By Latrishka Thomas
In effort to quell ongoing issues between the Eastern Caribbean Copyright Organisation (ECCO) and some music users, the preciously established copyright tribunal met with event promoters.
On Thursday, promoters who attended a townhall meeting at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre, heard from the Minister of National Festivals, Daryll Matthew, who addressed the “implications of ECCO being present in the market”.
He explained that the tribunal “tried to implore last night on all the promoters is to form yourself into a collective body so that you can make your recommendations that you believe is fair and equitable to you, you make that recommendation to the tribunal and the tribunal will have a look at it and make a determination”.
The minister said that the public angst over tactics employed by the copyright organisation was misguided because many promoters thought that “the tribunal was working on behalf of ECCO”.
Matthew said that the promoters left the meeting with a better understanding of the role of the tribunal.
“I think everybody now understands the role of the tribunal and what needs to be done and we await the outcome. Tribunal is placed to act as a buffer between ECCO and the users of the copyright material. It gives a level of protection to promoters and other users of the material because ECCO now must take action against the tribunal if they have an issue,” the Festivals Minister stated.
He said that even the government has to obtain a licence and pay the “unavoidable” intellectual property fees.
The tribunal is comprised of Matthew, Director of Festivals Petley O’Keiffe, Managing Director at Vibzfm LTD John Silcott, Justice Keith Thom, Deputy Registrar Kýode O’Marde and Magistrate Craig Christopher.
Last year, ECCO granted a six-month amnesty to the outraged Antiguan and Barbudan promoters.
The resumption of licensing by ECCO’s agent, Bernard DeNully, commenced on January 1.