PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – The copyright to 73 songs by legendary Cambodian crooner Sinn Sisamouth have been awarded to the surviving members of his family.
Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol and Culture Minister Phoeurng Sackona handed the copyrights over to Mr. Sisamouth’s widow, Khao Thorn Ngot, 75, and his son, Sinn Chanchhaya, 58. The move is being regarded as a significant step in the protection of artists’ intellectual property rights in Cambodia.
“We do have a copyright law in Cambodia,” said Mr. Chanthol at the historic event. “The family requested that [the ministries] review the songs made by Sinn Sisamouth and provided evidence that the songs were composed by him.”
Mr. Sisamouth’s family had traveled to the capital from Stung Treng for the presentation, and their happiness and pride at the decision was evident.
After the presentation, Commerce Minister Mr Chanthol, Justice Minister, Ang Vathanna and Sok Siphanna, an official from the Council for Development of Cambodia, participated in a tribute to Cambodia’s most famous modern singer by playing guitars and singing along to his music.
The decision on the copyrights means that Radio and TV stations must now make a request to the family in order to broadcast the songs.
Last May, Mr. Sisamouth’s family applied for 181 songs to be protected under the Intellectual Property Rights Law on Copyrights and Related Rights.
Notification calling on anyone who wished to challenge the origins of the music was printed in a local newspaper for one month, according to Mr. Chanthol.
After receiving no responses to the notification, the commerce and culture ministers sent a joint request to the Prime Minister for permission to grant ownership rights to 73 of Sinn Sisamouth’s songs to his surviving family.
The presentation of the copyrights was filmed for an upcoming documentary about Sinn Sisamouth’s life, titled “Elvis of Cambodia”.
Copyrights to Sinn Sisamouth’s musical catalogue are presented to his wife, Khao Tong Yutt (2nd L), and son, Sinn Chanchhaya (L), by the ministers of culture and commerce. (KT Photo: Nou Sotheavy)