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By Latrishka Thomas

The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation (ECCO) has designated Vaughan Skerritt as its Director from Antigua and Barbuda. This was detailed in a press release distributed by the organisation yesterday.
Skerritt told OBSERVER media that his role entails “working with a board of directors and setting policies for ECCO”.


Furthermore, the Villa resident explained that directors are selected for each country in which ECCO operates and are expected to meet once a month to discuss policies.


Skerritt, a copy writer for several companies, has been associated with the local music scene in Antigua for over 28 years.


He also produced and designed winning soca monarch performances for Ricardo Drue, Tian Winter and Ezzy Rattigan.


ECCO, in a press release, expressed enthusiasm after having added Skerritt to its team. It said: “with Mr Vaughan Skerritt at the helm, we look forward to a dynamic partnership and fruitful cooperation with the music industry stakeholders of Antigua and Barbuda”.


ECCO is a copyright management organisation with the responsibility for administering the rights of authors, composers and publishers for the use of their music.


A team from ECCO visited Antigua and Barbuda earlier this year with the intention to enforce their copyright royalties on music users. However, the agents were greeted with hostility.


After holding a few consultations in June, the company decided to offer a six-month amnesty for those music users who require more time to comply with royalty payment laws due to budgetary constraints or due to a lack of awareness.


This was detailed in a letter to the Minister responsible for National Festivals Daryll Matthew, dated June 26th.


Other key components of the agreement detailed in the letter are that the work of the local agent, Bernard De Nully, continues and those who choose to be licensed enjoy the amnesty until next year, in order to ensure fairness, and their education campaign be in effect during that time.


The amnesty may be accepted from July to December 2019, and then invoicing will commence from January of 2020.


In addition, the letter to the minister detailed that a number of discounts on fees will also be offered to those who chose to be licenced immediately, rather than accept the amnesty.


Moreover, it read that the optional amnesty does not “absolve music users of the obligation” they have to pay for music licences and permits.
Meanwhile, ECCO said that its next distribution of royalties will be in November.


“Our next distribution of royalties will be on November 11th and we have another schedule for January 2020. Discussions have also resumed on the administration of related rights, which looks out for record producers/labels and artistes,” the release stated.