Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Organisation’s (TTCO) chief executive officer, Richard Cornwall, has expressed “extreme alarm” over what he claimed was an “erroneous impression” created by the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT).
Last week, Josh Rudder, COTT’s chief executive officer, spoke at a news conference where he stated that with 2,700 soca artistes under its label, COTT was the only body authorised to collect royalties on behalf of its members.
“If they are registered to collect on behalf of their artistes, the questions is who are your artistes?” Rudder asked at the news conference at the organisation’s office on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.
“It is confusion that brought us to this stage,” he said.
Rudder said he went around to events over the past year and all he heard was music from artistes under the COTT banner and could not understand why other copyright bodies collected what rightfully belonged to COTT.
“This self-serving statement represents a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright. The truth is that in this context copyright covers authors/composers, live performers and works of mas,” Cornwall said in a media release last Friday.
He said the TTCO has been in existence since 2000 and is recognised by the Intellectual Property Division of the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
He added: “TTCO represents a large repertoire of live performers as well as authors/composers. The rights of live performers are not to be ignored and these rights are separate from that of author/composers. Indeed this is recognised by the Copyright Act, which states that the original owners of neighbouring rights in a performance is the performer in the performance.
“Many live performers can attest that contrary to past practice by other copyright societies that they are paid immediately after a live performance by TTCO.”
Cornwall said the Ministry of Legal Affairs has engaged the assistance of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), from Geneva, Switzerland, to develop a protocol between the various copyright groups to administer smooth management of those rights.
“At the last meeting convened for this purpose, at the Office of the Comptroller of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Legal Affairs, TTCO was a ready and willing participant but COTT’s representative, Mr Rudder, was absent for reasons best known to him,” Cornwall said.
Referenced from: Daily Express
Access date: 20th April 2016