This island’s intellectual property rights collection agency has embarked on a major drive to make it easier for retail shop owners in Bridgetown, who play copyrighted music, to pay their annual licence fees.
The Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is now on a promotional programme, offering discounted licence fees to these shops.
“The promotion is intended particularly to focus on Bridgetown. We recognise it’s a difficult economic period for everybody and lots of shop owners are complaining,” Chief Executive Officer of COSCAP, Erica Smith, told Barbados TODAY, this afternoon.
“We are also seeking to expand our client base in Bridgetown where we have about 50 licensed clients,” Smith added. “We are reaching out to them to find ways to adapt to the current situation and offer discounted rates. Yes, we have licenced people in town, but would like to expand (our) business.”
Smith said COSCAP had already done a similar promotion with bars that offer karaoke services and that exercise has been successful.
“We will have to wait and see how this one goes. Our agents are also now carrying out a census in town so we can have a sense of how many shops are in town where music is heard,” the intellectual property agency spokesperson stated.
Smith disclosed that the discounted fees which shops are now required to pay are in three categories. Retail shops occupying up to 500 square feet will be charged an annual licence fee of $200 plus VAT, while those occupying between 501 square feet and 1,000 square feet are being asked to pay $300 plus VAT. For a space of between 1,001 square feet and 2,000 square feet, owners/operators must now pay $400 plus VAT.
Before the discounted rates, the tariffs ranged from $300 plus VAT at the bottom to $625 plus VAT at the top.
Meanwhile, COSCAP is currently disbursing royalties to its estimated 900 members in four categories — writers, publishers, performers and producers. While declining to disclose the amount of money disbursed or received from “users” of the music, Smith informed this newspaper that there had been some late payment of royalties to intellectual property owners, because of delays in the funds coming in.
“Our collection rate is not bad. It’s just the late receipt of payment (from commercial users of the music). Our bad debt is under control. People (commercial users) are seeking payment plans … and we have flexible terms of payment,” she declared.
Smith added that all the figures for disbursement of royalties for this year would be announced at the agency’s upcoming annual general meeting. (EJ)