The creative industry in Indonesia is experiencing significant growth, with increasing numbers of artists, writers, musicians, and other creators engaging in collaborative projects and commissioned works. This is why the concept of copyright ownership became crucial.

According to recent statistics, the creative industry achieved a notable contribution of Rp1.05 billion in the third quarter of 2023, accounting for 82.1% of the annual target. However, this surge in creative output brings with it complex issues of copyright holdership.

It often leads to confusion and disputes among creators and commissioning parties. So, at Am Badar & Am Badar, we are well-equipped to guide our clients regarding copyright holdership for commissioned works and collaborative projects.

For related reference, read our comprehensive guide about “Copyright Claims in Indonesia: A Guide for Foreign IP Agents”. You can also contact the team, or check the insights and services page.

Understanding Copyright Ownership in Indonesia

When discussing copyright laws in Indonesia, it’s essential to refer to Law Number 28 of 2014 on Copyrights. Generally, copyright is an exclusive right that protects various types of creative works.

This intellectual property right applies to creations that have taken a tangible form, such as being published, printed, or broadcasted. According to the prevailing law, the original creator automatically holds the copyright upon creation.

It’s also important to understand the types of works that are protected. These works include creations in the fields of art, literature, and science. Here are some specific examples:

  1. Books, pamphlets, published layouts or types, computer programs, and other written works.
  2. Teaching aids that are created for educational purposes.
  3. Songs or music (with or without lyrics), as well as various types of sound recordings or other sound works.
  4. Speeches, lectures, sermons, and similar types of works.
  5. Dramas, dances, choreographies, musicals, pantomimes, and traditional performances.
  6. Visual arts such as drawings, calligraphy, paintings, carvings, sculptures, engravings, collages, and applied arts.
  7. Translations, adaptations, anthologies, and other derivative works.
  8. Batik art.
  9. Photographic works.
  10. Architectural designs.
  11. Maps.

These categories are in line with the regulations and official explanations from the Directorate General of Intellectual Property of Indonesia (DGIP). Visit the DGIP website to learn more about copyright in Indonesia.

The Complexities of Commissioned Works and Collaboration

In copyright law, determining ownership and rights over created works can be a complex thing to understand, especially when dealing with commissioned works and collaborative efforts. Here is what you should know:

  • When Does Ownership Shift in Commissioned Works?

Typically, the author of a work automatically gets the copyright ownership. However, an exception exists for “works made for hire”, which are commissioned works.

In these cases, the commissioning party can own the copyright if a written agreement explicitly states this transfer.

Such agreements are essential in clarifying ownership, especially in business settings where employers hire freelancers or independent contractors to create specific works.

In general, a well-drafted work-made-for-hire agreement should include several key elements, such as:

  • Nature of the work: clearly define the scope and purpose of the commissioned work.
  • Compensation: detail the payment terms and any additional financial arrangements.
  • Transfer of rights: explicitly state that the copyright will transfer to the commissioning party upon completion of the work.

An example of a copyright infringement case in Indonesia involved the heirs of Henk Ngantung suing Grand Indonesia Mall over the “Welcome Monument” sketch. Such issues could be avoided with a proper agreement for commissioned works.

  • Copyright Ownership in Joint Collaboration


Meanwhile, joint authorship is a concept where copyright holdership is shared among multiple creators who each contribute original elements to a work.

This has been common in book writing for some time, where a book might be authored by multiple individuals. The same applies to other creative works, such as collaborations in music or performing arts.

However, it is crucial to establish a clear joint authorship agreement. This agreement should detail each contributor’s input and their respective ownership rights. This ensures that all collaborators are recognized and their contributions are accounted for

To understand more about the differences between commissioned works and joint authorship scenarios, check this table:

Best Practices for Establishing Clear Ownership Rights

Whether you’re working on a commissioned project or collaborating with others, having a solid understanding of who owns what can prevent future disputes and ensure that all parties are fairly recognized and compensated. Here, we outline some best practices to help you:

  • Importance of Written Agreements

Contracts or written agreements are needed to clarify the ownership of commissioned works and collaborative projects. They set each party’s expectations and responsibilities, ensuring everyone is on the same page from the start.

Without a legal written agreement, misunderstandings and disputes regarding copyright ownership are likely to arise, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Seeking legal advice from an IP law firm like Am Badar & Am Badar is highly recommended to ensure that the draft of your agreements is legally sound and comprehensive.

  • Documentation and Communication

Besides legal agreements, maintaining clear documentation throughout the creative process is equally important. This includes keeping records of project proposals, emails, and communication logs.

Such documentation can serve as evidence of each party’s contributions and the agreed-upon terms, which is crucial if any copyright ownership disputes arise.

For instance, detailed project proposals can outline the scope of work and expectations, while email trails can document any changes or additional agreements made during the project’s progression.

Therefore, open communication is the key to managing copyright holdership expectations among collaborators. This transparency ensures that everyone involved is aware of their rights and responsibilities.

From assisting you with drafting written agreements to managing documentation and facilitating communication between each party, Am Badar & Am Badar are ready to help.

Partnering with us allows creators and commissioning parties to navigate these legal complexities confidently, securing clear ownership rights and fostering successful collaborations. Explore our services page for more details.

So, we invite you to contact us for a consultation on your specific copyright holdership needs, we will send you helpful downloadable resources such as “Checklist for Establishing Clear Copyright Ownership in Commissioned Works” as an incentive.

Also, explore our blog posts, client success stories, and additional resources regarding IP-related ownership and collaborations on the insights page. One example is the story of how “Am Badar & Am Badar Wins Bose Trademark Dispute.”