COPYRIGHT DEFINITIONFor the records, copyright and publishing is not as developed in Jamaica as is in the United States and getting the nuts and bolt of it can be very challenging as stated. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that with the advent of the updated Copyright Act of 1993, and upcoming amendments, organizations such as Jamaica Association of Composers and Authors and Publishers (JACAP), Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) and Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agent (JAMCOPY) are helping to regulate and cut a clear pathway in the intellectual property arena.
Basically, under the law (Jamaica and U.S.), copyright begins automatically once a piece of music is created then documented or recorded, for example, on video, tape or CD or simply written down in notation of a score sheet. WordFoodMusic CEO puts it nicely, “Once it is affix, you are in the mix. No registration is necessary to own what you create. However, proving that you own what you had made is another matter”.
Both the Jamaican Copyright Act 1988/1993 and the U.S. Copyright Law, amended December 2011, put copyright as a protection for original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. It allows an original work to be considered a property that is owned by somebody, whether published or unpublished.
Having no copyright can be a wrong copy. Importantly, even if you see your friends or other artistes using other people’s work without permission, it is illegal and you should not, according to the Bible, “follow a multitude to do wrong”. This is still true even though you may see some producers, loosely, putting the words “cover version” or “adapted” on their cover records to show a form of respect. The reality is that this is still an infringement as any form of unauthorized use of copyright material is a violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights.
By the way, the symbol for copyright is © although it may vary in some jurisdiction.
Copyright is big business and the copyright acts of Jamaica and U.S. afford several important rights that can earn income for the writer, composer and producer of music. The main rights are Public Performing Right, Reproduction Right, Mechanical Right, and Synchronization Right.
Currently, in Jamaica, copyright generally lasts for a period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies. In the U.S. it is 70 years after the composer’s death.
Clifton "NOTCLIF" Neil is a "blonger" (blogs long), chartered marketer and university lecturer in marketing. Contact at email@example.com.