Sabrina Gordon, Business Reporter
The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) is moving to put in place a formal voluntary copyright registration system which the agency said will give further protection to creators of literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works.
"Copyright has no formal registration system except where we inform people to place the material in an envelope and register it in a mail," said Carol Simpson, executive director of JIPO.
"So with creators always producing new materials and the commercialisation of it, we have moved towards development of this voluntary system of copyright registration," she told Sunday Business.
Under the registration system, creators can register material at a fee - the amount is still to be determined.
While Simpson did not disclose the storage capacity of the system, she said it is totally digital and would complement the National Library system whereby, under the Legal Deposit Act, it is mandatory for creators to deposit a copy of their material as a record of Jamaica's published heritage and development.
The system, which is now in a testing stage, was installed by the agency's international partner World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
WIPO gave technical assistance to the project by facilitating the work of software developers and also trained JIPO staff in the use of the system.
"What we are doing is to try and encourage people to manage and properly document their copyright material which can also serve as evidence in the event of any infringement and want to take recourse," explained Simpson.
Simpson said work will only be accepted in a digital format and that they will also offer to help persons with the conversion to digital.
Currently, Simpson said they will be offering the service to the Edna Manley College free from January to June 2013 to register their work, which will serve as an external testing of the system.
"Once we finish the review and see how it run, then therefore we will be in a better position to give a timeline for full implementation of the service to the public," said Simpson.
Pointing to the contribution of the creative industry to the economy, Simpson said the registration system, which is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, will not only facilitate the provision of independent proof of copyright ownership for the creators, but will also strengthen the contribution of the wider industries to the economy and society.
In a study prepared by Dr Vanus James of the Mona School of Business and Management, the researcher found that the copyright industry contributed 4.8 per cent or over J$605 million to national earnings back in 2005.