Call for Discourse on IP and Artistic Practices

ping pong go around comparison
By members of the art community

We refer to the incident in which a horse shoe-shaped ping-pong table installed at the Sports Hub for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games carnival resembled the art work “Ping-Pong Go Round” by Cultural Medallion winner Lee Wen.

Lee has stated he was not informed or given credit for the idea. The SEA Games Organising Committee has claimed that there was no intention to infringe on any rights, and that a vendor who was unaware of the similarity proposed the activity.

However, Lee has clarified that a proposal to exhibit this art work in front of the Sports Hub was submitted to both the Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and Sports Hub in 2014. The Minister’s office confirmed receipt of this proposal. Furthermore, since 1998, this installation has toured widely around the world.

We understand the installation has since been dismantled and discussions are currently ongoing between all relevant parties.

We hope that an amicable outcome can be reached so Lee’s art can continue to engage the public. This is a good example of how art can enliven spaces and connect strangers to one another in fun and imaginative ways. Such projects illustrate the endless possibilities art can bring to make Singapore a more attractive place, and should be encouraged.

It is troubling however that due consideration and acknowledgement were not initially given to the artist. We are also concerned that the intellectual property (IP) lawyers consulted in the Straits Times’ article “Ping-pong table too similar to artwork?” (5 June 2015) felt no copyright had been infringed.

This incident highlights the lack of sufficient measures that respect and protect artistic creation in Singapore. In a nation that has been consistently ranked by international surveys as having one of the best IP protection laws in the world, why did this incident occur? Even if it was legal, is it ethical?

This incident raises questions about the environment for creativity and original content creation in Singapore – key outputs desired by national policies that have been calling for Singapore to become a knowledge economy powered by innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Given its importance, we feel that more can be done to encourage, respect and protect content creation. The government has made tremendous efforts in growing and professionalising the arts. Unfortunately, limited understanding of artists’ rights and standard industry practices remains. Capability development and nurturing a culture of creativity means that artists should be given legitimate recognition and reward for the time and effort that they spend on proposing and creating art works, with the assurance that their ideas and creations are protected from plagiarism and imitation.

Moving forward, we hope this incident will inspire more discussion on IP in the arts, and concrete steps can be taken towards according clearer IP protection for arts and cultural workers.

229 signatories from theatre people, writers, poets, filmmakers, journalists, actors/actresses, academics, dancers, arts administrators, performance artists, visual artists and others

