By Robert A. Emmanuel
The members of the Copyright Tribunal were officially revealed yesterday by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda.
The establishment of the Tribunal, which was proposed last month by the Minister of Culture and National Festivals, Daryll Matthew, looks to address intellectual property disputes without resorting to the courts.
Retired Judge Keith Thom was named chair of the Copyright Tribunal, while Kayode O’Marde will serve as the Deputy Chairman. Other members include Craig Christopher, Petley O’Keiffe and John Silcott.
Yesterday, at the post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas spoke about the experience and skills that each member will bring to the newly established institution.
Nicholas noted, “When you look at the personnel included – Justice Keith Thom – he would have been familiar with how the law may be looked at and interpreted … we are looking at two other lawyers in Kayode Omarde who has been involved in some performing arts himself, and Craig Christopher, an artiste and a writer himself. Petley O’Kieffe will represent the Directorate of National Festivals and John Silcott has been involved in media work, having been involved in a number of radio stations.
“So, I think they have a wide cross-section of interests that will bring a great understanding of the types of interfaces that will be necessary.”
The naming of the members of the Tribunal comes amid public angst over some of the tactics employed by the Eastern Caribbean Copyright Organisation (ECCO) to force event organisers and promoters to comply with paying intellectual property fees, as was evident by the (subsequently withdrawn) injunction against the popular Lots of Liquor (LOL) fete.
Over the weekend, ECCO filed an injunction to prevent the managing director of Marketing Machine, Chalita Rose, from staging LOL. But the CEO of ECCO, Davis Joseph, later indicated that he would welcome an opportunity to hold discussions with the events promoter.
Yesterday, Nicholas reiterated that the purpose of the tribunal is to provide an inexpensive avenue for copyright cases to be heard.
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