JIS News

The Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) on (Nov. 16), disbursed more than $1.08 million in royalties to authors and publishers, who have been affiliated with the agency as of September 2006.
The money represents part proceeds from the reprographic licensing arrangement between the government of Jamaica and JAMCOPY, under which public sector agencies are required to pay for the use of protected material. Of the amount, $548,000 was distributed equally among 68 authors, while 12 publishers shared $540,000.
At the presentation ceremony held at the agency’s Ruthven Road office, Shirley Carby, Chairman of JAMCOPY, explained that “they (authors and publishers creators) have signed an agreement, which has mandated JAMCOPY to manage their reprographic reproduction rights popularly referred to as photocopying, but extending these days to digital aspects as well”. She informed that the total number of JAMCOPY affiliates, consisting of authors and publishers, has grown to 80 from 46 last year.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Carby said that one of the problems facing the copyright industry was the illegal photocopying of published work. “We are very concerned about the illegal photocopying that is currently taking place within schools or on behalf of schools throughout the country. This is impacting on the sales of the finished books and threaten the livelihood of authors and publishers,” she lamented.
Minister of Industry, Technology, and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, in his remarks at the function, also expressed concern about the high levels of unauthorized photocopying within workplaces and schools.
“Works have been copied with scant regard for the rights of the authors. Some may even take it for granted that once they have purchased one copy of a particular publication, then they are entitled to copy and distribute the entire work. Left unremunerated and without the consent of authors and publishers, photocopying can pose a threat to all involved in publishing,” Mr. Paulwell pointed out.
He argued that while some persons may say that the licensing arrangement between JAMCOPY and the government was expensive, “on the other hand, this is a payment for use, which benefits authors, and eventually the entire nation. Ensuring remuneration for our authors and publishers encourages creativity and provides incentives for publishers to invest in new products and services”.
According to the Technology Minister, the distribution of royalties demonstrates “that Intellectual Property (IP) protection is now a critical factor in the way we do business and in order for us to remain relevant to the regional and global economy”.
“Faced with the increasing threat from our regional and global competitors, our drive is now towards a knowledge-based society, in which IP protection is vital, including our literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works,” he said.
The government, Minister Paulwell noted further, regarded IP rights as fundamental to the country’s development, and would continue to provide a high level of protection for authors, publishers and other rights holders.
“An effective IP system places us in a better position to combine the world of ideas with the world of commerce, as we continue to promote investments in creative work, foster creativity, and ensure the moral and economic interests of our authors and publishers,” he stated.