On 06 July 2021, TSMP Law Corporation head of IP & TMT Adrian Tan was quoted in an article published in the Business Times on the proposed changes in the copyright law. He explains why attribution is important to artists, when their work is used commercially.
He commented that the proposed changes to the Copyright Act are meant to address problems in the commercial world.
“In the past, businesses would profit from the creative efforts of artists, without even acknowledging them,” he said. With the proposed changes, “the creative community can now take businesses to task”.
He said that for members of the public who, for instance, share photos of artwork on Facebook with friends, it is unlikely that the creators will come down on them to get credited. “Ordinary social media users can carry on doing what they’ve been doing,” he said. And even if the creator contacts them to ask to be credited, there is generally no harm and it does not take a lot of effort for people to do so, he added.
“It’s highly unlikely that we will be liable to pay financial compensation in such a situation,” he said. But if the work goes viral and is not credited, the creator could potentially lose money and business opportunities, he said. This gets compounded if the person sharing the uncredited work is a public figure, such as an influencer with millions of followers. In such cases, if there is still no attribution for the works despite requests from the creators, they would have valid reasons to take legal action.
He said he was not aware of overseas legal cases in which creators went after members of the public who refused to credit them. Instead, reported cases tend to be for commercial disputes.