Can I Sing Your Song? A Story Behind Copyright Use

PT. KASS Indonesia IP Services Indonesia

Many of us are undoubtedly familiar with legendary bands such as The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, and The Bee Gees. These iconic bands have left an indelible mark on the music industry, and their names continue to resonate even today. In Indonesia, during the era of flower generation bands, one group that shone brightly was "KOES PLUS."


Formed in 1968, Koes Plus was a family band comprising Tonny Koeswoyo, Yon Koeswoyo, Yok Koeswoyo, and Murry. Their music was heavily influenced by Western bands like Led Zeppelin, and they are considered one of the pillars of Indonesian music, still boasting a dedicated fanbase.

The Rise of TI KOES

In light of Koes Plus's enduring popularity, a local band known as "TI KOES" saw an opportunity to enter the music business. TI KOES, formed in 2007, proudly considers itself a tribute band to the legendary Koes Plus. The similarities between the two bands extend to their stage performances. This leaves us wondering if TI KOES is fully aware of the copyright issues associated with Koes Plus' music.

The Prohibition

Recently, it came to the public's attention that "TI KOES" had been prohibited by Koes Plus' family from performing their parents' songs. This prohibition raised questions and sparked numerous speculations regarding the underlying reasons. A member of the Koes Plus family confirmed that this ban was grounded in "ethical" concerns and had nothing to do with financial or royalty matters. This situation piqued curiosity about how copyright law in Indonesia addresses such prohibitions.

Understanding Copyrights in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the law of Copyright is governed by "Law No. 28 of 2014 Regarding Copyrights" ("Copyrights Law"). This law provides that copyright is not subject to registration but rather   voluntary recordation in Indonesia. Copyright protection comes into effect when the work is published and recording copyright in the work with the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) is recommended to establish ownership. The DGIP issues a certificate of ownership upon successful recordation of the copyright.


The Copyrights Law defines copyright as exclusive rights that encompass moral and economic rights. Moral rights, when granted to a creator, are perpetual and allow the creator to preserve the integrity of their creation. Economic rights, on the other hand, enable the creator to derive financial benefits from their work. Moral rights, in particular, the provisions under Article 5(1) e, empower authors to defend the work from other parties from distorting, changing, altering, modifying, and mutilating the work. Further, the law also provides that authors may also defend their rights from other acts of other parties which will be prejudicial to their honor or reputation. This provision appears to have a wider scope when compared to other provisions under article 5 which mostly apply to the work itself.

The Koes Plus-TI KOES Conundrum

Moral and economic rights can be transferred by will or inheritance. As such, Koes Plus' family is well within their rights to prohibit TI KOES from using and performing any songs by Koes Plus. They are under no obligation to provide any justification for their decision. However, the family of Koes PLUS has intimated in interviews with the local media, that the grounds for the prohibition were due to acts committed by TI KOES, which in their view prejudiced the honor and reputation of the legacy of KOES PLUS. Therefore, this prohibition is a natural consequence of the acts of TI KOES in breaching these rights. In cases where consent is granted, it is incumbent upon the performing artist to treat the artist's work with the utmost care and respect.

The Importance of Recognition and Appreciation

It's essential to remember that many creators of art value recognition and appreciation more than royalties and commercialisation of their works. These creators dedicate their lives to their creations and cherish the acknowledgment of their work.


Copyrighted material is intertwined with our daily lives, and we may inadvertently or unknowingly be crossing the boundaries as to what is considered acceptable use of the work. It's therefore crucial for parties to remain vigilant and seek the counsel of an Intellectual Property Consultant before any unwanted legal action comes knocking at your door.


If you need any help regarding copyright or any Intellectual Property matters, do drop us a line at




PT. KASS Indonesia IP Services

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PT. KASS Indonesia IP Services

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