

Although the KR regime disabled rights-ownership while in power, pre-existing IP copyrights were (and are) restored to the Ministry for proper management upon conclusion of KR regime. If previous owner (i.e. Heirs, estate, studio or musician, etc) comes forth to petition Ministry for original rights, those will be granted pending proof of original ownership. Any unclaimed or “orphaned” IP material is administered directly by the Ministry, who will receive inquiries and applications regarding using copyrighted content in media productions.

Therefore: copyright and ownership of content produced during pre-KR period is intact, and permissions for music and other content usage must be secured as they would in any other developed nation or bona-fide media production environment. That is to say, if a producer—Khmer or foreign—wants to include pre-KR content in their own original work, whether via a soundtrack or film clip, this material must be licensed from the owner. In the case of unclaimed/”orphaned” content, an inquiry for usage must be made at the Ministry.

Productions which fail to secure proper usage rights are engaged in misuse of Cambodian IP, which is not only unlawful, but may leave the producer liable to Errors and Omissions issues later which can impede the sale or broadcast of their work; misuse may also impact original artist’s estate/heirs or current copyright holder’s revenues. Application forms for specific titles/tracks can be obtained at the Ministry (in Khmer).

Contact: Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts #227 Preah Norodom Blvd Phnom Penh City, Cambodia 855 012 891 800

Camerado IP Guide © 2008 J Rosette/ CAMERADO – first published August 14, 2008

Also available as a PDF here
CAMERADO Movies and Media