Forum: Creators must still abide by data protection law and seek consent

The Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (Singapore) (Vicpa) would like to share its perspectives on the amendments to the Copyright Act (Law to give photographers rights to their work by default, Sept 14).

With the amendments to the Act, creators of selected materials, including wedding photography, will be the default first owners of copyright of these copyrighted materials.

However, this does not translate to creators unilaterally using the visuals without the consent of clients.

Creators must still abide by Singapore's data protection laws and obtain the consent of the individual captured in the photograph or film before the creator uses the work for his own purpose. The creator will have to negotiate for such uses when entering into a contract with a client.

Similarly, a client who wishes to use a work for purposes beyond the original purpose for which it was commissioned will need to negotiate with the creator to do so, or the client may be liable for copyright infringement.

With the amendments to the Act, creators and clients are likely to exercise more care and diligence during the contracting process and reach a mutual agreement on the copyright ownership, as well as usage rights by the copyright owner.

This is in line with Vicpa's efforts to level up professionalism of creative practitioner-members through a professional code of ethics, and to raise awareness among clients on how to value and procure creative works and their copyrights at fair rates.

Creative professionals take pride in their work, which includes the upholding of fair trade practices.

Many have seen their incomes drop significantly because of cancellations at short notice due to pandemic measures, as well as suppressed rates.

Vicpa welcomes the amendments to the Act as a step in the right direction.

The amendments set the stage for creative freelancers and clients to review procurement practices to ensure that rates are commensurate with the value of creative works, including copyrights.

With the cooperation of parties and the commitment of the Government to put in place the necessary infrastructure, creators and clients can benefit from fair trade practices and fairer rates.

Let us work together to cultivate a more sustainable creative industry in Singapore.

Jean See

Executive Secretary

Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (Singapore)

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