This year’s World Intellectual Property Day is dedicated to the Youth under the theme “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.”
It is useful to note that the ECCO Musical Rights has shirked its responsibility and it is the general adage that the organization could have done more in recent times and be more prominently in the forefront of the advocacy for rights of writers and by extension its members including the youth.
This is not to say that Copyright legislation does not exist. Legislation has been enacted in each Eastern Caribbean territory, exists and is still relevant. Each territory has its own national policy. Further, there is an established regional office headquartered in Saint Lucia.
The collective mandate of ECCO – the company, has not changed and is reflective in the statute as is embraceed within its membership to cater to the category of persons which include;
“(a) any writer, publisher, performer, producer or proprietor.
(b) any widow, child or other relative, next of kin, beneficiary under the will, or personal representative of a writer, publisher, performer, producer or proprietor shall be eligible for admission as a successor member.
As Chairman, I need not remind the members but state to the general public that there are six categories of members recognized by statute, namely:
(i) writer member,
(ii) publisher member,
(iii) performer member,
(iv) producer member,
(v) proprietor member, and
(vi) successor member,
The Members of ECCO Musical Rights Inc. ought to reckon this not only as appropriate but also significant as we prepare ourselves to pass on the musical writers baton to the very youth as espoused in this year’s theme….and with greater usage of innovation emanating from the Millenials, the Gen z – who are not afraid to speak their minds and are ready to challenge the status quo.
We know that eligibility for membership extends to
“(a) Any writer, publisher, performer, producer or proprietor.
(b) Any widow, child or other relative, next of kin, beneficiary under the will, or personal representative of a writer, publisher, performer, producer or proprietor shall be eligible for admission as a successor member “and with relative consummate ease of application for “lifetime membership”. Thus there is no discrimination.
It is several years that the ECCO has not observed World Intellectual Property Day …quickly I will be the first to say “what a shame” but as the Chair for the period 2022-24, I see this as an opening of a new era that will enable the re-awakening of the organization; which has to positively address the needs and aspirations of the youth; and this group of creatives as mentioned above; while taking on the task to generate greater awareness among the general public and its membership and providing solutions to develop and promote greater music business literacy in the training programmes for its membership.
In this effort, as, I wish to express a level of joy as part of that message of re-awakening to be partnering with Government agencies like the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property (ROCIP) and I do hope that the other territories are undertaking to do the same with their respective Corporate, Intellectual Property Organisations (CIPO’s).
It is also noteworthy that in St Lucia, the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and Export St Lucia are among the agencies on board with the embrace of the initiative of the ROCIP this year; – as an open day event. We shall all look forward to a level of continuous collaboration in furtherance of the work of our writers as an industry of the creatives for their future growth and development.
Special mention of the creators and the users of music is made here equally, as it is with an element of trust that we hope that the collaboration having started will be strengthened when Broadcasters being licensed, music play content being institutionalized; then we will see writers more avidly registering their works with the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Musical Rights Inc. – with greater zeal and generating returns to their investment while regional Governments will take the mantle of enabling not only the environment but enforcing the administrative systems to be in place to govern the industry.
Our writers, will be happier when royalties and their earnings are duly and fully respected as part of the true enjoyment of their labour and can then state “I know the value of my music business…
So the 26th April, 2022 is a day of reflection as much as it is registered as a landmark as how we collectively chart the course for the future together. The observance today we join with the global community and the creators of tomorrow in observing World Intellectual Property Day under the theme “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.”