December 11, 2019
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    Parliament approves new regulations under Intellectual Property Act

    August 21, 2019

    Parliament approves new regulations under Intellectual Property Act

    Parliament approved several regulations introduced under the Intellectual Property Act on royalty payment mechanisms for rights-holders of songs or other musical work, and on empowering collective societies.Both government and Opposition parliamentarians were supportive of the proposed regulations, considering numerous injustices faced by artistes due to loopholes in intellectual property laws. The regulations were published in the Gazette Extraordinary No.2128/6 of June 17.

    Opening the debate on the regulations to the Intellectual Property Act; Non-Cabinet Minister for Science, Technology, and Research, Sujeewa Senasinghe; said that there were issues relating to the implementation of intellectual property laws in countries such as Sri Lanka.

    “The Intellectual Property Act came under my Ministry only recently. We had to come up with a mechanism to protect the intellectual property rights of our artistes. Presently, there are two organisations established to assist artistes regarding this and I believe more organisations will be set up after we carry out awareness programmes on these rights,” Senasinghe said.

    “We hope for the participation of all artistes in this initiative. We would like to increase the efficiency of the Intellectual Property Act’s implementation by getting the assistance of new lawyers. We need the assistance of all artistes to make this endevour a success,” he added.

    Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Nalinda Jayatissa, joining the debate, questioned Senasinghe if the government had taken any steps to make private TV and radio channels provide the payments related to intellectual property.

    In reply, Senasinghe said that the government would extend its awareness programmes to TV and radio channels, and would also take steps to computerise all details related to intellectual properties. He added that the government would establish a system through which all parties who have contributed to musical content would receive their due royalty payments.

    MP Jayatissa also pointed out that no royalty payments had been provided to the lyricists and music composers of the Sri Lanka Police anthem.

    United National Party (UNP) MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe said that the regulations introduced by the extraordinary gazette were of utmost importance for the betterment of the artistes in the country. He added that societies active on intellectual property rights should be established focusing on every field of arts.

    Prof. Marasinghe also said the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation should strictly follow the Intellectual Property Act—if not, the government should take measures to regulate such actions. United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Bandula Gunawardena said that writers also have many issues with royalty payments:

    “Without a publisher, it is quite difficult for writers to print their books as author publications. We should take precautions to stop other people from scamming the royalty payments for books whose authors have passed away,” he said.

    “We need a proper system to ensure the royalty payments of our artistes. It is the government’s responsibility to make a better future for the artistes in the country,” the parliamentarian added.

    Dispute over H’tota job-seekers employed at K’gala CCF sites

    Chief Whip questions MP Jayasekara’s objection

    Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatileka inquired yesterday in Parliament from MP Dayasiri Jayasekara if he was against those from Hambantota contesting for elections in Kurunegala.

    He queried from MP Jayasekara when the latter questioned about offering jobs to those from Hambantota at Central Cultural Fund (CCF) sites in Kurunegala that come under the Housing and Cultural Affairs Ministry.

    “Are you against us giving jobs to those from Hambantota or are you against those from Hambantota contesting the elections in Kurunegala?” Karunatileka asked. MP Jayasekara answered in the negative.

    MP Karunathilake asked if the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was having in-house differences over providing opportunities to job-seekers from Hambantota.

    Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa told the government that the UPFA could sort its in-house differences without the help of the latter.

     

    Probable monopoly in fuel transportation sector

    Plans afoot for high-tech monitoring system: Minister

    Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Minister Kabir Hashim said in Parliament, yesterday, that there seems to be a certain level of monopoly in the fuel transportation sector.

    Hence, the ministry has made plans to employ a high-tech monitoring system to prevent malpractices, he said.

    Minister Hashim said the government would provide opportunities to private bowser owners willing to transport fuel under comprehensive charges, adding that plans were also afoot to introduce a nondiscriminatory payment system for these private bowser owners

    In reply to a question raised by Parliamentarian Hesha Withanage, Minister Hashim said that there were 421 members in the Ceylon Petroleum Private Bowser Owners’ Association. He also said that there was a total of 743 bowsers privately hired by the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal, as well as 150 bowsers hired by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

    “When I went through the list of members, I saw that some companies owned around 15 bowsers. Some owned three bowsers. All these opportunities were given in the years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Now, we are open to anybody who owns a bowser to join us if they are offering fair prices,” the minister said.

     

    ‘Mobile district secretariat to resolve land issues in Kilinochchi’

    Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatileka said that the government has decided to set up mobile district secretariats to resolve land-related issues in Kilinochchi.

    The minister was replying to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian S. Sritharan, who highlighted that the war-affected people in Kilinochchi were mortgaging their lands and obtaining loans from banks and other financial institutions due to poverty.

    “There are others who cannot find redress even after selling their lands and many families have been denied of their freehold land titles though they have been living there for over 60 years,” Sritharan said, “It is unfair to people who survived the brutal war to suffer again owing to the delays in departments.”

    In reply, Chief Government Whip Karunatilake said, “Issuing land deeds to them would be a complex task and would involve several ministries to cooperate.”

    “However, we have decided to set up several special mobile district secretariats to find solutions to their issues. You could ask people who have been deprived of their deeds to come there.”

