COTT: Pay up, or else
By JADA LOUTOO Wednesday, August 29 2012
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COTT'S ATTORNEY: Martin George....
TOMORROW night’s “House of Marley” concert may come crashing down if the show’s promoters do not pay, by midday today, the mandatory performance royalty fees to the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Attorney Martin George, representing the Copyright Organisation, said at a media conference yesterday, the promoters of the show — TriStar Promotions, or its named representative, Roy Maharaj — are required to pay the estimated $200,000 licence fee today, or his client will approach the courts for an injunction to stop the event.
The Marley brothers — Damian, Julian, Stephen, and Kymani — are the headline acts, performing on the same stage with local artistes Austin “Superblue Lyons, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, Bunji Garlin, Chutney Soca king Kris “KI” Persad and Aaron Marquez among others, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.
George said yesterday, COTT was authorised and mandated by its US affiliate ASCAP — the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers — to act on behalf of their three members — Julian, Stephen and Damien Marley.
At a late evening conference, Maharaj and his representatives met with COTT and their lawyers, trying to negotiate a settlement.
Speaking with Newsday, George said arising out of the discussions was a “greater understanding, respect, and appreciation between the promoters and COTT in terms of their rights, roles, duties and responsibilities while balancing the interests of the thousands of patrons who would have purchased tickets for the show, and the interests of composers, songwriters and artistes in getting their royalties.”
George said both sides were hopeful for a resolution, but did not discount the possibility of legal action still being taken.
“We hope it does not come to that,” he said.
Notice of the intended legal action was also sent to the Sportt Company of TT and Sport Minister Anil Roberts, both of whom would have consented to the use of the stadium as the concert venue, George said.
“As you are aware COTT has been diligent in its efforts to enforce the rights of persons who have copyright works protected by the Copyright Act of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
The organisation also acts on behalf of their international copyright affiliates.
According to George, COTT has been attempting to contact Maharaj and TriStar for their cooperation for the payment of royalties due. Maharaj and TriStar were asked to contact the organisation on Monday, but failed to do so, prompting them to seek the assistance of their attorneys Martin George and Dave McKenzie, who are prepared to go to court to have the concert stopped, because of the threat of copyright infringement.
“COTT takes a conciliatory stance with regards to these matters,” George said.
The Sport Minister and the Sportt Company were written to about the intended court action, as according to George, local copyright laws also hold liable, persons who give permission for use of a venue for public entertainment.
“The person who gave permission can be liable under the Copyright Act. We do not want anyone to fall into error due to ignorance. We are putting them on notice so that all parties are being made aware of what is happening,” he said.
The attorney emphasised that COTT was cognisant of the fact that hundreds of persons would have purchased tickets, and made arrangements to attend tomorrow’s show.
“COTT has no desire to unnecessarily inconvenience the members of the public because of the action, or inaction of those who are causing the law to be enforced,” he said.