"Mi wantem musik blong mi hemi blong evriwan" ["I want my music to be for everyone"]: Digital developments, copyright and music circulation in Port Vila, Vanuatu

Monika Stern


Since the year 2000, Port-Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, has experienced considerable development in digital technologies. This has strongly influenced young people’s musical behaviour.

The mobile phone market expanded rapidly with the arrival of the Digicel company, launched in June 2008. Statistics show that in 2009, more than 50 percent of the population had access to mobile telephony. The possibilities for digital storage have made the mobile phone an indispensable tool for young musicians.

In August 2012 the country joined WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). However, IP (intellectual property) law cannot be practically implemented, because no formal organization to enforce IP has been established by the Vanuatu Government. Musical exchanges are engrained in the archipelago’s traditional culture and, alongside the old circulation systems of musical knowledge, the Internet and mobile phones have created new networks for the circulation of musical culture.

While copyright can be seen as important for the development of the local music industry, its implementation faces challenges, given that the circulation of local music occurs largely outside of the formal market system.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i10.5551

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