THE EDITOR: When music is provided at a Carnival event, the event promoter is charged with the responsibility of securing a Carnival event licence for a set fee in order to fully cover the use of all musical content at the event.
In TT, the three collective management organisations (CMOs) that are vested with the authority of issuing such a licence, are the Copyright Music Organisation of TT (COTT), The Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Collection Organisation (TTCO), and Advancing Writers Entertainers Singers On Music Endeavours (AWESOME Intel).
While the long-standing dispute surrounding the need to have a separate licence from all three CMOs has been clarified by the Ministry of Legal Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office (IPO), this legal obligation has triggered another major issue of contention for event promoters that needs to be urgently addressed.
As it stands, the rates charged by CMOs are being identified by event promoters as financially burdensome cumulatively.
This area of contention is not healthy and, if not addressed, could lead to a collapse of the industry should event promoters remove their investment capital for more favourable opportunities.
In this regard, I would like to recommend that event promoters and CMOs meet and discuss this situation in an effort to reach a position where all parties can be satisfied or, at least, not dissatisfied.
The IPO has long offered its services to facilitate such discussions by way of mediation and it is about time we take the opportunity. These discussions should be mandatory rather than voluntary.
I hereby make a further appeal to all parties concerned, to come together to pursue the best solution possible and in so doing, ensure the survival and proliferation of our music industry’s intellectual property landscape.
Fabien Alfonso via e-mail