Public schools will now be allowed to make copies of licensed work on a non-exclusive basis.
The development follows the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) on Tuesday (May 5).
The agreement is for an initial period of three years and is to be renewed at the end of the first term. Schools will be informed of the terms and conditions.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, in her remarks at the signing ceremony held at her Heroes Circle offices, said that the agreement “authorises the Ministry and the public schools on a non-exclusive basis, to make copies of licensed work for use by authorised persons for authorised purposes in accordance with the provision of the licence”.
It also allows public schools to access digital copies of published materials within a secured space.
Minister Williams said that the signing is the culmination of almost two decades of negotiations and engagements with JAMCOPY.
She said that the matter of copyright has been placed on the front burner “especially in this unprecedented period, where teachers and students have to be at home while engaging in educational instructions”.
By acquiring this licence, she noted, “schools across Jamaica will be able to make copies of published works on the terms and conditions set out in the licence”.
Minister Williams emphasised that copyright helps to protect the value of creators’ works by protecting them from being used in an unlicensed and unaccredited manner.
“As a Ministry, we recognise the importance of respecting and abiding by copyright legislation and requirements, as this is an important role in our economy’s development,” she noted.
For her part, Chairman of JAMCOPY, Dianne Daley McLure said the signing of the agreement is “a historic and a very long-anticipated moment”.
“Indeed, we had envisaged celebrating this moment nearly two decades ago as an early bedrock achievement for local authors and publishers in our then newly established collective management organisation,” she noted.
“We at JAMCOPY have always felt that a primary and secondary schools’ licence was indispensable to fostering a national culture for copyright compliance in Jamaica,” she added.
The legislative framework governing copying material in Jamaica is provided for under the Copyright Act 1993.
Section 561 of the Act provides copyright exemptions for educational purposes where copyright of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is not infringed by it being copied in the course of instruction.
JAMCOPY provides a centralised easy and affordable mechanism through which creators and publishers can manage their exclusive right to authorise the reproduction of their works by users.