PORT OF SPAIN – United National Congress St. Joseph by-election candidate Ian Alleyne was yesterday warned that he could face the courts if he continues to use the song The hunt is on during his political campaign.
The creators of the song – Ryan Romany and Jerome Huggins – have retained attorney Dave Mc Kenzie who yesterday sent Alleyne a four-page pre-action protocol letter informing him that he must “cease and desist with immediate effect” from using the song as it was created in an effort to fight crime and not for politics.
Mc Kenzie stated that the song was written by Huggins and performed by his classmate, identified as Kwin, while they were pupils at St. Joseph College, St. Joseph. They were both 18 years old
at the time.
The letter stated the song was subsequently produced by Sherwin Winchester and published by Romany.
Romany and Huggins, in the pre-action protocol letter, stated that Alleyne made several promises, including payment of a stipend for the use of the song, which he never kept.
Mc Kenzie stated that his clients informed him that in their meetings with Alleyne, it was understood and agreed at all material times that the song would be used strictly for the purpose of fighting crime
in the country.
“At no time was there any discussion between yourself and my client that you, without their permission, are free to use the song for political campaigning,” stated the letter.
Mc Kenzie stated that in Alleyne’s “eagerness and zeal” to use the song as his main anthem for the Crime Watch TV programme, he promised his clients a number of things:
“1. You promised my client that you would pay him a stipend for the use of the song.
2. You promised my client in the presence of the song’s performer Kwin that you would give them an entire show where they would be interviewed by you in order to help promote their careers.
3. Apart from the promise of a stipend you also promised my client in the presence of the performer of the song that you would give them money as a form of pecuniary reward for the use of the song.”
“To date you have not kept one single promise and my client is concerned that while his song has been instrumental in making you a national icon and public figure he has been left out of pocket and has not been the recipient of the credit and financial benefits that he so justly deserves,” stated Mc Kenzie.
“My clients instruct me that they are not for sale and will not negotiate with you further on this matter except through the good offices of their attorneys,” he added.
He pointed out that the song was registered with the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago and as such certain legal rights and privileges accrue to his clients with regard to its use.
Mc Kenzie noted Section 26 of the Copyright Act which speaks of the ownership of work.
He quoted Section 26 sub-section 2 which states: “In respect of a work of joint ownership, the co-authors shall be the original owners of copyright, but if a work of joint authorship consists of parts that can be used separately and the author of each part is identified, the author of each part shall be the original owner of copyright in the part that he has created.”
Mc Kenzie stated further that the Copyright Act contains provisions for his clients to take legal redress for any infringements.
He noted Section 31 of the Act which states: “Subject to this act, infringements of rights of the owner of copyright or neighbouring rights shall be actionable in the court at the suit of the owner of copyright or neighbouring rights; and in any action for such an infringement all such relief by way of damages, injunction, accounts or otherwise shall be available to the plaintiff as is available in any corresponding proceedings in respect of infringements of other proprietary rights.”
Mc Kenzie stated that his clients’ instructions were that Alleyne stop using the song and if he fails to do so, he would have to face
the court. (Trinidad Express)
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