Music Licenses in St. Kitts and Nevis: Not Mandated but Encouraged

(l-r) Host Sergeant Marvin Thompson on the January 26th episode of “Policing With You” with guests Grace Richardson; Licencing Agent of ECCO, and Vernalderine Francis; Director for St. Kitts and Nevis of ECCO. (ECCO – Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights)

The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights is continuing to sensitize the public on the proper ways of using copyrighted works, such as music, while shedding light on the law.

In recent weeks, event organizers who had to seek permission from police to host events were instructed by police to acquire the appropriate license. Some promoters were disgruntled and Attorney General Garth Wilkin made a Facebook post stating in part, that he had spoken to the police force and the matter was clarified.

During ZIZ Radio’s Policing with You on Thursday, January 26th, a question was raised concerning this situation and why police still had it on the web portal in applying for permission.

Host, Sergeant Marvin Thompson gave details.

“In the police, you are required to submit certain documents as part of obtaining permission to hold certain functions,” Sergeant Thompson said.

“With ECCO now trying to get things streamlined, what is still required is that you…Well, even though the attorney General said that there is no specific law, we have policies which we require persons to follow. And in terms of the procedures and the documents, there may not be a law that says you need A, B, and C, but there might be a blanket issue that gives the commissioner [of Police] the authority to request [certain documents] from persons. And the commissioner would now have under that authority, the right to determine what document should be submitted in order for the persons to have permission.”

ECCO Licensing Agent Grace Richardson drew persons attention to the sections of the copyright act in which persons can be charged and/or sued to infringement.

“Section 46 of the Copyright Act is something that people need to go and look at, especially where Part 3 says: Any person who causes a literary, dramatic or musical work to be performed in public or be a sound recording of or film to be played or shown in public other than reception by a broadcast or cable program; knowing or having reason to believe that copyright subsists in a work, and that the performance playing or showing as the case may be, constitutes an infringement of copyright commits an offense,”

ECCO Director Vernalderine Francis said that if the police are not enforcing the copyright act, “they are making the government liable.”

It was later revealed by Inspector Cromwell Henry, who called into the programme, that the license is no longer a required piece, but the police are encouraging persons to comply with the law.

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