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Promoters in legal problems
Confusion over copyright licences may be leading some fete promoters into legal hot water, says CEO of the Copyright Organisation of T&T (Cott) Josh Rudder. Rudder, who was speaking to the media during a press conference at Cott’s Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, office, said fly-by-night copyright organisations were confusing promoters.
“Promoters now believe that they have an option and can pay another copyright organisation fees and not pay Cott,” Rudder said. “There is no option. You do not have a choice when it comes to paying a Cott licence.” Rudder said his organisation represented most of the major contributors to the music industry. “We have a membership of over 2,700 authors, composers and publishers,” he said.
Rudder said at any event in Carnival, the music of Cott members would be used and as long as the music is used, promoters needed to get a licence. He said recently the company sent pre-action protocol letters to two event promoters, both arising from their mistaken belief that they could get a cheaper licence from another copyright body.
Yesterday, Cott sent pre-action protocol letters to the promoters of the Sahara cooler fete and Yorke All-inclusive. The issues have since been cleared up. “It stemmed from a misunderstanding with another copyright body telling them they did not have to pay Cott,” he explained. Cott’s attorney Dave McKenzie said the Copyright Act lacked a regulatory framework.
“If on any given Monday morning someone decides to go and register a collection agency with the Ministry of Legal Affairs and decides to approach a promoter, that promoter is faced with two to six organisations. Is he to go out and pay for six licences?” MacKenzie asked.
“Is he to say this organisation is offering a cheap price? As it stands now, the law has made this a sensitive issue. There is no one to ask promoters whose rights they covered with the licences they are getting.” MacKenzie said unless the issues were properly addressed Cott retained the right to take legal action against any promoter who refused to take out a Cott licence, because the rights of Cott members would not be covered.
MacKenzie said they had been advised that Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar would invite recommendations from Cott for amendments to the Copyright Act.
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