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Big copyright protection ... bill seeks preservation of intellectual property for up to 95 years

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2015 | 5:44 PM
Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton.
File Lloyd 'King Jammy' James

The House of Representatives has commenced debate on a bill which is intended to preserve the copyrights of owners of intellect property for up to 95 years.

Anthony Hylton, minister of industry, investment and commerce, in opening the debate on the bill titled the 'Copyright (Amendment) Act', said copyright provisions should "manage the fragile balance of trade and public interest".

He said that the with the extension of copyright term from 50 years to 95 years, "we have succeeded in supporting Jamaican corporations and individuals who own and continuously create copyright works".

"We have always recognised the creativity of our people and our mandate is to continue the progression from creations to innovations. An appropriate and effective intellectual property legislative framework is especially important to the development of the creative industries which is a central pillar of Jamaica's economic growth agenda," Hylton said.

Lloyd 'King Jammy' James, legendary dub mixer and record producer, who sat in the gallery at Gordon House for the commencement of the debate on the bill on Tuesday, hailed it as a very important one.

"When I am gone, my work will be still here so that my children and grandchildren can inherit it," James said.

He said that most of his earlier productions were in danger of losing copyright coverage owing the 50-year protection, and expressed relief that the proposed new regime would save them for another 45 years.

"It would be gone to the public domain if there isn't the extension," James said.

This extension will move protection of any copyright content belonging to corporations from 50 years to 95 years since the end of the calendar year in which it was published.

The related rights under copyright, vested in works like sound recordings and performances, will also gain extension of protection from 50 years to 95 years since the end of the calendar year in which they were released.

Hylton told Parliament that this means that individual copyright owners would now benefit from protection for their lifetime plus 95 years, allowing for their families and estates to continue earning income from these works for multiple generations, after the death of the creator.

"With this additional time, Jamaicans can become innovative in developing and expanding the reach of these works," the minister said.

He argued further that the extension of time, together with the support of provisions under the Security Interest in Personal Property Act passed in 2013, would allow an owner of copyright to seek financing based on the collateral his or her copyright provides.

"This ability is one which has never before existed to an intellectual property owner and is a key for enterprising Jamaicans to gain wealth from these intangible assets," he said.

The debate on the bill has been suspended.