Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights Press Release
Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 27, 2022 (ECCO) — The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc. is a non-profit company incorporated in the State of Saint Lucia. ECCO has members throughout the OECS and 56 members are from Saint Kitts and Nevis. ECCO licenses the works of its members and the works of related copyright management organizations to users who wish to use them. ECCO is a licensing body as provided for under section 89 of the Copyright Act.
All companies who wish to carry out activities within the Federation of Saint Kitts and
Nevis is required to register as an external company. Since 8th March 2013, ECCO has
been registered with the Registrar of Companies as an external company in the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. All of ECCO’s constitutional documents including the articles of incorporation and bye-laws of the Company have been filed with the Registrar of Companies in accordance with the laws of Saint Kitts and Nevis and are available for inspection by any person at the Financial Services Regulatory Commission.
All information regarding how license fees are computed and distributed is and has
always been available on the website www.eccorights.com.
The statements made at the Press Conference held on the 25th June 2022 indicated that
ECCO has no legal standing in Saint Kitts and Nevis is simply false, misleading, and unsupported in law.
We have, through our legal representatives, responded formally in writing to the
Chairman of the Saint Kitts Music Festival to their bad faith accusations which simply
have no legal merit. We are advised that ECCO’s status as a non-profit company means
that it falls within the exemption provided under section 11 of the Licences on Businesses
and Occupations Act. We are further advised that ECCO’s status as a non-profit company means that it falls within the exemption provided under section 3 of the Value Added
Tax Act and section 3 of the Value Added Tax Regulations and the income is exempt
under the Income Tax Act. We await the response of the Saint Kitts Music Festival
Committee on these points.
We note that at no point has the Comptroller of Inland Revenue, who is responsible for
the enforcement of the Value Added Tax Act and Income Tax Act or the Attorney General, who is responsible for the enforcement of the Licences on Business and Occupations Act ever enforced or required ECCO to be registered under the Licences on Businesses and Occupations Act, the Value Added Tax Act or the Income Tax Act. It is unfortunate that the Saint Kitts Music Festival Committee after paying royalties for many years in compliance with the Copyright Act has chosen to rely on legal arguments, which we have been advised are simply unsupported in law.
We once again note, that while we have been provided limited access after our attorneys-
at-law corresponded with the Attorney General and Minister of Tourism, we have not been in a position to carry out performance logs, a standard practice in the entertainment industry for the purpose of assisting in the distribution of royalties. ECCO will continue to do what is necessary to protect music rights.