“One should not place photographs of masqueraders or costumes, be it a headpiece or any other piece of artistic work, on Facebook or other social networking sites. Those pictures could be taken off these sites and used for financial gains,” warned chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Collection Organisation (TTCCO) Richard Cornwall, during an interview with Newsday yesterday.
“If you take those photos and post them on Facebook, what you have done is give someone the option of graphics. They can pull these images and compile them in a magazine which could then be used for commercial gain. If that could be traced to your website page, you can be held accountable as the source for the act of infringement,” Cornwall said.
The TTCCO through its legal team, he said, is being very aggressive on the issue of taking photographs of “works of mas” and using them for commercial purposes.
Works of mas, he said, apply to the performers in the performance (masquerader/live performer), author/composer (music), designer, producer, bandleader (owner of entire production).
In the past, Cornwall said, there have been “flagrant disrespect” and misuse and abuse of copyright, most of it coming from a position of ignorance. However, at some point in time, he added, “this must stop!”
“And the only way that could be done is through education and enforcement with respect to infringement of the laws.” The TTCCO is acting on behalf of members of the newly-formed National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF).
“Our creative works have been going out to different countries via different medium. Our mandate under the NCDF is to monetise it under the Works of Mas laws,” Cornwall said.
Asked about the man-in-the-street or tourists taking photos or video recordings of masqueraders in the street, Cornwall said, “If anyone takes a photograph of a masquerader on the street and it is a personal one for showing to friends and families, that is not an issue.”
“If someone uses that photograph for commercial purposes then it becomes an issue,” Cornwall said, “and you have to get a copyright licence under the Works of Mas Act.” The media, too, he advised has to pay copyright licences separate from accreditation.