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Indonesia: Bali to Protect Traditional Textiles

(Jan. 14, 2015) Indonesia’s province of Bali is planning a new bylaw, to be passed within the year, on the protection of the intellectual property involved in the creation of local traditional textiles. The purpose is to preserve the fabric techniques and enhance production and quality, to better suit the market. (Wasti Atmodjo, Bali Prepared Bylaw for Traditional Cloth Protection, JAKARTA POST (Jan. 7, 2015).)

According to Ni Wayan Kusumawathi, head of the Bali Industrial Trade Office, that office and Udayana University are drafting the bylaw. Before the draft is completed, a survey of traditional Balinese cloths will be undertaken. Kusumawathi noted that “[t]he results will be documented; they include mapping of traditional cloth-weaving industrial centers and the distinction between motifs in each regency or city. This is the basis for formulating the regulation.” (Id.)

Kusumawathi also stressed that intellectual property protection is part of the approach that will be taken, but that other aspects will be included. The traditional textile methods of Bali were at one point nearly extinct, with only elderly crafts people still using them. This situation was due in part to the fact that the fabrics were used only in special situations. In addition to a bylaw, there will be a gubernatorial decree encouraging wider use of the textiles, particularly in government, educational, and financial offices, as well as in hotels in Bali. (Id.)

The textiles in question include endek and songket. Endek is made through a lengthy process on hand looms, with the weft tied in preset patterns and dyed before weaving. Songket is a brocaded fabric using gold or silver threads on a plain, colored background. Both were traditionally worn for religious and other formal occasions. (Endek and Songket Weaving, Sidemen Tour and Trekking website (last visited Jan. 13, 2015).)

The proposed bylaw seems like a good measure to I. Wayan Sukerta, of the Winangun Asri weaving group located on a small island off the coast of Bali. He stated that crafts workers need help to improve and market their products. (Atmodjo, supra.)

Bali’s governor proposed a general bylaw on cultural heritage earlier this year. (Constance Johnson, Indonesia: Bylaw on Cultural Heritage of Bali Proposed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 13, 2014).) It was adopted as provincial regulation number 4 of 2014. (Gubernur Bali Peraturan Daerah Provinsi Bali Nomor 4 Tahun 2014 Tentang Pelestarian Warisan Budaya Bali [Provincial Regulation of the Governor of Bali on Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Bali, No. 4, 2014], on file with author.)