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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
“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, 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 www.bscap.bz Duane Moody for News Five.