The warning was sounded yesterday at a TTCO media conference held at Cruise Ship Complex, Port-of-Spain. TTCO Chief Officer of Licences and Compliance, Dion Heath, in his remarks said that any event with the performance live or public - whether deejay, live band or radio, karaoke machine - must clear neighbouring rights (related rights) and/or works of mas.
“The TTCO...are no longer tolerating any further intellectual property infringement by users and exploiters of neighbouring rights, either via promoters, organisers or businesses. As such the TTCO will be taking all avenues at its disposal in which to rectify this matter, which would include the possible disruption of events, or injunctive procedures,” he said.
He provided a list of events infringing upon neighbouring, or related rights of performers, producers and broadcasters: Out in South; Fire Fete; OWTU Inclusive; Fete with the Saints; Yorke All Inclusive; Presentation College San Fernando Prestige All Inclusive; Ladies Night Out - Randy Glasgow Productions; Central Bank All Inclusive; QRC Old Boys Association Fete Royal; Chutney Soca Monarch; UWI All Inclusive; Army Fete; Soca for You; Bishops and Trinity College East; Fantasy Saturday Cooler Fete; Blue Range All Inclusive Fete; Yuma Neon Fete; St Anthony’s College Fete with the Tigers All Inclusive; Sunny Side up Breakfast Party; Vale Vibes Cooler Fete; Kairi Different All Inclusive and International Soca Monarch.
He said the list was not complete, but featured the most notable of the events.
Heath noted that some of these organisations have “bypassed and trampled” upon local creators while gaining economically. He noted that the TTCO is making a stand to let the public, artistes and musicians know why they are being advantaged, and not getting royalties.
TTCO Vice President and CEO Richard Cornwall said the TTCO has reached out to all the fete organisers to get a licence, and many have “blatantly refused”, some doing so based on some confusion.
He said a number of actions can be taken: the fete can be disrupted by visiting the event with police, and asking for a licence to be presented, and if this is not done the event could be immediately stopped; or they can go to the Courts and get an injunction. He noted that a promoter can pay for the licence at the fete itself.
He pointed out that the checklist provided by the Courts that guides promoters and other users of intellectual property when making their application to the Court for hosting an event, also indicates that more than one licence may apply and promoters should do the necessary due dilligence when approaching the Court.
He noted that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has released several documents listing the CMOs they recognise and the most recent media release indicating that promoters should make the necessary adjustment “as more than one CMO may have to be paid”.
He said the IPO also noted that due diligence is the responsibility of the promoters and/or businessman, and failure to comply where applicable can result in a penalty upon summary conviction of 10 years imprisonment ,and $250,000.
Cornwall reported that no one has been imprisoned or faced the penalty, possibly due to CMOs “having a heart”.
He noted, however, that it is something they are looking at.
He stressed that the TTCO need to make an example to those who choose not to heed their warnings