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May 15, 2012

Artists want to get paid; copyright on the way

Under copyright laws, Belizean and international artists stand to collect royalties for songs aired in Belize.  At a press conference his morning, BSCAP; the Belizean Society of Composers Authors Publisher says it is advancing the protection of rights of copyright owners in the music entertainment industry through enforcement of the law. BSCAP mission is in four areas: to acquire rights from copyright owners, license these rights to copyright users, collect license fees from users and distribute the license fees to members. BSCAP says twenty-seven years ago Brother David Obi started the process to enact the copyright laws. Freelance reporter Duane Moody reports on the first press conference held by BSCAP.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A major milestone has been reached in the creative arts industry in respect of licensing rights.


Gregory Vernon

Gregory Vernon, Director, Institute of Creative Arts

“This will be not the last milestone that we will stay at and we hope to move forward. With the users, we hope that we will be able to educate them to recognize and as the word of the great Aretha Franklin, RESPECT the creators of music because we would like to see service; especially the National institute of Culture and History, services being recognized as a product—tangible and intangible. We would like to have the respect of the users so they will be able to see us and respect us for the music, the choreography, the craft, the art that we are creating because we also as artists need to put food on our table.”


The Belizean Society of Composers Authors Publishers, BSCAP, says that artists will receive equal royalties for their music aired at local and international events.


Jason Guerrero

Jason Guerrero, Board Chairman, BSCAP

“Our campaign is a door to door campaign where we are going knocking on doors advising persons that yes this is the law and we would like you to license. In terms of the radio stations, they are required by law, by the Belize broadcasting act to log the music that they are playing. Eventually, the way copyright is paid out is that artists rack up points for music. So if Berne’s music is played ten times per day on the music, then he is racking up points for the ten times. That’s how it is done in the ideal world which we are probably far from at this time. But for right now, what we do is pay royalties on a prorated basis meaning that all members of BSCAP when we collect royalties get an equal share of the pie.”


The CIBC, First Caribbean Bank was the first locally based company to honour the copyrights of local artists. They were presented with an award for their support.


Glen Smith

Glen Smith, Country Manager, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank

“When we play music inside the banking halls or even the back offices, it provides ambience, relaxation for our staff and it is an established fact that background music does in fact improve productivity. However what that does is that we compensate the artists and BSCAP protects all artists when we pay our license fees.”


Several artists attended the conference; they are pleased that they will are to be compensated for their work.


Tanya Carter

Tanya Carter, Artist

“It is what it is. I mean like this is my job. I don’t have a nine to five and say oh I will sing on the weekends; no this is my job. And I think that as I respect you as a journalist, you should respect me as an artist and for me getting paid is like a token saying that you respect me as an artist and I think that is what we are all looking for.  Well it means that we are finally getting the respect that we so deserve. I mean I know a lot of artists that put in a lotta money and people noh realize that it’s like five hundred dollars to do a song and if we are not getting any kind of monies back, we are left with nothing. It’s an investment and BSCAP is doing an excellent job.”


BSCAP says that persons who violate the copyrighting laws can end up before the court.


Jason Guerrero

“Well that depends on the courts. Unfortunately, we would have to take legal action in court. Penalties include financial fines, it could also include where the court can stop a business from operating. I don’t know if that will happen, but it can happen. And that is how our laws are written right now.”


Glenn Tillett

Glenn Tillett, Host

“There are different fines and sanctions for different violations. Here in Belize because culturally it seems we have an attitude where we ignore these things and we tend to disregard them and there has been not much education and information about it, it does seems like uncharted territory.”


To find out more information on copyrighting works, you can go to BSCAP’s website at Duane Moody for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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13 Responses for “Artists want to get paid; copyright on the way”

  1. O says:

    Bla bla bla the industry needs to be created first,who will do the work of reporting violations?Get paid?If it goes to court you will not collect a dime.I humbly wait for responses…..

  2. Tarasbulba says:

    True ting but even Aretha Frankling stole “Respect” from the great Otis Redding, soh Musicians, RESPECT our brothers and sisters. Nuff Respect from “Tarasbulba”.

  3. Storm says:

    Great idea, much needed to pay the artists. Just keep an eye on the cookie jar, because the accumulated royalties will be very tempting to some people.

  4. Proud-bzean says:

    Great news! I hope they get to people who are selling our music/music videos without consent.

  5. Belizean Boy says:

    I love the idea of this. I think that it will encourage Belizeans to produce great songs and quality music than just throw out garbage out there and expect thier songs to be played or purchased. Don’t forget the Christian music industry in Belize right now are producing quality and conscious music! One artist that is on the rise right now is Tamo Vanegas from Teakettle who is woking on his CD to produce one of best reggae CD that will ever be produce in Belize.

  6. Eye in the Sky says:

    We the people of Belize should get Paid to listen to the Horrible Music produced by these so called Belizean artists.

  7. Steel says:

    Lets be honest. In Belize you cant just depend on music to make a living. It should be just a second job or a thing on the side. This is good what is happening but I do not feel sorry for the people relying on “just music” to get somewhere in life. GET REAL!

  8. Seletar says:

    Eye in the Sky, apparently you need to unplug your radio. Or report to the police that somebody is forcing you to listen against your will.

    Belizean Boy, I’m going to look for the CD by Tamo Vanegas. I love good local music, and there really is a lot of it, and a good variety, in the Jewel.

  9. mark says:


  10. RedBwai says:

    I agree 100% with Eye in the Sky and Steel….in Belize u cant reply on music alone to make a living…an besides..Belize still has a long long way to go in terms of producing a more professional music quality with it comes to most of our local artists..dont get me wrong..we do have a handful of local artist who are on par with the well known international artist when it comes to quality and originality…but no matter what you do pple will still find ways to get around those copyright laws…

  11. RedBwai says:

    I can find and download dem rite off the internet for free!!!…where there is a will, there is a way…pple will always find a way around those laws lol…good luck enforcing dem..

  12. BSCAP says:

    Thanks to you all for your comments. Both the negative and positive are need as it sparks real, public discourse on the matter. Anyone wanting to direct questions at BSCAP may do so at

  13. Doubbleheadcabbage says:

    Ever artist in belize and the rest of the world has taken,sampled,for someone else….who will pay the African drummers for the songs….its a great idea…but there are to many loop holes…

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