Songwriters from Papua New Guinea will receive their first local royalty payments thanks to a new license deal struck between the Sydney-based Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and Port Moresby-based radio station PNG FM.

APRA's licensing authority covers the English-speaking nations of the Pacific Rim, including Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

APRA and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have also helped set up a collecting society in Papua New Guinea.

The organizations recently formalized a commitment from the PNG Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the PNG Department of Justice to finalize the relevant regulations for its establishment. The breakthrough was achieved at the inaugural PNG and Pacific Copyright Summit held in Brisbane July 25 and 26.

Also launched at the summit was CMS Pacific - a centralized documentation and royalty distribution database for the Pacific region. "This cost-effective IT solution will enable the management of copyright protected musical works on behalf of Pacific songwriters and composers," said Scot Morris, Sydney-based director of International for APRA and its sister association, the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society.

The summit looked at international copyright law and practice, perspectives on traditional culture and music in the South Pacific, and strategies to combat piracy in the region. A number of PNG artists performed, including George Telek, Ari Ingram Djakapurra Munyarryun and Soru Tony Subam.

The Brisbane summit was organized by APRA and the Copyright Collective Management division of WIPO.