Why IP matters to youth: 4 key insights from IP & Youth panel discussion
The four youth panelists shared how intellectual property supports youth in creating and innovating.
A youth panel discussion themed Innovating for a Better Future was held on Apr 26 to commemorate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day 2022.
Held at *SCAPE, panelists Benjamin Kheng, Sabrina Shiraz, Louis Liu and Benjamin Cheong shared their experiences with Intellectual Property (IP) and how it made a difference in their creative journey.
Findings from the Singapore IP and Youth survey revealed that of the 1,000 youths polled, 70 per cent had a basic awareness of IP but only 20 per cent had more in-depth knowledge about the different types of IP.
Moreover, about two-thirds said they have not protected the content they create. Common reasons provided were that they do not think their content is worth protecting, do not know how, or do not think IP is relevant to them.
The survey jointly conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the National Youth Council (NYC) revealed that most Singaporean youths lack knowledge about IP, which could hinder their ability to protect their innovations and creative work.
Here are four key insights from the World IP Day panel discussion that youths should bear in mind when pushing new ideas into the world.
1. Consent and respect in the social media space
Just because you are given permission to use someone’s work does not mean you should, shared podcaster Sabrina Shiraz, whose career as a podcaster sees her rely heavily on the usage of social media platforms.
Referring to her own experiences, Sabrina emphasised the importance of respecting others’ wishes when using their content.
While she obtains permission from other parties to use their photos and designs for her podcast’s publicity materials, she adds that it is only right for her to comply if the other parties changed their mind later on. This is something she feels applies to everyone else too.
“Always, always, always ask for permission, because that is the key,” she said.
2. IP is your friend
When you make sure your work is fully protected, you can broaden your options when looking for platforms to display or monetise your creations, said musician and director Benjamin Kheng, who is also the vocalist of local band The Sam Willows.
There are different types of IP designed to protect different categories of creative works. Gaining knowledge on the different types of protection will allow you to create content freely without worrying about your rights being infringed.
As a start, budding musicians can register with the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) to gain basic protection and reproduction rights for their works,, Benjamin shared.
COMPASS deals specifically with musical works and aims to protect and promote the copyright interests of its members. It also administers performance and reproduction rights to musical works on behalf of the members.
Youths can also approach indie labels in Singapore for advice on getting started in the industry as they are well-versed in label management, distribution, licensing and more, Benjamin said.
“It’s a scary space. I understand, but you’re not alone. There’s a lot of individual entities that will help you through that journey,” he added.
3. Law of Confidence
As information is often stored and transferred through digital means these days, the law of confidence protects confidential information from being wrongfully used or disclosed.
This is significant to young innovators and startups looking for potential investors, business partners and clients, shared Louis Liu, founder of fintech organisation FOMO Pay.
He advised young entrepreneurs to have all parties sign a non-disclosure agreement when discussing business with external vendors, to obtain the assurance that their trade secrets are protected and cannot be disclosed.
“There are those liaising with you who will get your information, and then they will go back and do something bad with it. But you need to know, this is protected by the law or confidence,” he shared.
4. IP has evolved for the better
Turning new ideas into reality has never been easier thanks to the protection conferred by IP that was much harder to obtain in the past, shared Benjamin Cheong, expert in technology and data protection law at Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
Having worked on IP for 21 years, Benjamin shared that pirated compact discs of games and movies sitting openly on shelves was a common sight in the old days, when IP was still a relatively new concept.
The new digital industry, on the other hand, has opened up many opportunities for youth to drive the future, as IP information and resources are readily available for any budding young creator.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve gone, from selling pirated DVDs to actually having the brand, the content and the products that we are proud of,” he said.
“As the world’s creation and consumption patterns are transforming rapidly, it’s crucial that we stay updated on what our IP rights are and how we can leverage them.”
IPOS conducts initiatives aiming to raise awareness about IP in schools and help entrepreneurs kick start their businesses.
Examples include the IP Business and Legal Clinics, where entrepreneurs can go to seek free professional IP advice, and the Future Leaders in INnovation Transformation (FLINT) programme in tertiary schools.
Various grants and schemes by government agencies like the National Youth Council and Enterprise SG are also available to fund IP protection for creators and entrepreneurs.
Young professionals can soon look forward to receiving more structured guidance to develop IP skills across industry sectors, said IPOS in a press release.
“I encourage all young creators and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Government schemes and community support available to grow and commercialise your ideas into successful startups and businesses,” said Minister of State for Community, Culture and Youth Alvin Tan, who was the guest of honour at the event.