Poor turnout for ECCO promoters meeting

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By Latrishka Thomas

Three representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for music rights (ECCO) have been on island seeking to sensitize residents of Antigua and Barbuda on the tenets of the organization. However, their initial meeting was poorly attended.

Operations Manager of ECCO, Vanesta Mortley told OBSERVER media that the lack of participation in the meeting for event promoters on Thursday evening makes it difficult to educate the public.

There were about 10 persons present at the meeting which was held at the Tradewinds Hotel.

 “If we have a meeting to get the information out there to try to clarify any issues that any music user will have and the attendance is not what we expected, obviously there will be people out there who do not have the correct information as it relates to ECCO. So it would affect the education process,” Mortley said.

The few in attendance said that they just happened to hear about the meeting a few hours prior.

Nevertheless, the ECCO representatives present along with Mortley — the CEO Davis Joseph and Chairman of the Board of Directors Vernalderine Francis — said that they were pleased with how the meeting progressed

 “I think from the way the meeting progressed last night you can tell some of the issues resulted from misinformation and the lack of information. For example, they were unaware that the 5 per cent could actually become 2.5 per cent … they were pleasantly surprised, they called the tariff affordable for the ones applied for other music users.

“So you can tell that the more information that they get, I think the more we can expect compliance from them and their corporation. I think we are actually on the right track when it comes to the discussion,” Joseph said.

The attendees were forthcoming with both negative and positive feedback. One of the concerns aired by an event organiser surrounded the thought that they are required to pay the copyright tariff before they have made a profit or lack thereof, but ECCO explained that persons will only have to pay 5 per cent of the tickets sold and a refund will be given if necessary.

The promoters were also perturbed by the fact that ECCO sought to enforce the tariff after they would have already budgeted for the fete season. They argued that sensitization on ECCO should have been done in stages prior to imposing the tariff.

The ECCO representatives made a great effort to answer all of the questions asked and went even further to suggest that a few of the attendees come together to form a board to get more of the information out to entertainment stakeholders.

The CEO also added that this issue of misinformation among the attendees was one the biggest issues that he took away from the meeting.

As a solution, the stakeholders suggested that a fixed fee be put in place temporally and set a date to be established for some time after that will give promoters enough time to prepare and budget for their next events. And the ECCO officials agreed to consider all of the suggestions.

“We did promise that we will look at all


because it was only a small representation of the promoters who were there. So we do have to listen to others and we do have to consult with our partners and stakeholders and I think out of this we will actually make the right decision, but it has to be something that benefits all of us,” Joseph said.

“The thing is we are willing to take all of it into consideration, process it and make the right decision.”

ECCO conducted another meeting mainly for artists Friday evening at the Heritage Hotel and is determined to continue to educate the public.

In fact, the CEO said: “During this trip we’ve identified a number of persons who will be able to help with the educational and PR campaign. We want people who are very knowledgeable about intellectual property and they are going to be a part of a sub-regional campaign. So it’s not only going to be about Antigua, it’s going to be about the rest of the territories. That requires funding so it will take some time for us to bring it together.”

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