[junkie-toggle title=”List of Signatories” state=”closed”] 1. Aaron Khek Ah Hock
2. Abdul Hamid
3. Adeline Chia Hui Ting
4. Adeline Kueh
5. Adrian Heok Kay Heng
6. Alfian Bin Sa’at
7. Alvin Tan Cheong Kheng
8. Andre Goh Ming Hui
9. Ang Chong Leong
10. Ang Gey Pin
11. Ang Song Nian
12. Angeline Lee
13. Angie Sim
14. Annie Kwan
15. Anthony Chen Zheyi
16. Anthony Goh Jwee Kiat
17. Audi Khalid
18. Audrey Wong
19. Bianca Cornelia Geertruida Polak
20. Boo Junfeng
21. Brendon Fernandez
22. Brenton Wong Kok Leong
23. Calvin Soh Wye Ann
24. Casey Lim
25. Catherine Lim Suat Hong
26. Celine Lim Su-Fen
27. Chan Li Shan
28. Chan Sze-Wei
29. Chan Wei-yin Jaclyn
30. Charles Lim
31. Charmaine Toh
32. Cheah En Wei John
33. Chelsea Chua,
34. Chew Kheng Chuan
35. Chia QiLong, Andy
36. Chia Sin Chiat
37. Chng Wei Jie, Ivan
38. Chong Ja Ian
39. Choo Zheng Xi
40. Chua Lian Choon (Richard)
41. Chong Li-Chuan
42. Chong Teck Seng Oliver
43. Chong Tze Chien
44. Christine Chia Yueh Chin
45. Christopher Justin Wee Wan-ling
46. Christopher Khor Qi Yao
47. Chun Kaifeng
48. Chun Kaiqun
49. Chuang Xiu’Er
50. Clare Yong
51. Colin Goh Yong Ping
52. Cyril Wong Yit Mun
53. Dahlia Osman
54. Dan Koh
55. Dana Lam Yoke Kiew
56. Daniel Goh Pei Siong
57. Deusa Blumke
58. Edmund Wee
59. Edward Choy Keng Choong
60. Elizabeth Lim
61. Eng Kai Er
62. Eugene Tan Siah Yew
63. Fadzlee Ahmad
64. Faris Basharahil
65. Fiona Lee
66. Fong Hoe Fang
67. Gaurav Kripalani,
68. Gwee Li Sui
69. Han Xuemei
70. Harris Jahim
71. Haslinda Abdul Rahman
72. He Shuming
73. Helmi Yusof
74. Heman Chong
75. Heng Liang Ngim
76. Ho Catherine
77. Ho Tzu Nyen
78. Ho Xi Huei Vanessa
79. Hoe Su Fern,
80. Ian Woo Yew Kong
81. Ivan Heng Ai Jin,
82. Izmir Ickbal
83. Jay Yao
84. Jack Sim Juek Wah
85. James Jordan Tay
86. Jane M. Shishido
87. Janice Koh Yu-Mei
88. Jasmine Ng Kin Kia
89. Jeremy Chu Chan Peng
90. Jeremy Jeyam Samuel (Jeremy Tiang)
91. Jessica Anne Rahardjo
92. Jessica Chua
93. Jimmy Ong Boon Ching
94. Jolene Tan
95. Juria Toramae
96. K Rajagopal
97. Kamil Iqbal Haque
98. Kamini Ramachandran
99. Kathryn Kng Poey Choo
100. Kea Boon Ming Earl
101. Kelvin Lim
102. Kelvin Tong Weng Kian
103. Kenneth Chia Jin Hui
104. Kevin Chua
105. Khoo Guo Jie
106. Koh Hui Ling
107. Koh Jee Leong
108. Kok Heng Leun
109. Kok Yik Leng, Daniel
110. Kuo Jian Hong
111. Kwek Yi Qing Sonia
112. Lai Chee Kien
113. Lam Hoi Lit
114. Lee Gim Lay
115. Lee Gwo Yinn
116. Lee Mun Fatt, David
117. Lee Tee Keong Kenneth
118. Lee Wai Loon, Kris
119. Lee Wen
120. Leong May Yen
121. Liao Jiekai
122. Lim Jialiang
123. Lim Joshua Jonathan
124. Lim Kay Siu
125. Lim Siauw Chong
126. Lin Shiyun
127. Lina Adam
128. Lindy Poh
129. Lisa Li
130. Lisa Marie Tan Li Shiang
131. Loo Zihan
132. Low Yuen Wei
133. Lucy Davis
134. Lynn Charlotte Lu
135. Mahita Vas
136. Mandy Tan
137. Marcia Annelise Vanderstraaten
138. Marcia Lee Tjie Yi
139. Mark Chan Kok Wah
140. Mark Chen Yong Chung
141. Mark Joyce
142. Meena Mylvaganam
143. Melinda M. Lee
144. Melissa Lim May Lin
145. Mervyn Quek Sze Yon
146. Michael Cheng Seow Wee
147. Michele Low
148. Michelle Lim Seok Ling
149. Ming Poon
150. Misháal Bin Syed Nasar
151. Mok Cui Yin
152. Ng Swee San
153. Ng Yi-Sheng
154. Ngiam Su-Lin
155. Nicola Anthony
156. Noor Effendy Ibrahim
157. Nora A. Taylor
158. Norasnidah Binte Abdullah
159. Ong Boon Kok Bendini Junior
160. Ong Keng Sen
161. Ong Soh Chin
162. Otto Fong Yong Chin
163. Pang Ly-Shan
164. Patrick Ong Boon Heng
165. Philip Holden
166. Prvacki Delia
167. Prvacki Milenko
168. Rachel Zeng
169. Ray Langenbach
170. Rebekah Anthony
171. Redzuan Salleh
172. Renny Normala
173. Roy Payamal
174. Royston Tan
175. Sam Ng Sung Hian
176. Samuel Woo Junhao
177. Seng Yu Jin
178. Serene Yap
179. Sharmeen Nina Chabra
180. Shirley Soh
181. Siew Kum Hong
182. Sim Mui Ting, Joyce
183. Sim Yan Ying
184. Simon Ng Yong Heng
185. Sinead Tan Jia Na
186. Siti Hawa Bte Ahmad Yussof
187. Soh Wee Leong Billy
188. Tania De Rozario
189. Tan Han Wei Brendan
190. Tan Hwee Kwan, Karen
191. Tan Keng Ing Kirsten
192. Tan Lee San Theresa
193. Tan Ngiap Heng
194. Tan Pin Pin
195. Tan Qian Yi Moses
196. Tan Shao Han
197. Tan Si Min Josephine
198. Tan Si Peng Terence
199. Tan Wee Joo
200. Tan Wei Chuen Adele
201. Tay Liang Xuan Bridget
202. Tay Siew Hui Verena
203. Tay Tong
204. Teo Kah Yen Abel
205. Teo Liak Theng
206. Terence Lau Kah Wai
207. Thirunalan Sasitharan
208. Thng Hui Hien
209. Timothy Julian Nga U On
210. Tse Hao Guang
211. Vincent Lim Chew Meng
212. Vivian Wang
213. Wang Liansheng
214. Wee Han Chong, Jason
215. Wee Li Lin
216. Wong Chee Meng
217. Wong Kwang Han
218. Wong May Ee
219. Woon Tien Wei
220. Yap Ching Wi
221. Yang Jian
222. Yeo Yann Yann
223. Yuen Chee Wai
224. Yuen Yee Foong
225. Yvonne Lee
226. Zai Kuning
227. Zhao Renhui
228. Zizi Azah Binte Abdul Majid
229. Zulkarnain Hassan
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