JIS News

A massive public education campaign on copyright issues is to be launched by midyear to sensitise persons about the importance of respecting intellectual property rights in Jamaica.
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell made the announcement on Tuesday (April 27) while giving the opening address at a two-day conference on the collective management of rights, hosted by the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Minister Paulwell said that the initial aspect of the campaign would not involve the heavy hand of the law as a means of compliance, but would try to convince persons that it was important to respect the works of other persons. He added that the campaign would seek to help persons to appreciate the fact that piracy deprived artistes of their means of survival.
The campaign, he said, would not employ traditional strategies such as formal discussion sessions to reach its target audience. “We want to be able to get onto the sidewalks to get the message done in the type of medium and form that the ordinary person would be able to understand and appreciate,” the Commerce Minister pointed out.
“We have not been able to reach the grassroots of our country in relation to intellectual property rights,” he added, pointing out that it was quite common for persons to play pirated music in various quarters. In time, the Minister said, the law would have to be enforced and as such, training in this area would be given to the police and the judiciary.
A main target audience would be those persons involved in music piracy and who copy and sell compact discs, he explained. Mr. Paulwell underscored the importance of the entertainment industry to Jamaica’s economy, adding, “every year, millions of dollars worth of revenue is lost through piracy”.
The Minister said that the government would also be giving assistance to JAMCOPY to target the more formal sectors to deal with piracy of textbooks. He pointed out that the government had taken the lead in this regard and had paid over money to JAMCOPY for photocopying.
Minister Paulwell said that the campaign, which would cost approximately $40 million, would be funded chiefly by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and will last for approximately one year.

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