ECCO reaches out to Festivals Minister; agrees to amnesty

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By Latrishka Thomas

The outcry of event promoters seems to have yielded results in the form of an amnesty, which may be granted by the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation (ECCO) headquartered in St. Lucia.

The copyright music organisation has written to Festivals Minister Daryll Matthew and has indicated its agreement to an amnesty on collection of music royalties from local promoters.

As a solution to concerns and a suggestion aired at meeting with music users on June 14th, in a letter dated June 26th, ECCO said: “We gave serious consideration to your recommendation for a six-month amnesty for Antigua and Barbuda. Along with that consideration we deliberated on the critical task of ensuring that the work ECCO was mandated to perform [on behalf of its songwriters and music publishers] does not come to a grinding halt in Antigua and Barbuda.”

The organisation revealed that a six-month amnesty will be extended 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.

ECCO further noted that though “there is no easy way to satisfy the interest of all parties” it made a decision that will be of great benefit to its members and “in the interest of goodwill, equitability and the music industry at large, ECCO will announce an optional six-month amnesty”.

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

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

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