Thursday, July 7, 2011

National Day Parade 2011 organiser relearns copyright issue raised during N-Day 2008

Watch this obscure video clip made in 2006 from the Japan Ad Council.

Now watch the music video for the theme song for National Day 2008 and focus your attention on the segments with the girl sketching during the art class.

Did you spot any similarities?

Source: The Straits Times 15 July 2008

Concerns over intellectual property (IP) issues raised three years ago could have helped National Day Parade Executive Committees (NDP EXCO) of subsequent years avoid this legal and public relations minefield.

To the best of my research, the copyright issue in 2008 was not properly addressed by the EXCO of that year's parade. Sidestepping the issue could have contributed to the loss of awareness to watch out for and respect copyrights in any N-Day material. It could also explain why a multi-agency NDP EXCO, which prepares for all sorts of contingencies and emergencies, got blasted by netizens over the Fun Pack Song.

An NDP EXCO has at its command a vast array of national resources and a powerful mandate that allows it to close down airspace and shut public roads for NDP rehearsals. Some of these resources should have been spent on policing the IP rights of material such as still, video images, as well as music licenses used during the N-Day season.

A Red Team could also have been formed to rigorously critique plans, procedures and processes involved in handling creative content to ensure the NDP EXCO is not caught blindsided.

This Red Team, which could be drawn from all segments of society, could also be used to road test NDP collaterals before these are unveiled during the PR blitz.

But isn't hindsight always 20:20? So where do we go from here?

As things stand, the reactions of netizens to the Fun Pack Song penned for NDP 2011 has cleared the ditty from the NDP timetable as effectively as a LAMBE mine-clearing line charge can blast its way through a minefield.

The current situation for the NDP EXCO 2011 is this:
* There is time to modify the parade timetable ahead of this weekend's National Education show (NE1), which marks the first display to the public. NE1 will also see Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen chair the Minister's Vetting session for the first time. The session will allow Dr Ng to make go/no-go decisions on certain show matters before the NDP show concept is frozen. Last Saturday's Combined Rehearsal 3 saw the 25,000-seat gallery at The Float at Marina Bay filled with parents and friends of NDP participants; not quite the "real" public.

* Internet storms have a short lifespan. They usually fizzle out two weeks or so after netizens have vented their spleen and said their piece. This means the PR obstacles in the real and virtual world should be cleared in time for Singapore's 46th birthday on 9 August 2011.

* The NDP 2012 EXCO is understudying the current team. If record keeping is thorough, lessons from this Fun Pack Song issue are likely to be institutionalised for future committee members to learn from. One hopes the lessons will be passed on properly to follow-on EXCOs to help future teams avoid relearning valuable lessons in copyright matters.

* Just as a well organised and glitch-free NDP is often held up as a proxy for how well the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) can get its act together, cock ups such as missing the flypast datum call or overlooking IP issues can make observers wonder if the Third Generation SAF is as good as it claims to be. EXCO members must register this fact. Observers recognise that a glitch-free event during an occasion as large and complex as NDP is not possible, but they will also watch how quickly and proactively an EXCO initiates service recovery efforts. Command guidance must rally everyone together to focus their energy on delivering a good show.

* Publicity over the Fun Pack Song is likely to generate and sustain public interest in how the segment will be replaced come 9 August. Thanks to the viral video, many people will be watching to see how this year's NDP EXCO can advance and overcome this issue. I believe they can.


Anonymous said...

What's the point of spending all these resources for a single day of rah-rah-for-nothing. All these syrupy songs of how we love singapore yada yada are just propaganda from state to remind sinkies once a year from whence they come from...let's admit it..other than the merits of showing off our military might and strength, the whole show is so lacking of soul and full of pompous shallow songs that aren't even matched anywhere close to the reality of what singaporeans truly felt...this is no longer a home for us..but a port and hub for anyone who has the youth, money and productivity to be milked while they can. An utter waste of taxpayers money.

Ngiam Shih Tung said...

Haha. See section 198 of the Copyright Act: 198. —(1) The copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or a published edition of such a work, or in a sound recording, cinematograph film, television broadcast, sound broadcast or cable programme, shall not be infringed by the Government or by a person authorised in writing by the Government doing any acts comprised in the copyright if the acts are done for the service of the Government.

In other words, the govt is immune from prosecution. One of the problems of having impunity is that it makes you arrogant and hypocritical, especially when you try to tell your subjects not to do the things that you are doing.

Rhizome said...

Crass displays of nationalism will always be just that - poignantly pointless and gratingly tasteless. When the floodlights dim and all the meaningless, forced pageantry is unmasked, there isn't gonna be anything substantial left lapping at your boots...other than an odious, outmoded ideology and the inequitable web of power that very discourse sustains (and is enmeshed within). Perhaps it might be true that 'society owes nobody a living'. But in the same vein, why should we owe the state (or one's 'ethnicity' or religion, for that matter) any modicum of loyalty? The reduction of a complicated and contradictory concept such as 'identity' to an unchanging essentialist formula is laughable at best and probably a lot more insidious. Watching the theatrics of the public spectacle that is NDP is no different from tuning in to a sitcom - they are both savagely decontextualized extrapolations that explicitly gloss over the grit and ugliness of the quotidian. All you have to do is to understand the mythological systems underpinning them to see how they reify the status quo. As for me, if I really wanted some dramedy, I'd wager that there are plenty of patently better choices, don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

I have been completely turned off by the last 15 or so NDPs, seeing how they are no longer a ceremony to commemorate national cohesion and bonding, but rather a large overblown performance evaluation exercise to determine which scholar gets invited to tea and in a fashion which approximates the games the DPRK holds in honour of their "living god" and the 1936 Summer Olympics...

Why can't they go back to basics???

- K