Regionally and internationally, the number of copyright infringement claims has increased as music owners seek compensation for the value that their work adds to others’ events or enterprises. Those infringement claims are based on copyright laws that give the owners of the copyright in music the exclusive right to, among other acts, play their music in public. “Playing music in public” includes music played via live performances, pre-recorded music, radio or digital streams, etc. at events or venues that can be accessed by the public. Therefore, when music is played in public, compensation is due to the owners of the copyright (the songwriters and publishers) for use of that music.
The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) is a collective management organization (CMO) that collects compensation through the grant of licenses in the Eastern Caribbean on behalf of the song writers and publishers that are members of their organization. Through reciprocal arrangements, ECCO also collects and distributes compensation on behalf of other CMOs across the world, including those that service the rest of the Caribbean, USA, UK, Japan, Canada, France and more.
On behalf of their members, ECCO and other CMOs seek compensation from persons and establishments who play music in public including, but not limited to,
• Event promoters (e.g. fairs, fetes, bazaars, concerts, fashion shows, pageants, jam sessions)
• Radio and TV stations
• Clubs and discos
• Dance schools and studios
• Fitness centres and gyms
• Hotels and guest houses
• Offices, banks, commercial premises
• Restaurants, cafes and bars
• Shops, supermarkets and stores
• Ships, boats and pleasure craft
• Sound System operators and karaoke
Note, that this is not a new law or practice. The law has been in effect since 2002 but copyright owners have rarely enforced it in St. Kitts and Nevis. However, since that is changing, the Intellectual Property Office of St. Kitts and Nevis encourages persons to familiarize themselves with this practice called collective management of music rights, and to engage and cooperate with ECCO if you require a licence.
To learn more about collective management, music licensing and ECCO, we invite you to a free public consultation at NEMA in St. Kitts on Tuesday 1st November at 6:00 p.m. and at NEPAC in Nevis on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Representatives from our Office, the Ministry of the Creative Economy and ECCO will be on hand to answer any of your questions. Information on ECCO can be found at www.eccorights.org
Hon. Garth Wilkin, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and Hon. Samal Duggins, Minister of the Creative Economy, will also speak on this issue at a pre-consultation press conference on Thursday 13th October at 10:00 a.m. which will be aired on MoEnt TV (Channel 4) and ZIZ’s radio and social media page.
Jihan Williams (Ms.)
7 October 2022