Sat | Dec 15, 2018

JACAP cries foul - Association claims non-compliant organisations witholding royalties

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Debon Panton (left), director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), speaks with Desmond Young (centre), director, and JACAP Chairman Paul Barclay during the association’s open mic forum, held on Wednesday at the Grand Caribbean Suite at the Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew.

The Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers Limited (JACAP) has indicated that it collected just $94.6 million in royalties for 2015 due to non-compliance from broadcasters and cable entities.

Making the disclosure during a forum staged by JACAP at the Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew on Wednesday, the association said that figure amounted to less than half of what was due.

JACAP is a non-profit collective ,management organisation copyright society which administrates the public performance, synchronisation and mechanical reproduction rights of lyricists (authors), music composers and music publishers in Jamaica (primary rights holders).

JACAP officials declared that legal action is ongoing against several organisations withholding outstanding royalty payments, while expressing that legal action usually serves as a deterrent to future culprits.

Going off preliminary calculations, along with the monitoring of 31 radio stations islandwide, if near full compliance was achieved, annual royalties would be well in excess of $100 million.

"Imagine a radio station without music," was the rhetorical statement expressed by Paul Barclay, chairman of JACAP, in speaking with The Gleaner.

He added: "First, they're local organisations. The basis on which they operate is to collect advertising revenues from which they do their business, and music is a significant part of that. Therefore, just like your ancillary staff, light, water, etc; pay for the music. In doing so, you will be significantly aiding local creators to continue their work and better the economy."

Though not singling out any non-compliant operations, JACAP officials were quick to highlight that Radio Jamaica (RJR) has been the most consistent where royalty payments are concerned.

In speaking with The Gleaner on the significance of the forum, Barclay said: "We have to double the efforts to educate the public, the stakeholders and media houses on the basis upon which we do our business, which is collecting fees from licence on behalf of our members in order to remit it to them."

It was heavily stressed that integration into JACAP is more based on being a creator rather than an artiste, as many artistes don't write their own material.

"Whitney Houston was not a great writer, but she was a big artiste," Barclay added.

JACAP's current membership stands at approximately 4,000 since being established in 1998.