You are here
Guardian Media to cover Carnival events as usual
Guardian Media Ltd (GML) plans to cover Carnival as usual. GML, One Caribbean Media Ltd (OCM) and the state-owned Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) are faced with the threat of legal action over the copyright of Carnival masquerade costumes. The T&T Copyright Collection Organisation (TTCO) wrote a lawyer’s letter giving them until Wednesday afternoon to agree to pay the fees he claimed they owed for covering mas since 2007.
Deputy managing director of GML Brandon Khan said yesterday: “The matter is in the hands of our lawyers, so there is nothing really new to report. I believe we are proceeding with Carnival coverage as planned.”
Attorney Clayton George said the National Carnival Commission (NCC) had given the TTCO the names of the organisations to which it had issued accreditation for Carnival coverage, and TTCO was attempting to obtain money owed to its client. The fees were said to be payable for broadcasting or publishing images of works of mas.
The TTCO also sent a pre-action protocol letter to the NCC, claiming the NCC had breached the National Carnival Development Foundation’s (NCDF) copyright. In the letter to GML, George said it had come to TTCO’s attention that the NCC had breached TTCO’s copyright by bypassing TTCO’s licensing regime and issuing press accreditation.
The letter said the NCC had informed the TTCO that for the years 2007-2011, the T&T Publishing Company Ltd and the CNC 3 TV station (now both part of GML) had obtained press accreditation. TTCO’s letter said it believed the accreditation had been granted without the payment of requisite licensing fees and asked GML to pay a total of $240,000 in fees owing to the TTCO for the years 2007 to 2012 and a further $100,000 for a licence for 2013.
If the TTCO did not receive what it described as an adequate response by yesterday, legal action to recover damages was given as an alternative. When contacted yesterday, TV6’s head of news Dominic Kalipersad said the station would be featuring news reports on Carnival. TV6 has not showcased live Carnival coverage for years.
In a January 23 letter to the president of the TTCO, Vijay Ramlal, lawyers for the NCC explained that the NCC does not collect royalties for the use of intellectual property. The letter, written by attorney Dharmendra Punwasee, pointed out that accreditation was an administrative process used to manage people who wanted access to the NCC’s various venues to cover shows and events, and not a way of awarding releases, licenses or intellectual property rights.
The letter added that the NCC had denied acting as a de facto copyright licensing body, but rather told people applying for accreditation that they needed to make their own arrangements with the Copyright Organisation (Cott) for payment of royalties. It said the fees charged by the NCC for accreditation were based on the cost of the accreditation process and managing accredited people in NCC venues, and no portion of that fee was payment for the intellectual property rights of any third party.
“In the circumstances,” Punwasee said, “the NCC is unable to comply with your request to cease this process.” He also refused to account to the TTCO for the money the NCC had collected in accreditation fees. The letter said, however, that in an effort to resolve the issue, the names of accredited people and accreditation fees received by the NCC for the years 2007-2012 were submitted.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.