This two-day conference gathers a variety of stakeholders—lawyers, artists, designers, curators, experts in cultural studies, and arts enterprises—to promote an interdisciplinary discussion on the potentials and dynamics of intellectual property (IP) in protecting and developing the cultural industries in the Southeast Asia region. The conference looks, specifically, at the challenges and the relevance of evolving broad regional perspectives on the relation between the cultural industries and IP.

This discussion has become increasingly important in Southeast Asia to protect and promote cultural assets locally, regionally, and globally. Hence, IP protection in cultural industries is often thought of in terms of copyright ownership of contemporary creations and tied to specific cultural markets such as fine art or music. More specifically, the general account is that IP protection can facilitate and service asset ownership primarily in terms of new, or relatively new art, music, and choreographies. Against, or in addition to, this general account, this conference aims to highlight to what extent policy makers, academics, as well as members of the public and private sectors should instead take a broader perspective and include into the debate IP protection for traditional cultural identities, national heritage, and cultural expressions, while still balancing the protection of diversity and the concerns of vulnerable communities with stimulating creativity and innovation.

The importance and potential of IP protection in this context have been addressed before, but the scope and details of this protection are far from settled in practice. As culture is never static, how contemporaneity and tradition relate to one another in the common grounds of identities, discourses, aesthetics and creative industries remains a significant challenge. This conference looks specifically at the facilitation and impacts of IP in this regard.

In particular, experts in this conference bring a variety of perspectives to the role of IP protection to secure exclusive rights and facilitate global circulation of cultural products in cultural industries in Southeast Asia—both regarding new and traditional expressions and creations.  They will address questions such as: should IP protection be further introduced into the broad policies and management perspectives of all cultural industries? Should this also include those industries related primarily to the conservation and promotion of traditional heritage? Could IP protection assist in ensuring a more effective industry wide development with respect to the broadest set of cultural assets from the Southeast Asia region? And to what extent, artists and creators, and their managers, could use traditional channels as well as new platforms in media technology to promote cultural industries, and what is the role of IP in this context?

The conference comprises five sessions, namely, practical IP examples in cultural industries (intended at large, including culinary and artisanal-based industries), legal issues and cultural concerns, mapping the industries in Southeast Asia in relation to IP needs and development, cultural institutions and programmes, and economic development implications.