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Copyright What is it good for?

Published: 
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Bit Depth
Veteran masman Peter Minshall speaks from the audience at the National Seminar on Copyright in the Carnival Industry hosted by the NCC last week at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY

Over the first 14 hours of the National Seminar on Copyright in the Carnival Industry, I’d had no problems keeping my silence, writing notes about the various presentations and taking photographs of the presenters.

 

This was, after all, a seminar series I’d been hounding the NCC to host for years now, something to provide a definitive statement on the issues underpinning Carnival’s copyright and the problems that have arisen in recent years related to its policing.

 

I’d watched Peter Minshall keep rising repeatedly to offer the perspectives of a creator in Carnival, driven by an unmatched passion for Carnival. I heard another contribution from a traditional masquerader who seemed nonplussed by the general tone of the event, which didn’t speak very directly to the very personal issues that arise from copyright protections in the very muddled situation that Carnival has made of rights and licensing.

 

I heard that elderly masman, an individual in every sense of the word, someone who designed, built and performed his singular masquerade very year, grappling with one of the great Catch-22s of the modern Carnival era, the role of the NCBA in convening the event and its competitions.