    Inquiry into overdue SriLankan payments

    COPE recommends legal action against Presidential Secretariat, MFA

    The Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) recommended taking legal action against the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for not settling payments amounting to Rs.123 million due on SriLankan Airlines for certain transactions that have taken place during the previous regime.

    According to COPE Chairman and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Sunil Handunnetti, the Presidential Secretariat owes Sri Lanka Airlines a sum of Rs.114 million, while the Foreign Affairs Ministry owes an amount of Rs.9 million.

    The recommendation was pronounced yesterday at the COPE proceedings held in Parliament. Representatives of SriLankan Airlines were summoned for the COPE inquiry.

    Handunnetti said the payments are related to the misuse of the national carrier by those attached to the said two government bodies during the previous regime, where they have used the airline service without purchasing tickets.

    COPE proceedings are now open to the media.

     

    Holidays (Amendment) Bill

    consistent with Constitution: SC

     

    The Holidays (Amendment) Bill, the private member bill moved in order to amend the Holidays Act No.29 of 1971, is consistent with the Constitution, the Supreme Court informed Parliament in its determination.

    Citing the two petitions filed on par with the Provisions of Article 121 (1) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has recommended changes to bring in more clarity to the amendments, Deputy Speaker and the Chair of Committees, J.M. Ananda Kumarasiri, informed Parliament, yesterday.

    He said this while reading the Speaker’s Announcements in the Parliament.

     

    Rs.29.174 bn Supplementary

    Allocation presented in Parliament

    A Supplementary Allocation of Rs.29.174 billion was presented in the Parliament for approval by the government, yesterday.

    Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatileka presented the supplementary allocations released from Supplementary Support Services and Contingent Liabilities Project appearing under Expenditure from June 1 July 15.

    The Supplementary allocations had been made for 112 projects, including an allocation of Rs.200 million for the establishment of the Palmyrah Fund, as well as Rs.260 million for the construction of houses for war-affected families in the North and the East and Rs.400 million for the Uva Wellassa Physical and Human Resources Development Project.

    Government withdraws State Land (Special Provisions) Bill

    The government withdrew the State Land (Special Provisions) Bill in Parliament, yesterday.

    Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage, and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella withdrew the bill, which was in the order paper for the second reading debate.

    Minister Kiriella said that the objective of the government was to grant land deeds to 2.5 million people who are deprived.

    The government presented a bill as a solution to it, yet the Opposition members went to courts to prevent it, he said, adding that hence, there was a legal issue in passing it.

    Minister Kiriella said that the Opposition stood against the government’s move to grant plots of lands to poor.

     

    Lands overrun with giant mimosa

    ‘Rs.125,000 needed to clear one hectare’

    Mahaweli Development and Environment Minister Ajith Mannapperuma said in Parliament, yesterday, that Rs.125,000 was required to clear one hectare of land overrun with invasive giant mimosa plants.

    He added that 360 hectares of the country are covered with the plant; 40 hectares of land around the Victoria Reservoir and 110 hectares in Kotmale, too, had been affected. It would take four years to eradicate the plant completely, he said; “We are working on the issue, but we lack the funds for it.”

    He added that a sum of Rs.50,000 was required to clear one hectare of such an infested land in its second year.

    He said that country’s main water bodies, including tanks and reservoirs, have also been overrun with mimosa—that had been allowed to grow by the governments in the 1960s and the 1970s, thinking that it would help protect the Mahaweli river banks. He added that the governments that were there before the Mahaweli Project was initiated promoted the spreading of mimosa.

    He said so responding to a question raised by United National Party Parliamentarian Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, who urged the government to take immediate action to save the country’s water bodies from the invasive plant. The minister said that the government had been working on a project to eradicate the invasive plant, and that the project began in 2016.

    MP Wijerathna queried of the success of the project if it started in 2016, adding that even after three years, many water bodies had still been overrun with the plant. She added that the situation has inconvenienced many farmers. The plant has invaded many areas around the Bowatenna Reservoir in Naula and Matale, she added.

    MP Wijearathna said that mimosa seeds could germinate even seven to eight years later.

    The country has many development officers and agriculture research assistants, in addition to several others holding such ‘white elephant’ posts, she said, adding that they must take part in the endeavour to eradicate the plant.

    Minister commends security provided to Dalada Perahera

    Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage, and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella commended the security forces and the police for the provision of security to the Kandy Dalada Perahera.

    The minister said yesterday that the perahera was a success.

    Hence, he said he thanks the police, the Special Task Force, and the Tri-Forces, on behalf of all Kandyans.

    Minister Kiriella added that, as the Kandy Perahera was a historic event, it should not be suspended over security threats.

    The minister told Parliament, on July 21, that there was information that Islamic terrorists had planned an attack on the Kandy Esala Perahera and demanded adequate security.

     

     

    ‘Measures afoot to take Madrasa schools under Education Ministry’

    Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said yesterday that measures were afoot to take the Madrasa Schools under the Education Ministry.

    He added that discussions were in progress with the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry over the matter.

    The minister said so in response to queries made by MPs Chaminda Wijesiri and Ananda Aluthgamage. Minister Kariyawasam also said that international schools and private schools would be monitored under the new Education Act that is to be proposed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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