Artistes, producers and composers are being advised to protect their content while taking advantage of music’s borderless society.
Addressing the Caribbean Music Sync or Swim workshop hosted by music licensing and media management company Synchaudio at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Hotel, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Stephen Lashley recommended that music practitioners be fully aware of their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.
“You can make the most fantastic music in the world, but if you don’t pay attention to the intellectual property you will not only not gain the benefits of your hard labour, but certainly you will be providing gain for somebody else,” Lashley said.
He stressed that it is necessary for practitioners to license their musical content, as failure to do so was “a recipe for disaster”.
“I believe that the importance of licensing needs to be understood at a very early stage. I don’t think it makes much sense for you to create your various products and go on the worldwide web or wherever you are going to market it, perhaps become very successful in marketing your products and services and leave the intellectual property protection as a last resort.”
He reminded the audience that the music market was not limited to Barbados, but as the world has become more digitized, music practitioners are competing within a global village.
“We’re not only talking about protecting your intellectual property in Barbados…the world has now turned into a virtual market, and therefore any practitioner who operates from Barbados in the area of entertainment, in the area of music in particular and who focuses their attention only on a local market without understanding the vast opportunity inherent in globalising your product and your offerings, I would say cannot be totally serious,” Lashley said.
He suggested that more attention be paid to intellectual property rights at learning institutions such as colleges and universities so that students, especially future attorneys-at-law and persons involved in the entertainment industry be properly educated on the critical aspects of intellectual property to provide accurate and effective advice.
“Without that advice, I dare say, that you the persons who stand to benefit from the protection of the intellectual property will not be able to do as effectively,” he added.
The Culture Minister told music practitioners that they were conducting their business in “legal quicksand”, as there are aspects of the music industry which need collective and individual attention.
Nevertheless he stated that music, as an important sub-section of the cultural industries, has the ability to not only bring hope to its practitioners but to propel serious economic growth on the island.
“This sector to my mind, holds the greatest hope for the rapid generation of foreign exchange and foreign direct inflows into Barbados,” he noted.
Describing the cultural industries as “the new economic frontier”, Lashley stated that the government “will continue to create the environment in which the cultural industries can flourish and our cultural practitioners can also flourish and earn a living without looking to go elsewhere”. (KK)