For the Reckord | Creative minds given legal framework - Students advised on copyright, issues
The 2017 annual Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) career workshop, held last week, should prove very useful for the students who attended, especially those graduating this year. After hearing a broad-based presentation on 'The Business of Art: A Viable Investment' by four Norman Manley Law School students, they went to specialised breakout sessions about working in drama, dance, music and the fine arts.
Law student Allyandra Thompson began with an explanation of copyright, defined in one handout as "an automatic set of legal rights afforded to the owners of artistic and creative works once they have been placed in material form".
She said copyright, one of the main intellectual property rights (along with designs, patents and trademarks) is "the right to prevent others copying or reproducing your work without your permission. It allows a person to own what they create".
In Jamaica, Thompson said copyright comes automatically when an original work - which may be literary, musical, dramatic or artistic in nature - is created and registration is not necessary to obtain it. Still, to prove ownership in court, she advised the use of "the poor's man's copyright". This involves mailing a copy of the original work to oneself with the word copyright and the copyright symbol - (c)- on the envelope and keeping the envelope sealed.
A work is considered to be original when it originates with an author who would have used some judgement or skill to create the work, Thompson said. She added "copying a work does not make it original. If I sing a song I hear on the radio and become famous for my version of the song because I'm a good singer, it wouldn't be considered original."
Where more than one person is involved in the creation of a work and it is difficult to determine exactly what contribution each makes, copyright will be owned jointly and no single person can publish or license the work without the consent of the other.